Harmony's Maiden Voyage

N 34° 44' W 76° 48'

Day 66 to 71

May 01, 2008

After the bustle of Charleston we headed for peace and quiet, and what turned out to be one of the nicest spots we dropped anchor in, only in fair weather though as it was quite exposed to the ocean.  It was down Price Creek (MM 448) and within a dinghy ride of two deserted beaches on either side of an inlet, we swam from the boat as soon as we were settled, and then put the dinghy in and motored to the beach where we swam again.  We had the place to ourselves, apart from some campers who came by boat also.   The view from the galley was beautiful, as usual; we are very spoilt.  The next morning we got up early and were overwhelmed by tiny little biting gnats so we left quickly and continued north;   en route I saw my first bald eagle (I think) perched atop a tree but didn’t have my camera handy.  Later that day we also spotted a pirate ship crossing WInyah Bay,  the things you see on the ICW.
Next anchorage and 60 miles on we stayed in thoroughfare creek, and true to its name it was very busy, packed with kids in power boats and jetskis, but it calmed down after sunset.  Another 50 miles north got us to Calabash Creek just south of the North Carolina border where we squeezed into a small anchorage with 4 motor trawlers.  The next day, on entering North Carolina, we had several shoaling inlets to cross but thankfully we avoided the shallow spots.  Just before Southport NC and the Cape Fear river inlet, we stopped at a marina to refuel and decided to stay the night: long hot showers, laundry and a deli with great sandwiches, perfect.  
A long windy run up Cape Fear river and two more dodgy inlets later we dropped anchor at topsail inlet (MM263) just before sunset.  We left at sunrise to catch the first only-on-the-hour opening of surf city bridge which we made because the bridge tender was kind enough to delay opening by 5 minutes!  After that a rather rude motor boater sped by us and nearly swamped us with his wake, he was in a real hurry but for no good reason, as we caught up with him 2 hours later, at the next bridge which he had to wait for while we putted along at 6 or 7 knots: classic tortoise and hare scenario!  After that bridge he sped off, only to be stopped again a mile further on (hah hah). Periodically US navy boats block the ICW as the Camp Lejeune firing range straddles the ICW.  The chart notes rather disconcertingly that unexploded ordinance may be present in the ICW, and we could hear loud explosions going off in the distance.  Fortunately we only had to wait about half an hour till they stopped bombing practice, and then carried on with no further hitches towards Morehead city.
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