Saturday, April 26, 2014

Carolina Beach - at a dock

At the Carolina Beach State Park Marina - looking out at the Cape Fear River
Today was a perfect day for travel. No rain, full sun, warm breezes - what more to want? We called ahead to be sure no one was coming south through the Rock Pile when we were going north. It's the area of the ICW where they ran unexpectedly into a rock area when building the ICW and had to compensate by making the ICW very narrow through that section (in order to meet their cost estimates - imagine that, meeting cost estimates instead of overrunning... - but that was then...) As a result, it is not recommended to get off the ICW line, even to let an oncoming boat pass by, there are rocks just beneath the surface ready to do real damage. So you call ahead and hope any boats headed south will do the same. At any rate, we didn't meet a southbound boat so we were fine.

On the way to Carolina Beach, the tide was really out!
As we headed north, the tide continued dropping. In fact, we had what is called a drain tide, one where the depth is below the reference point on the charts. Today it was 6 inches lower than a normal low. We saw a lot of docks just sitting in mud as we headed north.

We have the end dock - the marina is mostly empty, amazing given the price
As luck would have it, we arrived at our marina for the night at just past low tide. It's the Carolina Beach State Park Marina and there were reports of only 4 ft of depth at low tide. So I made a very cautious approach but instead found 6.6 ft of water, plenty for our 4' 9" keel.

Looking out through the entrance at the setting sun
This place is a real bargain. It's only $30/night for our size boat and there's no charge for electricity. We now plan on being here a few days. There are reports of bad weather headed our way so we'll be sure for good weather before we leave. When cruising while retired, time is your friend.