Saturday, May 19th – Southport, NC. Glad we stayed at the dock as the weather until early afternoon was bad. Pouring rain and some thunderstorms. Later in the afternoon, we walked around town (after lunch at Provision Co) and visited the public pier and the Maritime Museum. Southport is a historical town and played a vital role in the civil war. The river pilots would assist the blockade runner ships into port where vital supplies would head to Wilmington, NC. The Cape Fear River is home to hundreds of ship wrecks. The shoals, the reefs and the current is something to FEAR. The museum is definitely worth a visit if you want to brush up on your civil war and maritime history.

Sunday, May 20th – Southport, NC. Realized that we had a problem with a leaking ice maker hose and a fresh water pump so contacted Zimmerman Marine. We emailed the manager, Steve, Sunday morning and he responded back right away. Told us to bring the boat over to Southport Marina and use their slip for free since we were having work done. Steve even came over Sunday afternoon to meet us and check on our boat. That is service you don’t find in Fort Lauderdale. Later in the day, we took the tender over to dine at Fishy Fishy as we were told their Shrimp & Grits were really good and they were.

Monday, May 21st – Southport, NC While CJ tackled the leaking hose on the water maker, Steve ordered the fresh water pump and there was one in Wilmington / Wrightsville Beach. Zimmerman Marine usually provides its customers with a courtesy vehicle but in this case Steve lent us his personal car and off we went to retrieve the part. Again, where do you find service like that in South Florida.

We took the highway route on the way up and took the scenic route on the way back which included taking a ferry in our car from Carolina Beach to Southport. Stopped along the way and had lunch at Gibby’s Waterfront Grill. The ferry was cool as we got to see the route we would take on the Cape Fear River. As soon as we returned, CJ was back and finished the repairs. Took a little wine cruise on the tender and ate dinner on board.

Tuesday, May 22nd – Camp Lejeune, NC. As we were having our morning coffee in the cockpit and before departing in the morning, we spotted an alligator swimming by us in the marina. A couple of photos attached. Departed Southport and tackled the busy Cape Fear River where large cargo ships, ferries and strong current are the norm. The tide was going out so we had to fight a 4 knot current all the way to Snow’s Cut and beyond. Originally planned to make Top Sail Marina at Surf City (48 miles) but found out they were not accepting transients at this time. Continued on to Mile Hammock (65 miles) which is an anchorage off Camp Lejeune, NC. Beautiful anchorage with about 5 other sailboats there. Enjoyed watching the CH 53 Super Stallion helicopters fly directly overhead. This is the helicopter that son Ryan flew up until recently. Bob took several videos of the helos flying over. Also had 3 Inflatable Ribs full of marines come into the anchorage and you could hear live ammunition going off in the background. Dinner on board.

Wednesday, May 23rd – Beaufort, NC. Headed out at 8:30am and while underway kept hearing the gun fire from the marine base. Some of those loud booms made me jump right out of my seat. Fairly uneventful trip accept for one incident just outside of Swansboro, NC. We were going slow through a slow wake zone and were passed by a speeding Regal Cruiser who waked us bad. Bob was really mad and called him out on the VHF radio. Well sometimes there is justice! About 20 minutes later, we were passing a tricky area and he was hard aground so he obviously was speeding and did not know the waters there. Not to wish anything bad on people but we were happy with his misfortune. We reported him to the Coast Guard and Towboat US that came to his rescue. 3 hours later, our friend on Dragonfly came by and as requested took a photo as he was still aground. Fortunately for us, we arrived Beaufort, NC without ourselves having to enlist Towboat US. Photo of Dragonfly at anchor Camp Lejeune and the idiot that ran aground.