The Beach Boys used to have a song called Goin’ to Surf City, which was about Huntington Beach, CA. There is, however, another Surf City, in North Carolina. It’s quiet, has a great little, protected marina and some of the nicest people on God’s green earth. Oh yeah! If you’re a surfer, there’s something about this beach that makes the waves roll in when no other beach has surf. Kim and I like to go to the beach and watch the surfers who come here year-round and test their skills from dawn to dark. Getting to Surf City this trip, however, had a sense of urgency to it, because we had to get through the Marine Base at Camp Lejeune before Friday, October 30th.
After the Catamaran crew helped us off of the dock in Morehead City, we turned into the ICW and struck out for Camp Lejeune, which was Patrick’s and my old stomping grounds. We had learned from a Coast Guard broadcast that the Marines were holding a joint training exercise with the Navy, from 10/30/09 through 11/01/09 inclusive. Additionally, the Marines were looking for and disposing of unexploded ordinance on their live fire range, which borders the ICW, north of the Onslow Beach Bridge. For those three days, the ICW would be closed.
We traversed the Camp Lejeune portion of the ICW without incident and were privy to a display of our country's military might as choppers performed “touch and goes” and armored vehicles thundered along the dirt roads adjacent to the waterway. It was quite a sight (no pictures, it might be classified.)
After a quick stop in Sneed’s Ferry for fuel, (it’s the cheapest price for fuel on the entire ICW) we continued on south and made Surf City and the Beach House Marina at 4:00 pm sharp. After docking and paying for our night’s stay, we walked the three or four blocks to the local beauty shop, “A Beautiful New You Unisex Salon.” for Kim’s mandatory session with her favorite, ICW hairdresser. I go along to be the only roster in the hen house, so to speak, and the ladies there tease me appropriately. It’s a fun time.
From the salon, it’s a trip to the local grocery, the A.B.C. (Alcoholic Beverage Control) store and the bakery, where the lady behind the counter swears that her 6”x6”x2”, Cream Cheese and Raspberry Puree filled Turnovers haven’t one single calorie (I trust her and buy two.) Then it’s back to the boat for dinner and bed, because we have to be out of the marina and at the swing bridge for the 7:00 am opening.
From Surf City, we motored south towards South Port, NC. After catching the Bridge opening, we were treated to another glorious sunrise and took lots of pictures. We caught the current and tides just right and were able to run at normal speed the entire trip. It was another perfect day on the water
We arrived at Southport, which sits at the mouth of the Cape Fear River and the Wilmington Inlet, around 4:00 pm. This is a great marina with a friendly, professional staff. From the marina, it’s an easy walk into town, which has all sorts of stores and restaurants. Tonight, however, it’s dinner on the boat for us, as we have to be up early tomorrow and move on to Barefoot Landing.
On Friday, October 30th, we left South Port and struck out for Barefoot Landing. We motored through the familiar towns of Long Beach, Holden Beach and Ocean Isle, movng ever closer towards the North Carolina-South Carolina border. Upon reaching the town of Sunset Beach, NC, we sadly, passed through the Sunset Beach Pontoon Bridge for what may be the last time (it’s being replaced by a 65’, high-rise bridge.)
Finally, around 3:00 pm, we arrived at Barefoot Landing, which is located in the town of North Myrtle Beach, SC. It’s another one or our favorite spots and home to one of the best Italian restaurants anywhere; Umberto’s. We tied up the boat and spent an hour or so cleaning the deck and scrubbing away the dirt from the past few days running. Then, it was time for a quick shower, clean clothes and off to Umberto’s for diner.
The nice thing about having dinner at Umberto’s is, usually, you can eat the night you’re there and you can get another meal or two from the leftovers you carry home. We weren’t disappointed in the least. I had the Italian Pork Chops (one is a meal and they serve you two) and Kim had the New York Strip Steak (12 oz. of meticulously aged, finely marbled, USDA, Prime+ beef.) Then there are the side dishes; fresh baked Italian bread, roasted elephant garlic cloves, Italian stewed beans, salad, Angel-hair pasta marinara and garlic-roasted potatoes; you don’t just get one or two of them, you get them all. With dinner over, Kim and I loaded up the leftovers and waddled back to the boat; full, happy and ready to call it a day. Next stop, Georgetown, SC.