Friday, January 18, 2008

Almost Home!

Hello all: Yesterday we crossed the North Carolina border, and docked in Southport. This is a pleasant small town near the mouth of the Cape Fear River, south of Wilmington NC. We've been here before, on previous cruises south in the Winnie W. and also visiting for various sailing events including the Leukemia Cup Regatta (link).

Another encounter with fog... this time not as thick, but still not our favorite cruising conditions.

We were met in Southport by cruising friends John & Kathy who completed the Great Loop cruise themselves a couple of years ago in their DeFever 41 Rosetta, now up in the Chesapeake with her new owners who rechristened her.

A familiar sight on the southern IntraCoastal Waterway, a shrimp boat preparing for ... or coming home from... a day's hard work. You can see the trawling gear, including the "trawl doors" and nets, hanging from the booms.

Next we cruised up the Cape Fear River to Snow's Cut, another area of strong tidal current. Snow's Cut (link to Google Map) is a short canal which connects the river to Myrtle Grove Sound, the narrow bay behind the barrier islands of Wrightsville & Carolina Beach. From here, the ICW runs mostly east-west through narrow & shallow bays & sounds until it reaches the ports of Morehead City and Beaufort.

Here is the bridge to Figure Eight Island, undergoing maintenance work. It's a great idea, since we don't want bridges to corrode & collapse! But it's a serious hassle when one looks at traffic stoppage on both highway & waterway.

Only one lane of this bridge is open for road traffic, and that has people (and work & food trucks) backed up for hours. The bridge *only opens for boat traffic once a day* at noon, and only for a short time. We were told that earlier in the season during the usual fall heavy southbound traffic, over 80 boats were waiting to pass, and only 50 were allowed through before the bridge closed again.... the rest wait until tomorrow! We are very fortunate (or planned better than we knew) that the Winnie W. has only 12' of air draft, allowing us to pass under the bridge!

Here is one of the most unusual sights along the ICW, and a unique lawn ornament... a full-sized giraffe!

We're just a bit too far away to make our home port in one day, but we expect to park the Winnie W. at our home dock tomorrow. The weather is not very good, but we are in sheltered & familiar waters.
Best wishes! Doug and Kathie


Team Brazo said...

Wow, that is great -- almost there. I'm going to miss following your adventure -- I hope to do the same some day soon.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations !

We know well that feeling of being on the last lap.

Currently in Key West for Race Week,

Wayne and Diane