LAT: N 33° 52.4'
LON: W 78° 34.2'
30's - 40's, winds slowing to 15 - 20 kts, sunny
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Santa Rewards The Great Escape
1125 - We perform an excellently executed nerve wracking departure from Bald Head harbor in 25 to 30 kts of wind.
1145 - Passing Southport, back on the ICW.
1307 - In Lockwoods Folly River by Sheep Island (we have not seen sheep this whole trip.)
1401 - Passing Holden Beach.
1509 - Approaching Sunset Beach Bridge, will wait until the 1600 opening.
1613 - Just past the bridge, we are by Corking Neck.
1640 - We've passed into South Carolina and are anchored just off the ICW at Little River, in Calabash Creek.
Arggg me maties, I used to play the wee sea cow in the Salty Christmas Pagent. Twas an underwater nativity scene like no other.
The Places You'll Go...
Surprises Around Every Corner
Rudolph- Guest Editor
The wind was still blowing when we woke this morning. It was not as bad as the night before but we decided we were going to wait awhile and make the most out of the time we had left with the golf cart. Yes, we still had it (day rental). We had some breakfast and then took off to explore Middle Island. This was the part of Bald head that was farther away from the beach, closer to the mass of marshland. It's a bit more secluded since there is not as much space to build on. It was cold and windy from the front that had come in the night before, but we zoomed down one of the main roads through the tunnel of trees towards the quiet part of town. It was an enviable setting: a rise in the land behind the marshland adorned with even more incredible trees. On our way back we stopped at a boardwalk in the marshes and took a short walk to see the sites.
After returning the cart, we were delayed a bit hoping the winds would die down, but eventually they didn't and we figured that we would be okay if we were careful. Getting out of the slip was the trickiest part requiring the engines to keep the boat in place while lines were removed one by one. Finally, Slowly pulling forward on a single line, we let go and pulled out quickly before we could get pushed around much by the wind. The last stage was fighting our way out of the harbor's little channel with the wind in our faces. Tim was driving up on the fly bridge and he held on tight to the wheel as we broke out into the bay. The waves were actually pretty tame, with a lot of wind to make it feel dramatic. After the worries of running into anything were past, it was quite fun.
Once we were back in "the ditch," it was a day spent meandering through waterside communities. Universally, what makes us envy any real estate we see is the great trees. We liked this southern stretch of North Carolina because it appeared that there were some homes amongst nice trees that weren't mansions. One funny feature here were these super long probiscus docks that stuck out into the water, extensions of the homes themselves, sometimes adorned with gazebos that match the house. Some homes were not so appealing, and others simply precarious. There was also a neighborhood of canals, where it seemed that everyone steps out of their house and into their boat. Block by block we passed a number of them wondering if every owner was a boater, or if it was just prime real estate. Waterfront property seems to have a habit of being extremely crowded which is a testament to the power of water.
We passed through our first pontoon bridge today. The keeper was more communicative than others because he had to make sure we knew not to travel through too soon. Pontoon bridges work with cables, where the middle section (road, keeper house and all) gets turned 90% and released to one side of the water. Basically it is a road on a boat attached to the rest of the bridge with cables. One has to be careful that all the cables are in the right place so that a boat won't catch on them as it cruises by. The Sunset Beach Bridge is the last pontoon bridge left on the Atlantic ICW.
At the end of the day we passed into South Carolina right before arriving at our anchorage just north of Little River, in Calabash Creek. It was a shallow entry into the creek and we took our time anchoring so that we would find a spot where we wouldn't end up on the beach if we turned around. We also wanted to make sure we left room for shrimp boats that might be passing by.
As we started settling in and the sun set we noticed that there were a bunch of boats headed through the inlet from the ocean down into Little River. We had heard on the radio earlier news of a Christmas parade and soon found out that what we were looking at was exactly that. The darkness came quickly and the thousands of lights strung all over the long line of boats lit up, looking like ufos floating downstream. [I would have been there too, but I can't swim! -Ed.] We were out of view of the town and any other lights so it was as if it was a private parade, though we still weren't close enough.
We hurriedly popped into Surely and made a mad dash for the mound of land in between us and them. Pulling up into soft mud Hannah could only do so much in her boots and so Tim, not having any good mud boots, got barefoot and jumped over. We pulled the dinghy up and got ready to sprint the fifteen steps up to the top but then realized that the mound we were on was made of Oyster shells. Tim, with newly muddied bare feet could not make it across the sharp shells on his tender toes. Hannah, with her Herculean strength, piggybacked him over to where we could sit and watch up close.
It was an awesome sight. Sitting in the shadows the cruisers could not see who the hooters and hurrayers were but still called back to us into the night. The boats were adorned with a vast array of different lights. Some looked like colorful masks, while others had beach themes or cascading icicle lights. They truly outdid themselves and we felt grateful and lucky to have such good timing. Who'd have thunk?
When the show was over we found our way back to Surely and then to Slowly. It was a peaceful night as we had dinner and went to sleep.
We have received some e-mails asking us where our final destination is. We never really bothered to say, maybe because we still don't really know. Our initial destination is drawing near, and we would hate to let anyone down hoping for adventures clear to the Florida Keys. Our first stop will be in Savannah, GA. We picked this city because it is sizable and has some schools including the Savannah College of Art and Design. We hope that this indicates a creative culture in the city that we can go find. Also, it feels undiscovered and funky to us, so we shall go. We also need to find jobs ASAP. E-mail us any important Savannah info you may have!
Animal of the Day
On the beach on Bald Head Island we saw a number of Willets, Catoptrophorus semipalmatus. These large (15") Sandpipers are grey-brown and can be hard to name when you see them scooting along in the sand, yet as soon as they take flight it is clear they are Willets. They have a striking black and white pattern on their wings that cannot be missed. Their long grey bill is often in the sand rummaging for insects. Willets are a common wader so one should keep their eyes open for them around marshes and beaches.
Dinner was Food Lion chicken breasts from Beaufort, NC. After thawing, the chicken was bathed in a mixture of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce and Egg and then dipped in a dry mixture of white flour, Dry Rub (from The Salt Lick) and minced fresh Ginger. The chicken was baked and served with Green Giant Cut Green Beans over Near East Herb and Wild Mushroom Pilaf.
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