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Into the Sunset
Navigating "The Rock Pile" to Myrtle Beach
Linda / Warmer
12/20/2011, Myrtle Beach, SC

We left Little River late, knowing that we only had three hours of traveling before we reached Barefoot Landing at Myrtle Beach. Carefully Jim edged Al Di La through the canal, avoiding the rock edges. Then, as we were preparing to go around a barge, we heard a clunk as the keel struck a rock. Luckily the tide was flowing towards us and pushed us away from the rock. Jim was able to maneuver us around the barge and we continued to our next stop.
Docking at Barefoot Landing was easy as Jim slid Al Di La into place. We had help from Mark and his dog, Otto.
We explored the area, had a delicious lunch at the Flying Fish, and browsed the many small shops. Exhausted, we participated in Happy Hour at TBonz, then headed back to the boat to get ready for the show at the Alabama Theatre. We had always wanted to see this Christmas show, but never did. It is called "The South's Grandest Christmas Show" and it lived up to it's name. We enjoyed every minute. Jim said it was 'corny' in spots, but he liked it too. I was feeling like I wasn't able to enjoy Christmas this year because we are moving the boat, but this was special and I think I can deal without a Christmas Tree on the boat.

Avoiding the shoals to Little River, SC
Linda / Sunny and warmer
12/19/2011, Little River, SC

There was a great deal of shoaling on the waterway from Wrightsville Beach South. We found the best way to avoid getting stuck is to slow down and watch the depth, steering around the shallow sandbars. On one of my brief stints at the helm I was challenged by a deep curve in the waterway at an inlet. Water from the ocean pushes sand into the waterway. It was tense, but we made it!
After we were underway we received a call from Don and Cindy, a couple from New Bern, NC making their way to Charleston on their Hunter Passage. We met them at Casper's Marina in Swansboro and have kept in touch as we follow each other down the waterway.
As we passed down the waterway we saw a fishing vessel that had sunk while tied at the dock. We wondered if it had been a victim of the last hurricane. We also passed beautiful homes and estates that faced the Intracoastal Waterway.
It was a sunny, calm day until we surfed down the Cape Fear River. The tide was going out and it propelled us swiftly at 8.5 knots.
Then we meandered down the Little River to South Carolina!

A windy ride to Wrightsville Beach
Linda / Sunny, very windy, cold
12/18/2011, Wrightsville Beach, NC

Another cold morning so we will keep heading South. (that's our plan anyway) The sun warmed the cockpit and by noon we were shedding layers. Wind was over 20 knots on the beam at times. It blew us on a shoal but we were able to turn our way out. Unfortunately we were then late for a bridge opening. No worries... we slowed down and were able to take a closer look at the beautiful homes lining the waterway. We decided to stay at Seapath Marina in Wrightsville Beach and had a great dinner at a local sportsbar, watching football games. All in all another really great day!

Cruising the Bogue Sound
Jim / COLD, windy, cloudy
12/17/2011, Swansboro, NC

We left Oriental, NC in the early morning, heading to Adams Creek and the canal to the coast and the Bogue Sound. We spent the day cruising down the sound, admiring the homes on one side and the wildlife on the other. Just after we passed Swansboro NC, we heard on the radio that the Navy was closing the Intracoastal waterway for the rest of the day to conduct "live fire" exercises near camp LeJuene. NC. A big boat coming back our way called us on the radio to say that they had been turned back by a Navy vessel and that we would also be turned back if we kept going. About this time, we started hearing very loud explosions in the distance. We came back to Swansboro and got a slip in "Casper's Marina" for the night. The loud explosions in the distance continued until after dark. The adventure just keeps getting better.
We hope to make it to somewhere near the South Carolina border tomorrow.

South through the Palmico Sound
Linda / Sunny skies, windy
12/16/2011, Oriental, NC

This would have been a great day for a sail, but we were in a hurry to get to Oriental by three. It turned out that the conference call Jim needed to be on was rescheduled. But we did have time to walk into town and have dinner at the Silos Restaurant. We both had great Italian and the waitress was so friendy.
We got a huge welcome to the marina from Knute who jumped on our boat and helped us with pumpout and then guided us into a slip and tied us up. We've never had that happen before!
Our trip to Oriental was easy with good weather. We passed by the young man who was caught on a shoal a few days back. He said it took him 7 hours to get his boat rocked off the shoal using his anchors. I would have liked to sit down with him, buy him a beer, and hear his story. He was headed in another direction. Maybe we'll find him again.

12/16/2011 | Big Lar
Hope you will be able to get to see Katie this weekend. When do you plan to be moored in Charleston? Take care!
12/16/2011 | James Dreiling
We are hoping to arrive in Charleston Thursday, December 22. Will see the family then.
A foggy morning
Linda / warmer, very foggy
12/15/2011, Pungo River

We left Coinjock before dawn and experienced dense fog as we traversed the North River. Luckily there was another sailboat right in front of us, and we were able to follow them slowely and carefully from one marker to another. I was able to get some amazing photographs while Jim concentrated on keeping us on track. I was looking forward to navigating through Alligator River, thinking I might see some alligators, or at least some wildlife. But no such luck. Beautiful birds and ducks played in the river, but no alligators. We searched for an anchorage that would protect us from the 10 to 15 knot winds and found one on the Pungo River in the marshes. The wind did blow and we moved about on the anchor, but it held. We were delighted to be able to sit in the cockpit in shirtsleeves. We had finally found a warm place! And we saw so many stars!!

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