Crossing the Cape Fear river requires careful timing with the tide.  You definitely don’t want to go against the current there!  We came through Snow’s Cut with the current fiercely against us (but at least it’s a short distance) and entered the Cape Fear river.  Not too much excitement other than staying out of the way of the container ships on their way to and from Wilmington. 

 We decided to stay at a different marina in Southport, one that other cruisers recommended last trip called South Harbor Village.  I didn’t like as much as the Southport marina.  It was too far away from town to walk and, other than a few restaurants, there really wasn’t anything there.  Although they advertise as being ‘transient friendly’, they didn’t put us at the transient dock.  We were directed to a slip in outer slobovia–about as far from the bath houses as possible.  While approaching the slip, the dock guy hollered to me to cofirm that we were a 30 ft boat.  Obviously, we’re much bigger.  He got confused with our request for a 30amp hookup.  Anyway, he still wanted us to come into the short slip and we eventually made it in there with some difficulty as we were docking with the current.   We hit the piling coming in and the dock guy insisted we ‘broke it’ and wanted us to pay for a new piling.  What a jerk!  He had a diver come over and check the piling but the diver didn’t find any cracks–it was just leaning a little.  Lessons learned: (1) Don’t stay at that marina–not cruiser friendly!, (2) Always ask for a  face dock transient slip, (3) Always ask about the direction of the current and make sure we dock against the current.

Cathy and new puppy Callie
Cathy and Callie
Impossible to get both dogs facing the same direction
It's impossible to get both dogs to face forward

Our friend Cathy picked us up and drove us to her house to spend the night.  Cathy and Ken live nearby at Red Brick Landing.  It was soooo nice to have a home-cooked meal and sleep in a bed!  They had just adopted a new puppy – a 6 month old terrior mix named Callie.  She was adorable and after Bailey got used to her, they had fun chasing each other around the couch.  The next morning, Cathy took us back to the marina because we thought the dock master wanted to move us so he could fret more about the piling.  Well, he never came by and we didn’t look for him.  It poured down rain and the wind blew hard from the south so we weren’t real anxious to move anywhere.  Later in the evening, we had dinner at the Dead End Saloon.  The owner also had a restaurant by the same name in Fells Point.  I have a rule against ordering Maryland style crabcakes outside of Maryland but was assured that they were good.  They were!

Barefoot Landing
Barefoot Landing

We were going to spend another day in Southport but Skip checked the weather and it looked like Sunday was a good day to move.  We left the marina (never did hear from that idiot again and I hope we never will.)  The warm weather was very enjoyable as we motored towards Mrytle Beach.  Three bridges and several inlets later, we tied up at Barefoot Landing Marina situated behind a nice shopping center (my kinda place!)  Larry and Suzi were already there and we quickly hooked up for dinner at TBonz.  When we returned to the boat and were watching TV I heard a loud motoring noise.  We looked outside and watched in awe as a tug passed towing dredging equipment.  It must have been at least 1/4 miles of barges with large hoses – amazing!

Bev and Al
Bev and Al

We awoke to dreary rainy weather on Monday morning.  I perused the shops (mostly beachwear and tourist junk) until lunch time when Bev (former SSAer) and her husband Al came to meet us for lunch.  They live nearby in Calabash and Bev & I keep in touch on Facebook.  After lunch, they offered to take us to their house (along with Bailey) to spend the afternoon.  They have a beautiful home in a golf community.  It was so nice to spend the afternoon in a warm, dry place enjoying the company of friends.  After dinner, Al dropped by the Walmart so we could get a few fresh food items before taking us back to the boat.  They offered to put us up overnight but we didn’t feel comfortable leaving the boat unattended since the marina doesn’t have any security.

Danny, Judy and Skip
Danny, Judy and Skip

Today (Tuesday) started drizzly but cleared up a bit in the morning.  Judy and Danny came by at lunch time and took us to one of Skip’s all-time favorite restaurants, Hamburger Joe’s, for lunch.  We had a really nice time getting caught up with them.  After we returned to the marina we decided to head out and try to make Charleston before the weekend.  Tonight we’re docked at Bucksport marina–one of our favorite spots.  The young owner is very friendly, rates are cheap and they sell delicious frozen sausage!

BTW, I took a break from blogging when our friend Joe (Onward) showed up.  We heard him on the radio earlier and, sure enough, he caught up with us!  We snacked on appetizers and a light dinner while getting caught up on our respective travels.  (Of course there was red wine and rum involved too…)

We’ll be near Charleston on Thursday and are looking forward to seeing Justin, Cat and baby James (who surely is walking by now!)

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