We got up and moving early from Wrightsville Beach to catch near slack tide conditions heading out the Masonboro Inlet. Interesting fun fact: Beaufort, SC is pronounced “Bewferd” and Beaufort, NC is pronounced “Bohfort”. Googling was done to figure this out, as was figuring out why North and South Carolina are separate states, and not just “Carolina” – we won’t spoil the surprise – look it up.
The ocean was amazingly calm and gentle for the 60nm cruise up to the Beaufort Inlet. Partly sunny skies, low, slow rollers, and barely registering wind. Absolutely perfect, and reminding us again of the temperamental unpredictability of Mother Nature. Lots of fishermen out on this beautiful Father’s Day – seems like a great way to spend it!
The only rough part of the day was coming into Beaufort Inlet. There was a bit of an ebb tide (current out the inlet into the ocean, causing choppy, rocking waves) and a big dredging ship in part of the channel. We were torn between being happy that they were dredging the channel which apparently has had problems with shoaling, and being nervous having to pass this behemoth in turbulent water. Inside the Beaufort Inlet is a very busy place, with commercial ships, pleasure craft, people on beaches, jet skis – you name it. It’s also very confusing as there are several channels off the main one, with seemingly overlapping day markers.
With the help of our chart plotter, binoculars and Bob423, we carefully made our way through this maze to Homer Smith’s Marina. The winds had picked up, presenting a challenge for docking as we backed in (stern in for the boaters out there), but we made it with Neil at the helm, Kath calling out directions, and Clark, the marina attendant, ready, standing by to help secure lines. After lines were secure, engine turned off, and connected to electric, we breathed a bit and realized how tired we were. It was a long day – 9.5 hours – but well worth it. Father’s Day dinner was relaxed, and we ended the evening with a Zoom call with the kids – which was fantastic.
We’ve met several boaters here at this marina, and we are always so amazed at how helpful and friendly everyone is. But come to think of it, living this life is kind of an ongoing bucket list, so it makes sense.
Today we ran some errands (there is a loaner car available at the marina that was great to have), hitting a grocery store and a seafood market. Florida is crazy expensive compared to here. After we got back to the marina, we did some boat cleaning (getting all the salt off and polishing some spots that were slyly trying to get rusty), then headed out to explore historical Beaufort. We wandered by the water for a while, stopping for some munchies and beverages, then took a walking tour of the area.
We spent a lot of time in a really old (pre-Revolutionary War) “burying ground” (aka cemetery). It was fun to be able to wander through with a guide pamphlet detailing stories of important local figures including Revolutionary and Civil War soldiers. Yellow fever wiped out an awful lot of people, especially babies and young women.
There was an area with no headstones that a few years ago was discovered to hold the remains of people who died during wars with Native Americans. The overarching conclusion is that this area was a hard place to live. Roanoke is not far from here. And for a long time it appears that people came to escape persecution, only to find themselves scraping out a living in an inhospitable land.
On an upnote, we did go see the oldest house in Beaufort, where Blackbeard had stayed (among others). Neil had recently read a book about this famous pirate, so it was fun to see this area. Kathleen has it on her list of books to consume. A lot of the homes are historical buildings, with placards next to the front door indicating the original owner and the year the home was built. The style and ease of this area belies the reality of living just off the Atlantic, but they must be doing something right as these homes have withstood whatever has been thrown at them for nearly 300 years.
Back onboard after several hours touring the town, we had coconut shrimp bought this morning, watching another amazing sunset. Tomorrow, we continue our journey north.