Farewell, Sarah: Swansboro to Beaufort on the ICW

Sarah and Allan in planning mode

Beaufort, NC – Tuesday was our last full day with Sarah. The storm we took refuge from had shuttered a few businesses, so it took some effort to find a diner that was open for a big, late breakfast. We then did some provisioning, plus memento shopping, and even tackled a few boat projects together!

We left Swansboro with fond memories. David & Mike were both so kind, helpful, and fun! Monday evening after we shared a drink, David gave us a “guided tour” of Swansboro’s Front Street.

Poor Man’s Hole owner Joe Rhue

First stop was the Poor Man’s Hole. A “Closed” sign hung in the window, but David rapped, and owner Joe Rhue graciously opened up for us. Walking into the store on a gray afternoon felt like stepping back in time…

Sarah shopping

Carvings from ship bows, marine artifacts, and assorted trinkets were mysteriously exotic in the stormy & dim light. Even the way the air smelled in the shop contributed to that sense of long ago times on the water.

David is a very affectionate guy

Our next stop was The Ice House restaurant. When we asked our server for recommendations & he said everything was good…we were dubious. But the prosciutto-wrapped barracuda surpassed expectations by a mile.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Mike & David each came around to check on our progress as we worked on the boat. ¬†They came with offers of help if we needed anything. We’d stop in Swansboro again on a future trip down the ICW, just to catch up with them.

This morning we drove Sarah 90-minutes to the Wilmington International Airport, where she’d catch a connecting flight home to Boston. We would have loved to have her onboard all the way to Deale, MD…

Here is to hoping we sail with her again some day!

Now it was time to take Vinyasa out on our own. Our departure was pretty darn elegant, until we found out one last line needed to be undone. Awkward, but we finagled our way through and out.

Fishing boat festooned with nets

The weather going to Beaufort was beautiful for a change: a baby blue sky with cotton candy clouds. Smooth waters, with currents that alternately boosted our speed to 8 knots, or slowed us to 5. No complaints, though… The scenery was beautiful once again: marshland abounded! Narrow sandbars offered respite to seabirds, while a pelican dive-bombed for fish. Light boat traffic, although we did come across a net-festooned fishing boat that was quite the sight.

Our ICW Planning Guide has an annotation about the Atlantic Beach Bridge at mile marker 206.6 being 63 feet at high tide…and we approached it at high tide. We went slowly, gently scraping the antenna as we passed.

We’ve decided to make our first couple of sans-Sarah days, short and easy, so we tied up at Beaufort Docks at 4:30 pm. Now, an hour later, our fuel and water tanks are full, and two loads of our laundry are going in the laundromat across the street. Time to savor a celebratory glass of wine. Salud!

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