Tuesday morning we decided to leave Swan Point Marina hoping we would beat the high winds. The sky was cloudy with a slight mist. I guess after all the good days of traveling we can handle a bad one.
We have another swing bridge to go through called Onslow Beach Swing Bridge built-in 1953, owned and operated by the Marine Corps. They open on the half hr and hr and will not wait for anybody.
The ICW cuts through the U.S. Marine Corps’s Camp Lejeune Military reservation. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune is a 246 sq/m training facility in Jacksonville, North Carolina. The base’s 14 miles of beaches makes it a major area for amphibious assault training, and it’s located between two deep-water ports (Wilmington and Morehead City) allows for fast deployments. There is still heavy military activity along the sides of the ICW where the Marines practice amphibious landings. The ICW through Camp Lejeune occasionally is closed for artillery, small weapons firing, and beach landing exercised. Prominent lighted signs stand at both ends of the range area. During firing exercises these signs display flashing lights and red flags. If they are firing the ICW will be shut down as long as 1-2 hrs. Navy guard boat will stop you, and they have guard towers. We called to find out if firing but nothing was scheduled for Tuesday.
This unincorporated community Bears creek got its name from Bears creek that eventually flows into the Rocky River. Today was not a nice day for traveling so my pictures are not very bright and sunny.
Local folks and visiting cruisers refer to Swansboro as the “Friendly City by the Sea” and for good reasons. Swansboro is located between Atlantic Beach and Topsail landing. It’s a nice area to navigate through with large fishing boats coming back to port.
This area on the Atlantic side of the ICW has large sand dunes.
We are now traveling on the Bogue Sound in North Carolina. The sound is part of NC is “Crystal Coast” a tourism marketing term that is also used interchangeably with the term “Southern Outer Banks.” The sound separates the Bogue Banks a 21 mile long barrier island from the mainland. There are nine communities all located along the shores of the sound. A few small islands in the sound were used for test bombing by airplanes around the time of World War II, and signs at certain points in Bogue Sound warn people of unexploded ordnance. The sound is home to Marine Corps landing field Bogue Field, and bordered to the west by Bogue inlet, the White Oak River, and to the east by Beaufort inlet and the Newport river. The AICW traverses the northern portion of Bogue Sound in an east-west orientation. We crossed the sound before the winds gusts were at their highest of 35 m/ph.
Our destination for a few days is Homer Smith Docks near Beaufort, North Carolina. The winds are gusting as we are trying to find our way into the marina. We past by two big ships and a large area called a turn around basin. This is where big ships can turn around to enter or leave port. John Short (Short Vacation) is already at the dock and telling us how to navigate into the Marina. The wind has really picked up. Matt the owner was nice to let us dock at the long gas dock over night. There was no way we could have backed into a slip with those strong winds. Kent had a hard time navigating to the dock as the wind pushed the boat hard and fast into the side dock coming in. We hit pretty hard but no fiberglass damage.
We meet another looper Kathy & Bill (MzFullChargefull) at dock tales on John and Pam’s boat Short Vacation. I know after meeting Kathy how their boat got its name. Kathy is a delightful person and fully charged. We all went for dinner at No Name Pizza, we took a Uber there and walked back. Short Vacation and MzFullCharge left this morning for New Bern. We will be joining them in New Bern, NC on Friday for the rendezvous.
Homer Smith Seafood is a whole sale fish house where commercial fishing boats unload their catch. We watch a large fishing boat unload Sword fish and a few Yellow Tuna this morning. It was very interesting watching them pull the sword fish out of the holding tank. After they are unload and weighted they are packed into large boxes surrounded by ice and shipped out on a truck.
This shed is full of free ice if you need some, although it may smell a little fishy. I talked to one of the deck hands Bill he said they work 12 day on and 7 days off. The boat has a crew of four and the captain is the cook. They eat really good on this boat.
Bill said they store 18 tons of ice, 8 tons of bait, and $1000.00 worth of groceries on this boat. They eat steak and prim rib, the captain treats them great. They work from sunrise to 1:00 in the morning. They set baited hooks from six at night until 1am and then at sunrise they start pulling them in. The wheel you see is fishing line. The bucket at the top has all the swords off the sword fish.
This was our beautiful sunset ending another beautiful day with people we love.