9 October 2012 Carolina Beach, NC - Southport, NC

Soon after leaving Morehead City, we overtook this pirate ship whose captain was decked in full pirate attire.

A serendipity was ours and to try and make a long story a little not so long--we saw a boat, also underway, whose hailing port is my Florida stomping grounds when I was a young college grad and new teacher.  We had a long conversation on the VHF radio with Roger and Kim and planned to stop at Yana's Restaurant in Swansboro.  We were meeting Barbara and David, a couple we connect with every few days.  Yana, who loves Marilyn Monroe and Elvis, looks as if she also just emerged from the '50's--as does the restaurant. 

Rockin' with Elvis at Yana's, Swansboro

Mile Hammock Bay sits at the southern edge of Camp Jejune and is a lovely place to anchor.  We watched helicopter touch and go exercises in the afternoon and again at night they went through the same practices without their lights.  The precision was impressive to watch.  The noise level was very high but was music to our ears and we heard it as the sound of freedom.  As the sunset we enjoyed magnificence in the western sky.

A hidden jewel is the Carolina Beach State Park Marina.  Our friends, Roger and Kim, arrived there before we did so were there to be "dock hands" for us.  We enjoyed being with them so much--they are so funny and so much fun.  Laughter was the dominant sound coming from our evenings together.  

A bike ride south through Kure Beach down to Fort Fisher provided a glimpse into Civil War history.  The fort kept Wilmington, North Carolina's port, open to blockade-runners until the last few months of the war.  That was the last remaining supply route open to Lee's Army of Northern Virginia.  Ft. Fisher fell after a massive Federal amphibious assault and its defeat helped seal the fate of the Confederacy.

One morning we heard a loud explosion and a small cuddy-cabin boat had refueled at the dock behind us. Either they didn't flip the blower switch or had a fuel leak and when they turned on the ignition...!  One of their dogs was singed and everyone was terrified but luckily no one was injured.  It could've been so much worse!

Carolina Beach is an old-fashioned beach town that reminds me of old Ft. Walton Beach, FL, where I taught school just after college graduation many moons ago.  This small down town was the finish line for a week long Mountain to Coast bike ride of 558 miles which began in Brevard.  It was fun talking to the participants and their peanut gallery at the finish line.  That is certainly something I'd love to do one of these days.  There were all shapes, sizes, and ages among the finishers.

We found a development with the most colorful houses.  If were were buying a house I'd want one of these colors--maybe purple...or green...love the bright coral.

Southport, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, is one of our favorite stops and overlooks the Cape Fear River at its mouth to the Atlantic Ocean. The town began as Smithville in the late 1700's and was a fishing village and military town.  Southport occupies a forest of mighty live oaks that add to its relaxed southern ambiance.  A new addition to the town is the NC Maritime Museum which tells the story of the Cape Fear region's people and their relationship to the water...a tale of ocean, tides, and wind.

Friends Ray and Linda came into the slip behind us this morning.  We spent this evening together swapping stories of where we've been and what we've done since we last saw each other. The two of us will cast of our lines early in the morning as we most farther south.

During our stroll, we met the most delightful watercolorist, a retired college biology professor.  His colors are so bright and vibrant--I love his work.  He was great fun to chat with and we wish we could've spent longer with him.

Bill and Laura
Southport Marina, NC


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