Saturday, October 30, 2010


Just Ducky, an Island Packet 35, passing us on the ICW.
Beaufort, NC  34°42.911N | 76°39.815W

It would have been a short, sad story: "Cruising adventure lasts only one week. Couple sinks boat at anchorage in Beaufort. Film at 11."

It's the kind of thing you think about when you hear a scraping bump in the night, but it was only a shift in the current, the chain dragging, the anchor resetting.

I can just imagine Cara Mia rolling her eyes. "I've done this hundreds of times. What are you worried about?" That's what you get when your boat is more experienced than you are.

We were pleasantly surprised that the "storm" turned out to be nothing. Raising the anchor at sunrise, I forgot to tighten the clutch. Lesson learned? We'll see.

The passage was a short 24-mile hop to Swansboro, NC, a town that looked no great shakes from the water. Turns out the docks were an effective cloaking device for a charming town lacking only picket fences to be something Hollywood might conjure.

And just up the street from the marina, there lies a perfect little Irish pub with a marginal tap offering (beer snobs) but excellent food and sweet atmosphere.

Pleasant surprises. This is our life now.

Swansboro, NC  34°41.07N | 77°7.289W

Mysterious time traveler talking on cell phone spotted in 1800s mural. Swansboro, NC. 

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  1. Hope you don't mind hearing from me too often. My second favorite cruising pastime is reading cruising friends' blogs.

    I probably stopped at the same dock in Swansboro that you did, when I last came down the NC part of the ditch back in 2004. The old wooden dock itself was quite disappointing and required creative 'fendering'. It was located just before the ICW takes a turn and heads through the 'sometimes closed' portion of Camp LeJeune.

    If you've not already passed it, Joyner Marina is a great spot to stop in Carolina Beach. It's just at the E entrance to Snow's Cut. Be sure to plan your entrance into Snow's Cut and through the Cape Fear Inlet area closely with the tide. It'll matter.

    At Joyner's ask to get on their convenient 'end dock'. It's extremely easy for coming and going. (They have free bicycle use there too).

    Hey, as a side note, I read recently that the area south of you there has become a NDZ and requires cruisers to have a logbook regarding pumpouts. Don't know any details because I'm not planning on transiting that area in the near future, but you may just want to jot your holding tank actions into your daily log just incase.

  2. Thanks, GW. We're THRILLED to have any and all tips. We've been puzzling over the whole Cape Fear/Snow's Cut issue. The unexpected wind has now made it impossible to make the trip today, so we have another 24 hours to figure it out.

    Maybe we should pop down to Joyner's Marina to get a quick start on it tomorrow with less guesswork.

  3. I was 'over-concerned' about the Cape Fear Inlet area crossing when I came through there (because of a story a friend had told me about how fast the current can move there at times.

    It made me plan it out well and it turned out to be no biggie. The trick is to head toward the inlet with the tide - planing on making your turn - down the ditch at or near slack tide. This will put you in good shape after the turn. I'm sure you know that though.

  4. We tapped into some local knowledge here in Carolina Beach. I think we're on it. Tomorrow a.m. we'll cross at slack tide with 10-15 mph of wind at our backs. We'll be FLYING! Thanks for all the tips, including Joyner's, which is tonight's home.