Champ III: Going Places

The adventure starts here.

Southport Marina to Casper’s Marina, Swansboro, NC — April 28, 2013

The weather was cloudy this morning but as we moved North the sky cleared and it was sunny until mid-afternoon.  The rain held off and we are expecting the rain to start sometime tonight.  They are predicting 1″ of rain tomorrow and another 1/2 ” on Tuesday with thunderstorms.

The morning did not start great as when we were on the water I called the marina we were going to stay at and found out they were closed, permanently.  They were about 50 miles away and with the possible rain delay I looked thru the guide and we found 2 possibilities in Swansboro, approximately 30 additional miles up the ICW.  Between the two we decided on the floating docks because it is easier on Lenore and Candy getting on and off the boat.  We made reservations at Dudley’s Marina.

Lot of boats moving North.  A good number going to the Looper Rendezvous in Norfolk.  Talked with one boat that just started the Loop last month from Fort Lauderdale.  They said they enjoyed the side trip down the St. Johns River.  I am sure we will see them again because they are pretty much going  the same route we are.

We had 2 12′ clearance swing bridges today.  I called the first bridge and asked about his clearance based on where the tides were.  He said the tide was falling and he thought the clearance was 12′.  I know the tide was rising and the chart clearance data is usually based on high tide.  Anyway we ended up waiting with 4 other boats.  The bridge only opened on the hour and we had a 15 minute wait.  The second bridge I called the bridge tender on the radio when we were within 2 miles and he said the depth board are hard to read at the bottom but he felt there was 13′ clearance and I know we were on a falling tide.  We cleared the bridge with about 1′-0″ to spare.  Save us about 15 minutes minimum.

The ICW for the first 40 miles today or so was pretty well developed.  Homes ranged from little old shacks to quite nice homes probably built within the last 10 years.  We passed one for sale sign that must have been put up by the homeowner.  The sign said “MILLION DOLLAR LOR FOR SALE AT 40% DISCOUNT.  HOUSE INCLUDED WITH THE LOT.  NO TAXES AND NO HOMEOWNER ASSOCIATION FEES”. The house was an older one that was nothing special but he was asking $600K.

Again we saw a lot of condos on the Ocean side of the ICW spread all along the ocean front.  We took some pictures of this. Everything seems to be built right on top of the units next to it.

We passed thru the Camp Lejeune area just south of Swansboro.  They sometimes close the ICW to boat traffic because of live fire exercises by the troops. As we passed thru we could see where they have used old combat tanks as targets for the live fire exercises.  At first they were hard to identify but we passes one that still had the wheels and track on one side.

When we arrived at Dudley’s it was a dud.  When I called and made the reservation I had asked if they had floating docks.  Well they did but they wanted to put us on the fixed face dock and I asked if we could go on the floating dock.  As they were working things out I got onto the fixed dock and it was in need of serious repair.  I looked at the floating dock and realized there was no power and the floaters had seen better days.  I got back on the boat and called Casper’s Marina which we had passed 1/2 mile back. They had one slip left so we took it and I told Dudley’s we were leaving.  Wow, almost a major mistake.  The diesel at Casper’s is $3.21 per gallon, best price yet.  I may have to top off before we leave.