NIGHT SAIL AND THEN HELLO CHARLESTON 11.22.2017

NIGHT SAIL AND THEN HELLO CHARLESTON 11.22.2017

It was a short trip from the anchorage to Bald Head Island at the tip of Cape Fear. Our plan was to go out on the Atlantic and this provided a great jump off stop. We passed an area where the US military has the largest arsenal in the country – with a restricted area marked along the shore. Boats better not get too close!!! Bald Head Island reminded us a bit of the Lake Erie Islands as no cars where allowed and people travelled either by golf cart or bicycle. The marina could not have been nicer with the restrooms/showers and reasonable laundry facilities up a ramp very close to the boat.

House on Bald Head Island

I went for a walk on the beach while Bob washed the salt off the boat. This is a constant effort because after a long sail the blue hull of the boat looks speckled with the salt that dries on it. This is not good for the fiberglass or the sunbrella of the enclosure. Speaking of enclosures – when we bought the boat it came with an enclosure for the cockpit except for a back curtain. We have found that during the colder season a back curtain is very important in an effort to stay warm while sailing. Most of our sailing companions have had full enclosures. We are going to have a back panel made once we get to Florida. The problem is the people who do this kind of work are notorious for taking a very long time. We may have to get it measured before we go to the Bahamas and then pick it up once we are back in Florida.

We had dinner at MOJO’s the first night and then had a double header of Grey’s Anatomy and drinks on the boat.

Mojos at the marina.

We slept in a bit the next morning and then went to pick up a golf cart so that we could explore. The homes on the Island are beautiful. One house, called the whale house by locals, is supposed to be the most expensive home in North Carolina with a 12 million dollar price tag. Sad story is the guy twho had it built died before he could move in. It is currently for sale.

Whale House on Bald Head Island

There are very few stores on the Island. There is one gallery that we visited and we stopped to chat with the owner who told us that there are about 150 permanent residence and 1100 homes on the Island. We stopped at various points to see the beaches and the Frying Pan Shoals that extend from the Cape 13-20 miles into the ocean. These can be dangerous for boaters as they are not all marked and is one of the reasons we came to Cape Fear by the ICW rather than the ocean.

The shoals at Cape Fear

We left For Charleston SC (125 nautical miles) Monday at 10:30 am under clear skies and light winds. The forecast was for light winds all night which was perfect for our second night sail on the Atantic. We saw many dolphins along the way and at one point three dolphins were swimming alongside the boat right under the surface of the water – breathtaking. Sheet Music, a boat we had seen at the Alligator Marina joined us for the first part of the journey but left us to get into Charleston earlier. We planned on a 9:00 am arrival at the inlet so that the current would be in our favor both at the inlet and at the Marina. Charleston has a very stiff current and the dock master at the marina had encouraged us to arrive at slack.

We saw shrimp boats out dragging their nets. The wake of the boat was full of birds trying to eat the fish that were stirred up by the boat but not picked up in the nets.

Shrimp boat with nets in the water

We took watches during the night and although I tried I could not really sleep while Bob was on watch. I read, watched the stars which were spectacular and tried to stay warm. I made us soup and hot chocolate along that way and that helped. My 2:00 am to 5:00 am watch went pretty quickly. I read, and had some time to be alone with my thoughts. Trekker and Jenny (another boat that made the trip with us) could be seen off our stern the entire way – comforting to know that we were not alone out there in the ocean.

Dolphin swimming by the boat

Early in the am the wind came up, not what was expected, and we sailed the final leg of the journey with a reefed main sail arriving almost exactly at 9:00 am at the inlet. Wind forecast was for 2 to 4 knots and ended up being 17 to 19. Two very large container ships went through the inlet with us – one going in and one going out – which caused a bit of wake but otherwise it was uneventful. We arrived at the Charleston marina at 10:15 am – signed in, breakfast and took a well deserved nap.

What you can see out the window of the boat at night.

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