The uneventful offshore run from Morehead City continued after our last post, terminating in Wrightsville Beach some ten hours after it started. Actually, that’s not true. It would’ve ended in Wrightsville Beach if we could’ve gone back to Seapath Marina like we hoped. But Seapath was full, so we ended up at Bridge Tender Marina. Which almost is in Wrightsville Beach but instead is in Wilmington, just across the ICW.
Damn, did we get lucky. We loved this side. And the marina guys are awesome.
Here’s an artsy photo of a delicious Pinot Noir at Bridge Tender restaurant, which may be even more awesome than the marina guys. There’s Tumbleweed out at the dock. And on the left is the Wrightsville Beach Bridge, tended by a famously fickle bridge tender whose shenanigans we avoided by going outside. Bwaahaahaa.
Thursday morning was gray and drizzly, but not too gray and drizzly for a walk up to Blueberry’s Grill. Damn again. How many delicious restaurants are there around these parts?
On the hike back to the boat we swung over and through Airlie Gardens, a Wilmington botanical garden that we found to be mostly in that season between flowers and Christmas, although it still was cool enough to justify going out of our way.
Hey, here’s another one of those bottle houses! We last saw one of these on Prince Edward Island. Probably not built by the same dude.
Given the shame we carry from that time we fell for the Old Tree Scam of ’19, we’re a little reluctant to buy the hype surrounding Airlie Oak, which supposedly already was nearly two-hundred years old when Blackbeard was pirating in the nearby waters. We don’t vouch for anything other than that it’s big.
After our big breakfast and our little sightseeing trip, we untied and headed for Southport. Still gray. Still drizzly. If it doesn’t bother the pelicans, however, we ain’t letting it bother us. Incidentally, we both think the guy flying in the middle likely has a great sense of humor.
Sunny Point—more technically Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point—handles more armament and ammunition than just about any other place in the world. Ocean Jazz was loading up under the watchful eye of the range boats plying the Cape Fear River. We looked on Vessel Finder but there wasn’t a reported destination for all that sweet American war material. Sadly, these days it could be anywhere.
Then on around to Southport. By the time we tied up the gray and drizzle had been replaced by mostly blue sky. Nice.
Friday morning, fog. Fog? We weren’t expecting fog.
“It’ll burn off quickly,” the nice dock guy. So we took off, hoping that would happen before we reached the bridge. Nope. The bridge was about fifty feet ahead of us in this photo. Couldn’t see a thing.
But soon enough the fog turned to blue sky, which we enjoyed immensely for a chunk of the day.
Then an hour or two from Osprey Marina the blue sky turned to rain. Grrr.
Rain off and on all night, but since there’s not too much to do or see around Osprey we mostly stayed on the boat anyway.
Saturday morning up and out.
According to Waterway Guide, this stretch of the Wacammaw River is the prettiest on the Loop. We’re not so sure about that—and since we wrote the Waterway Guide section on the Down East Circle we know there’s some subjective personal preference involved in these things—but it certainly was a nice and easy two hours down to Wacca Wache.
After a quick stop that involved a lot of crappy football, we took off at first light for a long run to Isle of Palms. This stretch of the ICW is not the prettiest. Mostly rice paddies and marsh. Rice used to be a big deal around here, what with the free labor and all, and there’s still a few folks hanging on.
They call this area the “Low Country.” Not because of topography, of course, but because of all the South Carolina Gamecock and Clemson Tiger fans. Can’t get much lower than that unless you’re in Alabama or Georgia or Florida.*
Here might be the worst place possible to build a house. Soggy eroding land. No road. No electricity. No sewer. No trees.
Google Earth tells the sad story. You wake up to a heart attack, you’re screwed. Someone never heard the real estate mantra about location, location, location. This place is so absurd that Zillow has no wildly-off-base valuation for it.
On previous trips we’ve wanted to stop at Isle of Palms. (“IoP” to the locals, although that’s too close to IHoP for our liking.) This time we made it. Cool little island.
The scooters took us around the island this morning. The beach was empty. The iconic turtle statue was dressed up—rather tackily if you ask us—for Halloween.
Speaking of icons, this morning we got the horrible news we’ve been dreading. Cancer finally claimed our buddy Larry. The Mayor of Cholla Park. We disagreed about many things, but always with a laugh. That’s two summers in a row the Cholla pickleball community has lost a great one. Hopefully it’s the last for a while. We’ll miss you Larry.
*We submit that for obvious reasons those places collectively should be called “Lowest Country.” We also note that right about here we could work in a clever bit about Mississippi and The Lower Place, but we love Charlie and Robin so we won’t.