Oriental, NC

We arrived Oriental, NC and had a gift from a wonderful Island Packet friend…his slip was empty and we could stay a few days! So we pulled into Whittaker Creek Yacht Harbor and used this time for some major Island Spirit services and cleaning. Jobs accomplished were…

  1. Wash the entire hull with soap and water from the dinghy.
  2. Scrub and wash the entire deck and canvas.
  3. Used Woody Wax to seal and wax the diamond decks, fantastic product!
  4. Compounded and waxed the cabin tops.
  5. Changed engine oil and filter after 120 hours from Vero Beach, FL
  6. Changed the fuel filters, red, 30 micron primary and Yanmar secondary.

The boat looks great, like usual and we are happy with the work accomplished.

We also had a call from some local IP friends Tom & Linda of IP40 SURPRISE, who stopped down for a visit and we had dinner aboard Island Spirit. The next day Tom & Linda drove us back to Swansboro, NC where we picked up our car and moved it back up to Oriental, NC. We used the car to tour the area, see some developments, and get a general feel for the area. The Oriental Area has 800 residents and 3,000 boats! It is a boater’s paridise with the creeks and the sailing out on Pamlico Sound and the Nuese River. New Bern, NC is up the road about 30 miles and half way there is Fairfield harbor another boating community with new homes and lots for sale.

Everything in this area is for sale. Real estate seems much cheaper than other areas, and waterfront lots sell for 200K to 400K. Docks sell for 50K to 130K in the Oriental area! This place is difficult to figure out with only a short visit. Radeen and I have been touring this area since 1996 looking at property to buy, not we which we would have. Back then we could have bought waterfront for about 30K-50K, not this place has been discovered and prices reflect that discovery.

We left the Oriental area after 3 days, and we need to return here and explore the New Bern to Oriental area in more depth. I will say, the hot spot seems to be WHITTAKER CREEK!

NEED A SLIP TO RENT, see this on on WHITTAKER CREEK? (see this)

Beaufort, NC

Departing Dudley’s Marina we traveled across Bogue Sound and past Moorehead City arriving downtown Beaufort, NC around Noon. We motored up and down Taylor Creek in front of the beautiful town looking for a place to anchor. The current flows about 1- 1.5 knots through this harbor and many anchored yachts were on mooring balls or had two anchors set. We found a nice spot just off the town docks and dropped one anchor on a short 3:1 scope. After secured, we launched the dinghy and explored the town. When we returned to the boat, we were swinging into a boat with two anchors and we were too close for the forecast of 20-25 knot winds. So we pulled up anchor and decided to move around to Town Creek on the back side of Beaufort where we would anchor.

As it turned out we ended up taking a dock at Town Creek Marina due to shallow water in the harbor and the fact that we did not figure out where to anchor as the winds were building. We docked in 25 knots of cross winds with no issues.

This ended up to be a great decision as the local area has poor Verizon Broadband coverages but this marina had FREE WiFi high speed and we tapped in and accomplished our work for grad school. Spending two days here, we were lucky enough to meet up with another Island Packet Owner, Greg K. who owns an IP 350 in the area. Greg stopped over and we visited and chatted for a while. IP people are always so friendly and so helpful and that is one of the great aspects about this cruising life.


  1. Next time I would keep trying to anchor in Taylor Creek off the town. I would run into the creek a greater distance since it is deep a long way in past the town.
  2. If Taylor Creek off the town is too full, then I would move around back and anchor off Town Creek Marina between the marina and the bridge, just west of the marina. (see my google map)
  3. I would NOT take a slip at Town Creek Marina again, it is really for the sport fishing fleet with fuel lines running on all docks for fuel IN THE SLIPS! The bathrooms are OK, but not really. You are way out of town despite the name…So next time if I had to anchor here it would be off the marina and take the dinghy around to town.

Swansboro, NC & Dudley’s

Swansboro, NC and Dudley’s Marina are great places to anchor or take a slip. We anchored just before the bridge in 10 feet of water and just off the great town. This is a town that also wants the cruising boater to stop, drop anchor and come on in and visit. There is a FREE dinghy dock (something St. Augustine FL needs to learn) and plenty of wonderful little shops right off the docks. Coffee shops, cigar shops, ice cream shops, news stands, dinners, and a fantastic pizza shop all within a block of the dinghy dock. A bit up the hill and about a mile down the road is the grocery store, drug store and laundry. Swansboro is a nice anchorage and we will stop again.

For a dock, DUDLEY’S is the best deal on the ICW offering docks for $0.75 per foot with free 30 or 50 amp electricity! We pulled up anchor at Swansboro due to high winds and moved to the docks once we found out what a fair price they offered. We ended up spending 5 days there as we shuffled our car from Charleston, SC, back up to here. Dudley’s offers a free car for up to an hour. They have a great mechanical shop and a ship’s store nearly as good as a West Marine but with better prices.

We were lucky enough to visit with a local shrimper who has run the LADY ELLEN for the past 30 years. Sadly this shrimper is being hurt by the imported shrimp arriving at our docks from China and Vietnam. He used to be able to sell his shrimp for $4.00/pound when diesel fuel cost $0.55/gal, now he has to sell his shrimp for $1.25/pound and his diesel fuel is $4.00/gallon. He will catch and sell $2,500/week of shrimp but his fuel bill is $1,800/week. The $700.00 profit he has to split with his two daughters who also work the shrimp boat. It has been a family business for over 30 years and now he is in trouble.

He shared the story of a China ship from with one million pounds of farm raised shrimp attempting to off load in New Orleans. The off loading was halted by US Inspections due to the steroids found in the shrimp. The China ship left the docks and sailed their product up to Canada where they could ship it into the US without being inspected. His point is that the US is not protecting the consumer from these imported farm raised shrimp that are loaded with chemicals. He has to compete and has to sell his shrimp at the same low prices. All in all, Swansboro and Dudley’s Marina are very interesting places on the ICW that would be easy to simply pass on by.

Wrightsville Beach, NC

We are having TOO much FUN to leave this place. Wrightsville Beach, NC has a harbor with a dinghy dock and access to town and the beach! We have been anchored 50 yards off the town’s dock for three days now and we LOVE IT…it is like being anchored in EGO ALLEY of Annapolis, MD, yes…Right Downtown! Radeen and I tend to like this kind of location.

We like…

  1. Secure anchorages from all wind directions.
  2. Free dinghy docks right in town.
  3. Ocean beaches close to docks to go for walks and a beach day.
  4. Great restaurants within blocks of the dinghy docks.
  5. Ice Cream shops, pizza shops, and surf shops near the dinghy docks.

This is Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. Of course you have the crazy people running their 300 Horse Power fishing boats at 40 knots through the harbor, and yes you have the rich college kids with their Daddy’s 33 foot Grady White with twin Yamaha 350 hp touring the harbor with his college girl friends on the bow in minimal beach wear, but hey, it is a college ocean harbor town. What do you expect?

This entertaining activity rapidly ramps up on Saturday around Noon, and just as rapidly dies at 6 pm, as all the kiddies run home for their free dinners prepared by Mommie and Daddy who allowed their kids to drink beer all day and blast through the harbor.

When I called the Coast Guard about boats doing circles around me while pulling a wake boarder at 30+ knots 10 feet off the bridge and pilings, the CG said, “Sir, there is NO speed limit in the Wrightsville Harbor, sorry.” I told the CG to negate my call and I will simply enjoy the show.

Aside from this weekend entertainment, one must look for the greatness in this harbor. It is GREAT, it is a fantastic anchorage protected from all directions. The beach is rated as one of the best in the US and I would have to agree. The town is cute and typical of a summer beach resort. The property values are out of control. A building lot on this harbor is available fo $2.9 million dollars US with only a dock, and no house. Build that yourself! Twin homes 1 block from the water, ocean or harbor, are listed for $3.5 million dollars US for 1/2 the building. UNREAL.

The inlet is close, less than 2 miles, and it is great, deep, wide, and short, so that makes for a great harbor.

The college is close, University of North Carolina, Wilmington is nearby. West Marine, Harris Tweeter Groceries store, and every franchise you can think of is nearby and within walking distance.

If I could move today, and relocate, I would seriously place Wrightsville Beach, NC on the short list. It seems to have it all related to boating and ocean sailing access, as well as ICW access.

Carolina Beach NC

We departed Dutchman Creek at sunrise trying to beat the forecast for 20-30 knots of north winds. After a beautiful sunrise on the Cape Fear River, the winds began to build and build they did.

We had a steady 25 knots on the bow with an ebbing tide going with the wind. Lucky for us, this made the waves small but the progress very slow. Making only 3 knots of SOG, speed over ground, we plowed our way up the river.

Once we turned into Snow’s Cut, the waves subsided and the current turned towards the Carolina Inlet and pulled us into the cut at 7 knots. Using the back range makers to stay in the channel, we crossed into the Carolina Beach Basin and dropped anchor along with IP440 Charmed.

Radeen and I took the AB dinghy downwind through the harbor to the very end and walked the town. Temps were around 50 degrees and the winds were around 25 knots. The dinghy ride back UPWIND was fun, especially with the AB 10 footer and the high bow. The boat did well and our little 4 hp outboard did the job. This was about a 1 mile dinghy run.

Cape Fear River right after sunrise w/ 25 knots
Carolina Beach Basin, we anchored hereGoogle Map of Carolina Beach Basin Area

Dutchman’s Creek, NC

The lure of Barefoot Landing proved irresistible as we stopped 10 lanes of traffic (no exaggeration!) to go to a Cracker Barrel for breakfast. By 1100 we were off the dock and across the waterway to Barefoot Marina and Yacht Club for diesel, water and pump-out.

Then we headed through the Barefoot Landing swing bridge to “The Rock Pile,” a narrow, treacherous area of three miles of rock outcroppings above and below the surface. We passed through another bascule bridge at the Little River Inlet and then through the only remaining pontoon bridge at Sunset Beach. It opens only on the hour and we were grateful to be the fifth and final vessel through the 2:00 p.m. opening.

By 1800, (6pm) we had the anchor down near IP440 Charmed in lovely Dutchman’s Creek. See the video of this beautiful anchorage.

Dutchman’s Creek, Southport, NC, Cape Fear area
View of IP440 Charmed as we approached Dutchman’s Creek
Google Map of Dutchman’s Creek, zoom in…

Myrtle Beach, SC

Norm P. was soooooo RIGHT when he said…

“Myrtle Beach is the price you pay for the beauty of the Waccamaw River!”

Yesterday we left Georgetown around 0930 after some writing work for school from 0500-0900. We began our trek north into the most beautiful and most scenic area of the ICW, the Waccamaw River. From 0930 to 1420 we were overwhelmed by the beauty of this river. Spanish moss on freshly budding spring leaves set against our new blue high pressure sky wins the “most beautiful” section of the ICW for us. We found several eagle’s nests and spotted five eagles! Over the sound of the engine, we heard the cry of the osprey as the parent was flying into the nest with a fish in their claws landing atop a massive nest at least 4-6 feet across. I kept shooting photo after photo with two different cameras yet none seemed to capture the beauty as experienced. I will process a batch of photos and upload them soon.

Then, as Norm points out, Myrtle Beach comes up and you are inside a ditch with high banks and concrete rubble shore lines with massive homes 3 and 4 stories high towering over the banks, looking like they could fall down their hills into the ICW. Jet skis zipping and fast wake boarding boats zipping by are quite a contrast to the peace of the Waccamaw River.

Overtaken by the lure of commercialism, we stopped at http://BareFootLanding.com, taking a dock at a shopping center of outlet and specialty stores complete with caged tigers on display! The docks at Barefoot Landing used to be free with no services, but now they charge $1.50/ft including free electrical hookup. Once tied up, the dock master recommended TBonz restaurant / pub, serving Happy Hour $2 draft beers and $5 appetizers, so we treated ourselves to chicken wings (legs) and cold raspberry home brew drafts. A quick walking tour around the enormous property and across boardwalks on the 27 acre lake (which is about 6-7 feet above the ICW) completed the day.

Let’s hope the Waccamaw can remain unspoiled and untouched because it is truly pristine and beautiful.

GOOGLE MAP of the area, click the ZOOM IN to see the details

Georgetown, SC

We departed Charleston in predicted dense fog, trusting our radar and chartplotter to watch for other vessels and to keep us just outside the shipping channels. The fog lifted, also as predicted, at 0900 as we approached the Ben Sawyer bascule bridge. Sixty-five miles later, through much open, empty marshland, we arrived in Winyah Bay and motored sailed in 18 knots of breeze towards Georgetown. Beautiful dolphins continue to elude our photographic efforts!

Prior to the Civil War, over half of the country’s rice was shipped out of Georgetown. Today, it is a small town with interesting shops and architecture, an award winning library, a fresh seafood store on the waterfront and an active steel mill and paper factory. We felt welcome everywhere we went!

Charleston, SC

What a beautiful, charming city! We squeaked under the 56 ft. Ashley River bridge at a very high tide and took a friend’s mooring ball off the Ashley River Marina. There is a safe walkway along the overpass that connects to the city marina or it is an easy dinghy ride there. We hadn’t been to Charleston since 1991, so it was fun to see the historic area again. Dinner and dominoes aboard Charmed with Blaine Parks IP40 Charbonneau made for another great IP evening. The next day found us at the Visitor’s Center, using our car to provision at a wonderful grocery called Harris Teeter and making dinner aboard for Janet Parks. The weatherman was right – a heavy fog blanketed harbor as we headed out the next morning. It lifted, as predicted, at 0900 as we approached the Ben Sawyer Memorial Bridge.