Since none of us brought our sticks on the boat with us, one might question what we'd find to do in Myrtle Beach - there are after all 120 public golf courses here. Have no fear, we have stayed entertained.
We left Surf City the other morning and immediately got hit with fog, rain and wind - lots of it! We thought we had left fog behind when we left New England - obviously not! Now fog makes boating a challenge in Maine when you are in a wide open and deep ocean; in the narrow, shallow ICW it is just plain no fun at all! But we caught up with Current Jumper, a sailboat that we had been docked with at Surf City that was captained by a marine who obviously knew what he was doing, so we tag teamed our way through the fog until it finally lifted around Carolina Beach.
Let me tell you how happy we were to actually be able to see the banks of the river we were then on!! We even maneuvered through the only pontoon bridge on the Atlantic ICW together - the Sunset Beach Pontoon Bridge with zero vertical clearance!
The rest of the trip was just as exciting since as the fog burned off, the wind picked up so that it was almost impossible to stand up on the flybridge. But very little phases the Gypsies' crew now and we navigated the swirling currents of the Snows Cut and then the Cape Fear River (which truly lived up to its name!!) like old salts.
The only little glitch was Doug having yet another "close encounter" with several coast guard boats out on cadet maneuvers - of course just as we were passing a huge container ship heading into the Cape Fear River. I jumped on the VHF in the helm station because it was too windy for Doug to hear up on the flybridge and soon enough we were on our way again and pulling into Harbour Village Marina in Southport, NC. It poured all that afternoon and evening so we hung close to the boat - the boat kitties had a great evening with all the attention and treats they got.
The next day we awoke to more pounding rain and wind so put off our departure to see if it would clear - some of the older swing bridges won't even open if it is too windy. Finally around 8:00 am we saw a weather window and bolted.
The run that day was wild - the high winds and currents through many of the cuts made for a challenging day. Lots of shoaling in the ICW kept us on our toes as well as the boat traffic - there really isn't anything quite like it when you suddenly see a 300 foot tug and barge coming around a bend in the river where you know there is only several feet of water outside the channel!! Yes that did happen to me! We also passed several inlets to the ocean and man were we all glad we weren't out there!!!! The waves were 8-10 feet and pounding!!
We have decided to stay in the ICW for at least a while longer - the scenery is wonderful and we can run even if the weather isn't perfect. If we had been out in the ocean, we would have been laid over this whole past week - and you can only drink so often...did I say that??
We also crossed into South Carolina that day - witness the confederate flags flying high and proud!!!
Another state off our list - now we just have SC, Georgia and Florida left before really heading to the little latitudes!!
As we headed down the Little River, which is where Myrtle Beach is located, members of the Gypsies crew spied from the boat a couple of really funky looking little local bars next to the Casino cruise ships, one of which was named Key West Crazy. Now you just know we had to go find that bar as soon as we docked at Lightkeepers Marina in Myrtle Beach. So after securing Gypsies, we donned our Key West attire (shirts, hats and coozies) and set off walking in search of Key West North - three miles later we found the promised land.
What a very cool bar - if it had just been a little warmer, you would swear you had just set foot in the Hog or Schooner Wharf! We set upon a few snappetizers and beers to warm up with our new friend Janice.
Mike, the owner/chef is a master in the kitchen!!
Since happy hour wasn't for another 1/2 hour, we decided to explore the rest of the bars - right next door was BJ's, advertising the best head on the Little River (beer that is - get your mind out of the gutter!). So of course we had to check that out - the beer was cold and good but it didn't have quite the vibe that KWC had. I of course had to buy a tee shirt at BJs, those being my initials and all (I actually did it for Deb Gordon - hi Deb, I'll send you pictures!)
So back to Key West Crazy we went for happy hour - all I will say is that things got fairly ugly/funny from there (depends on your perspective I guess) - I'll let some of the pictures do the talking (although some pictures have been withheld to protect the not so innocent). Mike had hired a great musician Jody Hunter who kept the bar hopping well into the evening - check him out on the web (jodylineberry.com), he's great!!
I think it's fair to say that we were probably overserved, but we were having so much fun with our waitress Erin and her mom, whose birthday it was, as well as our new friends Jody and Joe, that no one seemed to mind!
Midway through our happy hour/evening, we made the collective executive decision to stay over in Myrtle Beach another day - I think it was around the time Mike was telling us about his crabcake benedict brunch the next day - or maybe it was around the time we realized none of us was getting up early the next morning. Well things went straight downhill from there....
The next day we got a late start but did in fact head back to Key West Crazy for Mike's brunch and it felt like returning to the scene of the crime!! But our pictures weren't up on the wall yet and Mike and Dynah even welcomed us back - huh??? His crab cake benedict turned out to be all that it was cracked up to be - of course the bloody marys and screwdrivers helped a little too.
Mike even gave Doug some of his famous grits which put a true smile on a southern boy's face - normally I think grits taste like wallpaper paste but even I have to admit that Mike's grits rocked!
Realizing it would probably be wrong to stay at KWC all day until happy hour started again, we headed back to the boat for a couple hours. At 4:00 we were headed back to Key West Crazy though for happy hour and to hear a blues singer that Mike had playing for the evening. You'd think we liked this place or something!! This time we didn't forget to eat dinner and had more of Mike's amazing seafood while listening to the blues. Sunday night's vibe was a little mellower than the night before (I guess some people still work for a living), which was probably good for us since we had to get an early start this morning.
This morning came bright and early and we had to say goodbye to John who had to fly home for about a week for that dreaded work thing. He was starring in planes, trains and automobiles today - he left the boat and took a cab to the bus station in Myrtle Beach, a bus to the airport in Charleston and a plane home to Manchester. He just called to tell us it was going to be 26 degrees in Charleston on Wednesday - I wonder why he seemed so happy about that???
Anyway, Colleen, Doug and I set off this morning on an adventure. The land cut from North Myrtle Beach for the next 15 miles is known as the Rockpile - now even I know that can't be good in a boat!! Seeing Towboat US hauling a sailboat behind them in the first couple miles didn't add to our confidence either! But we successfully navigated the Rockpile and headed out into the Waccamaw River which is basically cypress swamp on both sides - the trees along the way are very Harry Potterish looking.
Still haven't seen any alligators but we did see some turtles sunning themselves on a floating log and lots of white herons.
Tonight we are anchored in Thoroughfare Creek and finally get to enjoy the steak Colleen marinated and the garlic mashed potatoes she made several days ago - before Key West Crazy came into sight....
Tomorrow we have a long steam to an anchorage about 10 miles from Charleston... Charleston here we come!!!
Happy Birthday, Dee Dee!!!
4 days ago