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Sailing Adventures
Diana/beautiful
11/19/2010, Georgetown, SC

Cape Fear has a neat set-up for southbound travelers. It's natural because of a rock formation and carries the endearing name of "Frying Pan Shoals". They work their way out from the north side of the inlet 20 miles into the Atlantic. This creates a real obstacle for mariners using the Atlantic to go South because they have to be way out as they parallel Cape Fear. Surprise went down the ICW and did not have to deal with the shoals but chose to leave the inlet and jump into the Atlantic because it was so hospitable to this direction of travel. Before we knew it we were 20 miles out anyway and couldn't see land and no cell phone service. The current was pulling us and without a natural range we just let our guard down. When we couldn't see land and there were no other boats around we decided to veer off toward land and follow the coast a bit more rather than cut the bay.
We entered in at the Beaufort inlet which is a considerable way from the town. Arrived around 5:30 or 17:30 - I am trying to get really comfortable with the 24 hour clock as it is used in sailing.
Nice marina - Harborwalk - close to town. Georgetown, like so many of the Southern waterfront towns with a history used the 90's to revitalize and although struggling a bit now have an infrastructure to support tourism - restaurants, shopping, historical markers, renovated old homes.
Quaint!

11/20/2010 | Kellie Anderson-Sibley
I love reading your posts mom! I was scared when you had no cell service and have to admit I let my imagination wander a bit too much... no telling with you and dad sometimes... :) Glad yall had that fun adventure and made it home safely! Can't wait to see you tomorrow!
Cape Fear
cool and clear
11/11/2010, Bald Head Island, NC

We left our anchorage late (relatively) because we did not have far to go. Weather has co-operated with our plans and we have had time to spare- so Keith had picked out the small town of Southport, NC to spend the afternoon and night. We got there and although it looked perfectly suitable, if a bit small, there was an island called Bald Head Island which beckoned us. Only 2 nm from Southport it has homes and condos, restaurants and stores, but no cars or bridges. A ferry or private boat is the only way here and there are thousands of acres of saltmarsh's and tidal creeks. We begged off the Soutport marina and came on over to this island naturalism and history. It has lighthouses from the Revolutionary era and blockade history from the Civil War. We rode our bikes all around and got much needed exercise as well as an intimate experience with the island.

11/11/2010 | Alex Astbury
Lovely photo-we are in Georgetown, waiting for a weather window (Sunday) and then out to Charleston, or Beaufort s.c. or Savanna-if things are good-hope to run into the two of you when we all have more time
cheers
Faune and Alex
s/v iolite
Going Outside
Diana/clear and cool and sunny
11/10/2010, The Atlantic

We spent two days in Beaufort and then took off into the Atlantic to "go outside" to our next destination - which is Wrightsville Beach. We could have continued on the ICW but the weather was picture perfect to jump out into the Atlantic. We had a fabulous run with two other sailboats and all pulled into Wrightsville Beach at about the same time. A great anchorage behind the beach in an inlet - lots of boats and tons of little dinghys being sailed by youngsters. These are 2 men boats that turn on a dime by easing sails and shifting weight. Lots of fun. These are common up and down the coast and are staples for teaching kids to sail. We all enjoyed the sunset and these kids weaving their ways between the anchored boats. The beach was developed in an old school way. Close to Myrtle Beach but not huge hotels and condos. Just lots of beach houses with people and dogs walking, strolling and running around.

Cute, cute town
Diana/clear and cool and sunny
11/08/2010, Beaufort, NC

We left Pango Creek and took the canal further south through the backwoods of North Carolina. Navigating and maneuvering was tricky in spots. We saw lots of dolphins playing in the canal outside of Beaufort. The canal dumped us in a bay which had lots of outlying sandy banks sitting at the edge of moor-like islands which are part of the Outer Banks (OBX). We had a nice surprise to see the marina we had booked a spot at was in a great position on Front Street just off the old town. We decided to spend an extra day here to see the sites and enjoy the beautiful weather. We rode our foldable bikes around town - now they are foldable but not flimsy - amazingly. They are Dahon. Brilliant. We cleaned the boat in the morning in the sunny beauty of the waterfront before taking off. We rode the backstreets past many historic homes from the 1700's, stopped at the Old Burying Ground where there are Revolutionary and Civil War soldiers buried as well as settlers from Indian Wars. Contrast that with our next stop - The Piggly Wiggly! Those of us raised in the south remember them well. The ham hocks section was huge - many different kinds of pork fat products - the staple of southern cooking.

11/11/2010 | Martha
Oh, I love Beufort! Went there to see my younger brother and wife when they were stationed there (Emily was less than a year old). I guess the town has changed some since then. Really miss you guys but so enjoy the blog! Be safe!
Further down the ditch
Diana/clear and cool
11/07/2010

The winds were supposed to be high today but when we checked the reports were the same for the next few days. We definitely did not want to be waiting out a storm in Podunk, NC so we just boogied right out of there. Good thing too because it was fine. We went 78 miles today. There just aren't many options. No cell coverage for most of the day. We set anchor in a tranquil inlet with the most stars I have ever seen. The night was still and quiet.

Entering the ICW
Diana/cold but mostly clear
11/06/2010, Portsmouth, VA

We are all set to begin our trip down the Intercoastal Waterway (ICW). The boat was in good condition when we returned. The nifty dehumidifiers I bought from West Marine worked well as did our sealants of various kinds because she was dry and fresh. Portsmouth is on mile marker "0" and the entire ICW is posted every 5 miles for navigation purposes. It's kind of like an address that businesses along the route use.
We wanted to take the Great Dismal Swamp for the first 50 miles but it was a bit shallow for our boat so we took an alternate route south. We went under a lot of bridges and held our breath each time. Our boat's height to the top of the antenna on the mast is 64 feet and the bridges are mostly 65 feet - depending on tide and/or wind it can be a bit dicey. We only pinged one bridge and it was notorious as being only 64 ft. Surprise also got to go through a lock. Very interesting as we and about 6 other boats motored in and tied up on the side while they closed a gate and let water out. We went down about 3 feet in as many minutes. We then untied and motored out continuing on our way. There are many boats heading south - all talking when they can about where each of us is going as well as where we have been and what type of boat we have, ect. ect. Many of the bridges must open for the boats and we need to use the radio to request an opening unless it is set on a schedule in which case we try to time it to hit the opening times. We have used our VHF radio a lot.
We had hoped to anchor but the canal was too narrow so we pulled up to the side along a wall of the canal where a "marina" had sprung up. Across the canal was a campfire, lots of vans and trucks and a band playing with the worst vocals I have heard outside of my shower. We had just passed out of Virginia and into North Carolina.


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