As everyone who has even cursorily read this blog knows, I love breakfast. I especially love it at a local diner kind of place. Dwayne and I had agreed to meet around 8 the next morning for breakfast at the local place. Sadly, it was too far from the marina to walk or I'd've toddled off on my own, but when I mentioned I'd like to go there, Dwayne had kindly offered to drive.
I was not disappointed! It was a great greasy spoon named, appropriately, the McClellanville Diner. The food was good, the service friendly, and the coffee spectacular. Thumbs up on this one.
Anyway, I had wanted to get underway fairly early. After talking with Dwayne about the channel just across the ICW called Five Fathom Creek. Hopping out there would save hours on the ICW and going down the river at Winyah Bay. Currents run moderately fast and I was sure they'd be against me, forcing me to run the ICW up to Southport (which I didn't want to do).
So with local knowledge at hand (basically, the shrimpers use the channel, it was recently dredged and should have more than enough depth), off I went. Keeping an eye on the depth gauge and following the channel resulted in a very pleasant hour or so through the marshes with depths never lower than 15 feet. The only caveat is to keep a straight line course to the G1 before turning east around Cape Roman Shoals. The chart indicates 3-1/2 feet but I never saw anything like that.
So, my plan was to head to Cape Fear and enter the Cape Fear River entrance to avoid going around Frying Pan Shoals. I knew I'd get there around midnight, would find an anchorage to sleep until the current changed, and then continue on.
The wind continually lightened so sailing was out. Still, the seas were kind of lumpy from the days of 20+ kt winds. Nevertheless, the moonrise was absolutely spectacular! Like the ones you see in the movies or whatever where the huge moon rises into an inky black sky. One of those moments at sea that makes it all worthwhile!
Naturally, as I entered the Cape Fear River channel, the engine died. With a great deal of swearing and so forth, I changed the Racor filter and removed some hose from the electric pump where there was apparently an air leak. Yah!
Long and short, I anchored in the harbor out of the channel in about 13 feet of water at 2am, had a shower and went to sleep for four hours.
Around 7am, I weighed anchor and headed up the Cape Fear River for Surf City. You may remember Surf City from the trip down. Seven really uneventful hours later I was there. Earl, the marina manager, remembered me and I had a great time meeting others on the dock. It was so nice, I stayed two days having breakfast in my favorite place - full hungry man's breakfast for $4.59. Add a dollar for coffee and it's one of the best deals around. It might be Batts Grill. If not, it's right next door.
I had heard from my friend, Doug, who was moving to New Bern, NC. We decided to meet in Coinjock for one of their 32 oz. steaks. Really, there's no other reason to go there. But since he was on a schedule, I decided to push to meet him.
On May 1st, I left to get past Beaufort.