Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Bucksport Plantation Marina & Hello North Carolina!

Beautiful but look at the current!

Tuesday (4/18/17) proved to be another long day of cruising but full of determination!  We left Butler Island at the crack of 8:30 am and headed toward Bucksport Plantation Marina.  Not only does Bucksport have the lowest fuel prices we’ve seen since Florida but the owners/operators are a father/son team of Jeff and Jeffrey.  The marina is privately owned and we try to support  locally owned business as much as possible…and other loopers have strongly suggested to make this a must stop.

Jeffery (the son) was injured almost 10 years ago in a terrible accident (he was 21 years old). He was in a coma with multiple fractures (neck, back, leg) with a less than favorable chance of recovery.  The doctors wanted to remove his leg but his parents said, “No.” As time moved on, he slowly recovered but his parents were told he would never walk again.

Guess who met us at the boat, eager to help in any way?  Yep, Jeffrey – walking, talking, driving, full of information and a willingness to share his story!!! We had a wonderful visit and although he has some mild limitations Jeffrey is a hard-working man, thankful for his second chance in life and devoted to making the marina a success.
Floating under a we weren't even behind them!
It was 11:30 when we stopped, with the current and wind in our face we any distance we covered would be hard-fought.  So we opted to motor onward and try to reach our “plan B” stop for the day – Calabash Creek.
A rowing class-we see all kinds of stuff!
Four hours later we arrived at the anchorage.  Calabash Creek was shallow, narrow and along the channel for shrimp boat traffic.  We decided to nix that idea and keep travelling.  The day was getting long, clouds were moving in and the wind was howling but if we weren’t going to be confident in our anchorage – we weren’t staying.  I continued to drive & Charlie researched our sources for another spot.  Anchorages are very scarce along the ICW in upper South Carolina so it was time to get creative.
"So, can I see your house from the water?"
 He called OceanIsle Marina in Ocean Isle Beach NORTH CAROLINA – no answer, they are closed on Tuesdays.  He called a restaurant further down the waterway advertising dockage for guests – they said we could tie to the dock for the night ($50).  So OK, we had a plan C.
Light house in N Myrtle Beach SC - look at that sky!! (Not in B&W)
As we neared the marina (darkness was falling) Charlie decided that if we saw a spot to tie up – we would.  The place would open Wednesday morning & we would pay whatever the cost.  If there was no dock space, we would motor on to the restaurant with our running lights, if necessary.  We were in NORTH CAROLINA already!!!!

Not an encouraging sight at Calabash Creek-darkness falling
Thank you Jesus!!  There was “some” available dock space on the T-head – half our boat would fit!!!  We switched drivers and I started tying fenders at water level on the port side.  Wind & current would be our friend & we like that!  Then I looked up and saw a man watching us from his 3rd floor balcony!!  He came running to the dock, moved 1 boat to give us more space and asked for our mid-ship line!!  I didn’t have to lasso a cleat in the wind from 20 feet away!!  Thank you Jesus!!  That guy? The owner, Captain Tim Moon!!

Tim and his wife Kim could not have been more hospitable!! Their kindness will never be forgotten and they have “Loop ambitions” too!  We enjoyed our visit and they will never know how much they blessed us!  A 9 ½ hour day, traveling 62 miles was tough but worth every challenge to meet Capt. Tim and wife Kim!

Wednesday morning was an early departure with Wilmington, NC as the day’s destination.  We already had reservations at Cape Fear Marina – we just had to fight the current in our face and the wind at our back to make it!  We did!!  And it only took 7 hours!! WaHoo!!

Dinner time from the shrimpers' net
And our boating buddies Tranquility III and Santori were already docked – familiar faces – what a bonus!!  After a dinghy ride to dinner – yes, all 6 of us in Santori’s center console dinghy – we said our good nights and who knows what tomorrow will bring…but I imagine it will be fun and adventuresome!

Smile at a stranger today – you never know the story behind the face!

God Bless!

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