It is a fortnight since we left the UK and we have settled happily back into life in this wonderful marina. We attended 5 social events in the first week and the July 4th Party went well. As the marina is pretty much full now, the Yacht Club was busy for a pot luck evening, followed by ‘chicken foot’ dominoes and the city fireworks at 2100. Fortunately they let them off just opposite the marina and we could see everything from our boat. Thousands of locals gathered here too, having picnics on the grass banks whilst they waited for the fireworks.
The first Friday of each month is open night in town. Many shops serve drinks and snacks and stay open late. There are specials in the restaurants, on top of the 10% we get off in most of them by showing our marina card. Good to see the town was very busy with a great atmosphere, as it can be quiet and a bit dead the rest of the time.
Being avid tennis fans, we lingered longer than intended in Brunswick just to watch the Wimbledon Championships, as it was so comfortable and easy for a change. Gone are the days we had to hike miles to sit on a hard bar stool outside in the heat. Here we wander up to the air-conditioned lounge for 0800 with a coffee in hand and sit on the plush sofas until the last match is over. With a choice of 3 big TVs, a popcorn machine and the bar, it is certainly a lovely way to spend the week and there have been some excellent matches. I could get the laundry done at the same time.
However, we do need to move on as our insurance is void if we aren’t north of 35 degrees by mid August and the clock is ticking. We can’t afford to be uninsured during the busiest hurricane months. Until then our excess is 14K. There have been a couple of tropical waves to excite the meteorologists but so far they haven’t come to anything significant here. We have been ready to leave for a week in reality but for the tennis. Our neighbours, Paul to starboard and Sylvia to port, have very kindly taken us shopping and given us a tour of the area in the process. We have everything we need on board so there is nothing other than our wish to see Jo Konta and Andy Murray continue their great Wimbledon progress, to hold us here.
Our plan is to leave tomorrow around noon to use the current out of the inlet. Then we head north towards Charleston overnight, a trip of 162 nautical miles. We will anchor near the town for the first night when we arrive and berth in the City Marina for a couple of nights on Friday, so we can explore. Marina charges aren’t cheap here and the 2 nights will cost nearly 160 pounds but we feel happier if Beyzano is safely tied up whilst we are ashore, especially in the strong currents of the river.
Next we head for Georgetown, a trip of about 80 miles but if it looks like we won’t make it before dark, we can continue overnight to Cape Fear instead, another 75 miles further north. Going 26 miles north on the ICW there to Wrightsville Beach means we don’t have to go out to sea 20 miles around the Frying Pan shoals off Cape Fear, so it’s a great shortcut. Our friends, Bob and Lin from ‘Ile Jeudi’ have recently done the same trip so suggested this route and they didn’t have any issues. After a night anchored at Wrightsville Beach we will go offshore again to Morehead City in North Carolina and get back into the ICW for a few days to Norfolk and the Chesapeake. Only a few miles from Morehead City, at Oriental, we will be over that magic line, 35 degrees N and our insurance excess drops to just 1K. Then we can take it easy, stop along the way and investigate a few marinas where we might stay during the autumn.
We have been in touch with several Ocean Cruising Club Port Officers, all of whom have been very helpful and welcoming. Many have free docks we can use, despite our draft and will assist with sourcing provisions, lending cars and finding boat items, not to mention entertaining us at their homes. We are looking forward to meeting the POs in Oriental, Deltaville and Norfolk on our way north. We are also keen to catch up with Bob and Lin as we last saw them in the spring of 2015 in Anguilla.
I’ll be sorry to leave Brunswick Landing Marina. It has been a very comfortable and friendly stop and we would happily return. If they ever installed a swimming pool it would be paradise! We left our boat card on the wall and guess it will get moved to the ‘Dearly Departed’ section in due course. We are off to the ocean once more!