In Southport NC and what to do about Sandy?

It’s Wednesday afternoon and we are on a dock in historic Southport NC.    When we got here today I couldn’t find a place to anchor in spite of the guidebook saying that there was room for at least one boat in the little harbor.  I did try to anchor but couldn’t make the anchor bite securely in the very soft mud.  Alas, on the side of the Fishy, Fishy Restaurant, there was a phone number above some docks on the back of the place that were labeled “for patrons”.  Me?  I could be a patron and decided to call.   So, the deal is that if we eat at Fishy, Fishy (that’s just so fun to say…Fishy, Fishy) we could stay overnight for $25.  Sold!!!  I asked what the depth at the slip was and he said 7′ at low water.  Double sold!

So, we got the fenders and lines ready and I powered into the slip.   Well, actually, I was only able to get about 10′ of Pandora into the slip when we eased into the muddy bottom and stopped. Yes, it was low tide and no 7′.  Alas, what to do?   After a moment of reflection I did what any red blooded American would do and just increased the power on the engine and plowed through the mud.  As I oozed along, I asked Brenda to tell me when the bobstay was about a foot from the dock.    Needless to say, by the time I was “in”, we had plenty of time to tie up as we were hard aground and weren’t going anywhere.  The good news is that there is a 5′ tide here and now that the tide is in we are happily floating.  Note to self…don’t leave at low tide.

Fishy, Fishy is a fun waterfront dining establishment boasting “the finest margaritas in the world”.  I’ll be the judge of that.  At least we won’t have far to walk after dinner.   There’s a marsh area adjacent to where we are tied up so the view from our cockpit is very nice.  The boardwalk goes way out into the marsh.  It’s an impressive structure. Here’s a shot taken from the end of a board walk that goes out into the marsh.  Pandora is the boat on the right.  Note the subtle wording on the roof. Here’s a shot of Pandora from the dining deck. Isn’t it nice of us to give the other patrons a good view?  Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that it’s 85 and sunny here.   A good night to eat outside.  Adjacent to where we are tied up is a fish market that sells shrimp and only shrimp that they catch with this boat.  I bought a mess of shrimp for $5 a pound, head and all.  They said that they would clean them but recommended that I cook them with their heads on as the flavor would be better.   I’ll give that a try. Southport is very close to the Cape Fear inlet and has been a prosperous town for a long time.  Now it’s more about tourists but it was originally a port town and a wealthy one at that.  The homes in the area are really nice with palms and massive live oaks everywhere.    I am a big fan of white homes with big front porches.  Happily, nearly all are very tasteful, like this one. If you head out to the street that is adjacent to the water, the view is just spectacular.   How about this for a place to watch the world go by?This is another view of the street adjacent to the inlet. I would say that this home wins the “front porch charm contest” hands down.
As we were headed down the ICW yesterday I am afraid that many of the homes, while massive, lacked the southern grace of Southport.  While perhaps a bit more “unique” than most, this home was a standout?  Old money? Perhaps not.And, in the winner of the “best lawn ornament contest” goes to….Speaking of wildlife, I just love the pelicans.  To me, they seem to be saying “listen buddy, don’t get any closer or I’ll poop on y0u!  AND, I MEAN IT!!!Last night we stopped at Carolina Beach, more of a massive marina than beach.  We went ashore for a drink and spied this really nice sports fisherman.   I can’t imagine paying for the 60 gal/hr to run this baby but it’s pretty elegant.
Perhaps this lovely Nordhaven trawler is more of our style.  We met this couple the other night and have been ending up in the same harbors as we head south.  They are from Noank CT. With hurricane Sandy headed up the coast in the next few days we have to continue south to put some more distance between ourselves and her landfall so we will have less wind.  The current track has her coming up to Bermuda and then heading northwest and making landfall somewhere between the Chesapeake and Nova Scotia.  One way or the other, we expect to have winds in the 30+ range along with rain on Friday and Saturday.   Our plan will be to find a good safe place to anchor that’s protected and wait for better weather to head further south.

For now, I am looking forward to dinner at Fishy, Fishy and one of their margaritas.

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