Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Carolina Beach - at a mooring

The Carolina Beach mooring field
We didn't have far to go, only to Carolina Beach, so we waited for the tide to turn in our favor up the Cape Fear River. Our original intention was to take a dock at Carolina Beach State Park and to do so we tried to use their reservation system at the advice of the dockmaster there. We found that the online reservation system did not work. It  was programmed with an entry for boats and even with the ability to specify a dock but something was left unconnected and it just halted when a reservation was asked for. I was then referred to the help desk and we chatted for about 1/2 hour with no results, she was lost too. I called the park back again with my tale of woe and she manually wrote down the date and dock I wanted. I thought all was good but when I called this morning, I was told that they do not accept boat reservations and that the person I talked to before was mistaken.

The dinghy dock is close by
Since we were leaving so late in the day, there was a good probability that the end face docks could be taken (the only ones we fit on) so I decided to look into the moorings at Carolina Beach. There I found that they also have an online reservation system (for moorings!) using DOCKWA so I made a reservation through their system. The only problem with DOCKWA is that you are charged for the dock or mooring upon acceptance of your reservation. If your plans change, then you have to negotiate with the marina for a refund and some of those refunds are very restricted. When I used the system in Long Island Sound, one marina would only refund a dock payment if the NOAA coastal forecast predicted gale force winds! Otherwise, you lost your payment.

You have to reserve a mooring in advance through DOCKWA
In this case, the mooring worked out fine. There are nine here and seven are taken for the night. The mooring ball has an area on top for the pendant to fit on so it doesn't collect barnacles and the usual slime coating, a good design feature. The pendants have a stainless steel ring that you loop your bow line through. All of this for $20/night and a convenient dinghy dock right by the mooring field where you can walk two blocks to the ocean and shop at a 7/11 type store for odds and ends.

Snows Cut is a slalom course through the buoys. It's well marked but you make grand sweeps through the buoys. I recorded my path for the maximum water and posted it in the GPX Routes section of this blog. I also added the route through the cut between Cape Fear River and Snows Cut.

The ocean is only two blocks away
On Thursday we get to brave three of the most difficult bridges on the ICW to time right. Two only open on top of the hour and the third on the hour and 1/2 hour. They are spaced so you always end up doing donuts when you come to them. We will spend the night at Swan Point Marina which I don't particularly recommend, it's just in a convenient spot for us. There are good anchorages around the area but none with shore access which is why we dock at Swan Point.