WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC TO SOUTHPORT, NC
Left Wrightsville Beach around 1100, and meandered through the canals to rejoin the ICW. This area is packed with beautiful homes and yachts, with equally beautiful marshes adjacent. We made our way south to Atlantic Beach then headed west on Snows Cut, a manmade canal connecting the sound with the Cape Fear River. You have to plan your trip through here so you catch an outgoing tide once you reach the Cape Fear. Otherwise, you would have to fight the Cape Fear current all the way to Southport or the ocean, which can run up to 4 knots. Once we entered the Cape Fear, we were making 10 knots going downstream with the engine barely idling.
Cape Fear has been in my life since childhood. My mother’s side of the family are from Erwin, a small town on the fall line of the river in central North Carolina. I would spend my summers there at my Grandparents house, where my Uncle Billy also lived. He bought a horse for me, and me and my cousins or friends that had horses would stay gone all day riding down by the river. In, 1983, a week after I met Karen, we came down to Erwin and went white water canoeing on the Cape Fear. Dan Spurlock, my friend and roommate at the time was also along for the trip. But that story is for another time.
We reached Southport and proceeded to the marina where we had reservations, only to find they had booked us at another one of their marina’s 3 miles back upstream. After touching bottom in this small marina, we decided to just go to the Southport Marina adjacent to the town harbor. This is a beautiful marina and the transient rates are high, but we discovered the fulltime rates were less than we had been paying in Norfolk, just in case we decide to live here in the future.
We then walked into town and soaked in the history and charm. A few sailors we have met winter here, or move here permanently. The housing is expensive downtown and there’s not much job opportunity here. According to the dockworker I talked to, and our waitress at the bar, you have to have money before you come, or make it outside the area. We then went back to the boat for a nice dinner of fresh Spanish mackerel.