Southport Marina is a short twelve and one half nautical mile trip thru Snow’s Cut into and down the Cape Fear River. Close to the end of the river there’s a cutoff to starboard back onto the Intracoastal Waterway and Southport Marina is right at red buoy 2A. So a nice easy less than two hour cruise is all we are looking at. We prepare Kailani to shove off from the fuel dock at Joyner Marina and Taylor, Dennis and Brad come out to help us with the dock lines. There’s a strong current and wind blowing us onto the dock on our starboard side, so effectively, the lines are not taut anyway. I turn the stern off the dock, back up until its safe to put her into forward and make my turn to port. Tracy is at the stern cleaning up lines and when she comes up to the helm, she lets me know that in spite of my planning, the wind and current still put us almost back into contact with the dock when I made my turn to port. I initiated my turn to avoid a crab pot but I should have actually continued my reverse track until the pot was a non-issue then initiated my turn to port. Anyway, no hits, no harm, no foul, just more awareness and learning to put into my experience log.
The wind and current is coming right at our bow as we cruise southwest down Snow’s Cut so we’re only making about seven knots, but the cut is very short and soon we’re into the open Cape Fear River and the winds and current start to push us up to over ten knots. The river today is calm of recreational and commercial traffic so navigation is uneventful until we get farther south near the cut-off to starboard for the ICW. This is where we see some ferry traffic and a large recreational cruiser that decides to pass us to our starboard side and close enough that we can count the number of buttons on his shirt. He does not accommodate us with a slow pass so we end up turning into his wake after his pass and try to minimize the upcoming destructive water, but the save is only minimal and we still get an unnecessary roll. The river is actually quite choppy at this point, so once we’re inside his wake, we actually get some calm water versus the whitecaps of the river, so his pass was bad news, good news!
Once we’re at the cut-off for the ICW all the other boat traffic stays on the river, so the land along with the turn to west now provides absolutely calm waters for the rest of the cruise (ten minutes). As we get to buoy 2A, Tracy calls the marina and Rusty guides us into our slip on the transient dock. The entire run took us one hour and twenty minutes, so we’ve actually made great time from that push we got going south on the Cape Fear River. Rusty stays with me and we tie up Kailani and hook up the electric and power while Tracy walks off to find Steve. Since she had spoken to him, he said he would come over and inspect the issue with our aft holding tank and make arrangements for a Monday repair.
So I follow Rusty into the Dock Office and Tracy shows back up with Steve. Once I’m all done registering, I go back aboard where Tracy is describing the issue to Steve while he’s crunched up in the forward bilge inspecting our waste lanes and valves. His prognosis is that we do don’t have a clogged pipe, we just have an issue with venting and building up vacuum pressure. He starts designing a fix in his head and explains the process for Monday’s repair and sets off to make arrangements for a service tech for Monday.
We now have a nice weather weekend to enjoy this charming community. Everyone at Joyner Marina told us that the Provisioning Company was the best restaurant here, but we had heard that they might be closed until April 1st, but when we asked Rusty, he said that they had just re-opened from the winter shutdown yesterday. So we caged Frankie and started walking the shoreline to get some late lunch. We find that all the good restaurants are sort of bunched together right on the shoreline with the Provisioning Company being the last one in the direction we are walking. Once inside, you order right at the counter in front of where they cook, then you pick out your beverage and walk outside to the covered but open dining area and wait for a waiter/waitress to bring your order out to your table. Tracy orders the lunch special with crabcakes, shrimp and a cucumber salad while I order 2 crabcakes and a cucumber salad. Tracy pours an iced tea and I pour a coffee and we sit down to wait for our meal. Right behind us is a mom wearing a hat from Quinnipiac University and Tracy strikes up a conversation with the mom who has a daughter in the Masters of Health Sciences program. This is where Tracy graduated from for her career, so they talk for a while as we wait. The food is quite delicious and I’m able to grab a shrimp from Tracy’s plate.
Nick just loved these gourd birdhouses! -tc Walking out of the restaurant, there’s an ice cream shop across the street, so I have to get some dessert! After all, they serve you the ice cream then you can sit on the front porch of the restaurant in one of the twenty Adirondack rockers lining the porch. How can you beat that! After ice cream, we walk back to the marina and relax for the rest of the afternoon. Tomorrow we’ll lower the dinghy and try the local fishing, although if the fish bite our bait like they have been so far on this trip, the only fish we’ll catch will be at the fish market.
Answer to the poisonous fish question from previous blog- tc