Carolina Beach – a second time around

This is our second time stopping in Carolina Beach. We stopped here on our way south to Charleston, however we were pretty tired that day and we were only staying for one night, so we didn’t go ashore to check out the town. So, we opted to stop here again and take the dinghy down so that we could go into town and check out what is here.

We took our time this morning leaving Southport to head to Carolina Beach. We only have about 15 miles to go to get to Carolina Beach and we wanted to wait for the tide to turn from an ebb tide to a flood tide as we are leaving Southport. The majority of our trip today takes us up the Cape Fear River for about 10 miles before we have to turn off the river into Snow’s Cut to get to Carolina Beach. Having a flood tide will cause us to have the tide with us as we head up the Cape Fear River and make our travels that much easier and quicker to not have to buck the current. So, we didn’t leave until about 10 am. Lots of nice scenery along the way.

We got to Carolina Beach at about 12:30 pm and grabbed a mooring ball just off the shore. We had made reservations to be on a mooring here for 2 days. We decided to get the dinghy ready and head into town. Now the our dinghy on our boat is like the equivalent of your car at home. We use our dinghy to get from the boat to shore when we are at anchor/mooring and use our dinghy to get from place to place at times even in a marina. It takes a bit more work to get the “car” ready than it does for you at home, where you just grab the keys and open the garage door. We have to unsecure the straps that hold our dinghy in place while we are sailing. Grab the lines that are attached to the pulleys that lower our dinghy into the water. Don’t forget to put the plug in the dinghy otherwise water will start to fill the dinghy! Once the dinghy is in the water then we need to lower the outboard motor which has it’s own separate pulley lift system. One of us lowers the dinghy and the other is in the dinghy below ready to catch it and secure it to the transom of the dinghy. Then we have to attach the hose from the gasoline tank to the motor before we can pull, pull, pull to get the motor started. Then we can gather our items that we are taking to shore such as the handheld VHF, camera, money, etc before we take off. We also have to do a little research on our maps or exploring to find where there might be a dinghy dock that we can land at and leave our dinghy while we go off exploring. Here’s the dinghy dock at Carolina Beach.

Carolina Beach is like the Coney Island of North Carolina. It’s a bit of forgotten in time with older carnival rides and the vibe of it having once perhaps been a popular beach vacation area that has lost it’s luster. We wander around town and made our way toward the beachfront and ate at a restaurant called Hurricane Alley. It was a nice place the overlooked the beach. Here are some photos from around Carolina Beach.

When we got back to the boat from our excursion, our boat neighbors came by in their dinghy and introduced themselves. They are on a sailboat called Rock N’ Chair. Their names are Ron and Sandy. We invited them aboard and we spent a couple of hours chatting about where each of us has been and where we are going. Ron and Sandy are doing America’s Great Loop, so we gave them lots of good information about points north that included the Delaware River, the Hudson River and the Erie Canal. We had a great time swapping stories and experiences. We love meeting people along our journey! Here’s a pic of Ron and Sandy’s boat next to ours.

The next day we spent the day aboard the boat doing some minor repair jobs and general boat jobs. Mark has been working hard to troubleshoot the XM radio that doesn’t seem to want to work consistently and we put more varnish on the toe rail of the boat. Tomorrow we are leaving Carolina Beach, headed for Swansboro.

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