August 27, 2012
We had a wonderful stay at Seapath Marina in Wrightsville Beach, NC. It’s a beautiful area with water everywhere and people, kids, and lots of dogs out enjoying it every day. (Note – the Channel entrance is much better marked than charts indicate – we entered at night with no problems.) Every morning, dozens of swimmers and paddleboarders take to the water and seemingly every other boat that goes by has one or more dogs on board. It’s a casual, fun, and exceptionally friendly place full of nooks and crannies to explore and sprinkled with great restaurants.
We had a chance to catch up with some old friends and make some new ones. We were referred to this marina by our friend George, also a Nordhavn owner, and ended up docked right in front of him. George helped us with various boat projects, lending us tools, materials, and expertise. He even loaned us his crab pot, which promptly went missing! Bradley and George set the crab pot – a wire cube in which you place fish heads as bait, then let it sit on the bottom in 6-10 feet of water. Crabs can get in to eat the bait, but then cannot get out. The pot is attached to a large float so that you can find it to retrieve later. When Bradley and I went to pick up the pot, it was nowhere to be found. Several searches by George and Bradley were unsuccessful. We finally determined that the pot had been set right on the edge of a change in water depth from 6ft to 30ft and had fallen into the hole! After purchasing a new pot, we caught lots of wonderful crabs which George steamed and shared with us. My friend Nancy from Southport, just south of us, drove up for a visit. We took the tender to Dockside restaurant and had a lovely lunch right on the Intracoastal Waterway, then went exploring the area by tender.
Bradley and I went out with a dive boat about 20 miles offshore to dive two shipwrecks. The water was surprisingly clear so we had great visibility. We saw some enormous sharks (the non-man-eating kind) and lots of fish. Bradley also took a two day free-diving class. Free-diving is a sport in which people see how deep they can dive without a tank – they must hold their breath. While the “going deep” aspect of it is not of interest, Bradley did want to learn some techniques for improving his breath-holding capability so that he can stay under longer when he is spearfishing with snorkel gear. He says he picked up some good tips and is anxious to be able to test them when we are next able to spearfish.
As for new friends, we met Steve W, who lives in Wilmington, NC and is a member of the Nordhavn Dreamers group, a collection of people who have a love for Nordhavns and/or someday want to own one. Steve and I have been communicating via email for several months so it was great to meet him in person. He is an airline pilot and also a member of the Coast Guard Reserve, so he had great information to share with us and we had a very nice visit. Hopefully he will be able to join us on a passage someday. We also met Melody and Matt, who were walking their dog on our dock. They have a sailboat at the marina and a house nearby. What began as a casual dock conversation “Nice dog”, “Thanks, nice boat”, led to inviting Matt on board for a tour of the boat, then Melody coming on board while Matt took the dog. They then invited us to their home for a fabulous dinner and offered to let us borrow their paddleboards so we could see how we liked it. We did try our hand at paddleboarding and did enjoy it. It’s a sport that’s gaining in popularity as you stand atop a specially design surfboard and paddle around. The view is much better than when seated in a kayak, but it does take a little practice, especially to learn to turn! We are still deciding whether to add a paddleboard to our on-board toy inventory.
We also met Dave and Cassie on the boat next door, Aussie Rules. No, it’s not Greg Norman’s boat by the same name, but Cassie is Australian. They have two dogs, which was also the door-opener for our first conversation. We all went out to dinner and were joined by their friends, Joe and his wife Debbie. We had great dinner out and enjoyed getting to know everyone.
I engaged in a bit of geocaching, a good way to explore an area. Bradley had several nice bike rides, I went for some long runs, and we got in plenty of walking. As for work, we did a few small projects. One reason we don’t like to be in marinas is that you get a lot of growth from the warm and nutrient rich water around a marina. One project was to clean our sea strainers – these are akin to a skimmer in a swimming pool that strain the seawater coming into the boat that cools the engines and air conditioning. We did not run our engines or generators while plugged into shore power, but the hot summer was still in full force, requiring air conditioning and thus open thru-hulls with seawater passing through the strainers. Small sea critters, like barnacles and their cousins, attach to the hoses and strainers and then grow into bigger sea critters. They stink and need to be scraped off. It takes several hours to clean but also provides a good chance to check all the systems. Similarly, sea critters attach to the bottom of the tender and after two weeks in the water, we took it out to the ocean where we could see well enough to scrape the bottom. It’s amazing how much can grow in just a couple short weeks!
Aside from normal maintenance, the only other issue we have for now is a slight leak in a fresh water pump. Bradley has taken it apart and was able to minimize the leak and we have ordered and received a “diaphragm repair kit” that will fix it for good. But for those who are hoping for more details about problems, you won’t get them this time! Yea!
Finally it was time to depart from Wrightsville Beach and head north to the Chesapeake Bay. For this journey, we are being joined by some friends who we also met via the Nordhavn Dreamers group, Patti and John. They live in Annapolis so rented a car to drive one-way and will cruise back with us. We had planned to depart the weekend of August 25 (which is also the one-year anniversary of our lightning strike!). But Hurricane Isaac and Tropical Storm Joyce had us guessing until the very last minute. When we were sure Isaac was going west and Joyce had only a short stint as a named storm, we proclaimed all systems GO and Patti and John hit the road, arriving on Saturday, August 25th. Sunday would be spent getting ready to depart and we actually left the dock at 4am Monday morning. Hopefully the next blog entry will be guest-authored by Patti!
Please leave a comment below or click here to email us.