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Winyah Bay to Cape Fear River

All set for a 75 mile day hop to the mouth of the Cape Fear River – we hoped for the best – without having our trusted sources of weather info guiding us. We assumed, the weather forecast is the “same” as yesterday. 10-15 mph winds from the southwest – with more of the gusty stuff. The only problem with ending our day hop at the Cape Fear River…is returning back to the ocean for day 3.

The Cape Fear River has shoals that extend 15 miles offshore. There is no shortcut. If you go into the Cape Fear River, then to exit, you have to get banged up by southwest seas for 3 hours….or take the ICW on the inside. Better yet, we could do an overnight and bypass the Cape Fear River….but my exhausted bod says “no”.

It is a long stretch between Winyah Bay and Cape Fear. We spent most of the time 12-15 miles offshore. Every now and then, a boat would appear on our horizon – and we would stare it down until it was out of sight. Any visual distraction to take my mind off the fact that we are all alone out here. Since we could no longer see the shoreline, I adjusted the GPS to show the coast line despite the fact we are nowhere near it. Little comfort things to get thru the day.

The winds were negligible thru 2PM – which means we had the engines burnin‘ fuel. By 3PM we unfurled the jib sail – and were motor-sailing at 8+ knots. As we got close to the mouth of the Cape Fear River – it was windy as all get-go, and the combination of shallow waters and seas bouncing back from the coastline – made for a bumpy ride.

Less than a mile inside the mouth of the Cape Fear River – we discovered a tiny marina / golf complex tucked behind a narrow channel to our starboard side. It was 5PM, and most marinas are closing – but we got lucky. They had a slip for us for the night. Paddy motored into the Bald Head Island Marina – and we sidled up to the face dock for the night for $20 – an unheard of rate. Then, we received a $20 coupon for dinner. Do the math. Dockage plus dinner for about $20. Nice. If you have to enter the Cape Fear River – Bald Head Island is a great place to stop. Plus, there are no cars here.

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