Monthly Archives: June 2015

A visit from our good friend Andy

6/30/15
Southport NC
Posted by Bill

Today we had a visit from our good friend Andy. He was down from Columbus, OH visiting his parents in Myrtle Beach, and made the trip up to Southport to spend the day with us. We haven’t seen him (or any of our Ohio friends for that matter) since our last trip home last November. It was really great to spend time catching up and drinking a couple of beers!

Note to all of our northern friends and family…we really look forward to these visits, please look us up if you get close to us. Thanks Andy!!

The July 4th celebration starts

6/29/15
Southport NC
Posted by Bill

Southport is the host of the North Carolina state 4th of July festival. Every year a crowd of 50,000 people gather for the week long celebration. There are events happening every day, but most of the real craziness begins on Thursday and runs through the weekend. This past Saturday was the start, and we walked downtown to check out the Fire Fighters competition. Area fire fighters compete in several challenges, and from what we have been told the winner moves on to state competitions.

When we arrived they were doing a bucket brigade competition:

The team of fire fighters man buckets and dip water from a pool that is filled to the same level for each team. They then run with the buckets and throw water on to a small building that is around 20 yards away from the pool. The building has a roof and gutter system that takes water from the roof down to a large trash can. The team that can fill the trash can the fastest is the winner. We were watching the event next to where one of the teams had a tent set up as their base, and it was interesting to hear them develop their strategy.

Next was the truck pull:


Each team was timed to see how long it took them to pull a 36,000 pound tanker truck from a start line to a finish line. Here again, it was interesting to see how each team tried something different to gain an advantage.

Next, the challenge was to see how much water you could shoot through a 6″ diameter hole in a “wall” in a 3 minute time period:



The wall was a plywood prop, the hole leading through a pipe to a trash can. The team consists of 3 guys who wear blacked out goggles, that walk from the wall to a fire hose some 20 yards away. There is a 4th guy who stays at the wall who directs the others because they cannot see. The 3 guys have to find the hose and then shoot water at the wall. It was hilarious! We were standing in what they called the “get wet zone”, to the left of one of the walls, and we did get some minor spray. I am sure it could have been much worse!

Last, was the barrel push:

An empty beer keg is suspended on a high wire, and 2 teams stand opposite one another and use fire hoses to see who can push the barrel over the other team’s start line, like a tug of war. We watched most of the teams compete until the barrel broke loose from the high wire and came crashing to the ground. They were trying to figure out what to do next when we left.

There were lots of kids playing in a fountain they had set up and that was fun to watch too:

It was the first time we had seen anything like this and we had a great time! Stay tuned as we’ll report on the other festivities as the week progresses.

Daily routine at the end of D Dock

6/27/15
Southport NC
Posted by Bill

We don’t have too many daily routines, but one of them is to have happy hour and the end of our series of docks, D Dock. We take beach chairs and cocktails, watch the boats go in and out of the marina, watch the boats go up and down the ICW, watch big ships pass by as they go up and down the Cape Fear River, and especially watch the pelicans dive for their dinner. It is a great view when there are no boats on the end of the dock, nor on the fuel dock:

The pelicans are the best. They float along about 30 feet above the water until they see something in the water, then stall and dive straight down into the water, at the last second tucking their wings. They seem to always catch something. Some days they give us a great show, diving right in front of us. Most days there are around 10 or so of them doing their thing around us.

Sometimes we get to see some “not so skilled” docking maneuvers as boaters come in for fuel, and we have witnessed a couple of crashes into other boats. Also, in the last week we saw some pretty impressive yachts and a Coast Guard tug and barge:


As the Coast Guard boat approached the marina entrance, I thought, “there is no way they will maneuver that mess into this marina without an incident”. I was wrong, and it was impressive to see them do it. Just in case you are interested in parting with a few of your hard earned dollars…the yacht Steffo that is pictured, is available for charter for $95,000 per week plus expenses! If you pull the trigger, please come and visit us!!!

A day at the beach

6/26/15
Southport NC
Posted by Bill

Matt and Shirley, on Sophia Jeanne, rented a beach house on the west end of Oak Island this week. Their daughter came down from Maryland with her 2 girls. Needless to say, Matt and Shirley were having a great time. They gave us an open invitation to come to the beach while they were there and use one of their vehicles to get there (how cool of them is that!). We finally put a plan together for today. It was windy and the beach was rough so we went down another couple miles to the very west end of Oak Island to Lockwoods Folley Inlet, and camped out on the backside of Oak Island. It was a great area to enjoy the water, nice and calm, minimal current, and lots of sand. We have been suffering through a heat wave for the last couple of weeks, with temps way above normal, so the water was a welcome relief. We camped out at the red arrow:






It is only 17 miles from our marina and is very convenient.

After wallowing awhile, we went back to the beach house and had a pig out, grilling burgers, dogs, sausage, and crab stuffed jalapeno poppers! It was really fun to hang out with them and get to know their family better. It made us miss ours even more! We will come back to this spot when we can borrow a car, for sure.

Dutchman Creek

6/22/15
Southport NC
Posted by Bill

When we are in a marina for an extended period of time like we are now, every once in awhile we will jump in the dinghy and do some exploring. It is an 11 foot Zodiac rigid bottom inflatable with a 9.9 HP motor, and we can get it on plane, which moves us along pretty well. In the Cape Fear area there are lots of creeks and side rivers to check out, and most recently we went up Dutchman Creek. It is about 2 miles west of our marina, along the ICW, and the creek itself is 1.5 miles long. The map below has a blue line showing the route to get to the creek.

As you motor up, there is a small basin to the left with a boat ramp, a beach to land the dinghy, and a really nice playground for kids. There are also about 6 or so boats that seemed to be permanently anchored there, and one that sank:

A little further up we saw more boats anchored in the middle of the creek, and another sunken one:

I just amazes me that people would neglect their boat to the point that it sinks, and then just leave it there! It becomes a navigation hazard and I am sure there are environmental impacts…how irresponsible! It reminds me of the anchor problem we had in Lake Worth, FL.

The further we went, the more brown the water became and it also was very warm:

There are supposed to be alligators, but we didn’t see anything like that. We came back down the creek and went to a marina designated by the red arrow on the map. There was a bar there called The Dead End Saloon that we had lunch at. The food was marginal, but they have Woodchuck hard cider there for $3 a can. It is our favorite cider and we have not been able to get it in too many places in this area.

We got the crabs

6/21/15
Southport NC
Posted by Bill

A couple of posts ago I mentioned that our dock neighbors, John and Maryann, told us that we were welcome to use the crab trap that they have tied to the end of our dock (we share the dock with them). We finally got motivated to harvest the catch and pulled out 12 keepers.

Tricia cooked them up and together we picked the meat off of them.

From what we have seen in the fish markets, this is about $30 worth of crab meat! Then she made a homemade alfredo sauce, added some of the crab meat, and we had a fantastic dinner.

A bit about Southport

6/17/15
Southport NC
Posted by Bill

We first visited Southport, NC years ago when we did a side trip on a business trip in Raleigh. We spent a few days after the business trip at Carolina Beach and took the Fort Fischer ferry over to check out the town. At that time it was getting a reputation for a quaint seaport that was becoming a prime retirement location. We really liked the town, the waterfront, the proximity to beaches and proximity to Wilmington. We liked it so much that we talked to a realtor the next day and checked out some of what was available. Most of the downtown area is comprised of early 1900s homes that have been restored, maintaining the charm of the old seaport. New construction has been consistent with the surrounding architecture, and most of what comprises the town of Southport is within walking distance to the waterfront and the downtown shops and galleries. Here are some pictures of the downtown residential area:






The movie industry has used Southport to do filming, most recently Safe Haven. This is the house that was used for the main character’s house:

The waterfront along the yacht basin consists of several restaurants and a couple of bars, with a fish monger thrown in. The fish monger sells only to retail customers. There are also a couple of sailing and fishing charters that are based there on the docks. Here are some pics to give you the idea:


The waterfront along the river features stunning views, a fishing pier, several areas to picnic or relax, and a yard in front of the Maritime Museum where events are held, including concerts and a weekly open market (shown in pics below). Pics:
Market:


Views:



Picnic area:

Southport also has a highly regarded marina at the southern end of the town that is within walking distance. The marina is situated at the intersection of the Cape Fear River and the Intracoastal Waterway, which makes it very convenient to travel from there, or stop there while traveling. Pics, including some of our boat Island Bound:






Our dock neighbors, John and Maryann, have a crab trap at the end of our dock. They told us to go ahead and use it and baited it with fish heads. After a few days we had some keepers:

We will harvest them in the next few days so Tricia can make some of her now famous Jalapeno Poppers stuffed with crab cheese!