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  Cape Fear River--Tarheel, NC to Wilmington, NC

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Author Topic:   Cape Fear River--Tarheel, NC to Wilmington, NC
David Jenkins posted 11-03-2003 09:56 PM ET (US)   Profile for David Jenkins   Send Email to David Jenkins  
Has anyone made this trip?

Tarheel, on Highway 87 just east of Fayetteville, is where the third and last lock on the river is located. We will put in there and do the 100 miles to Wilmington in one day. The temperature is still warm (today it was in the 80s), the leaves are changing colors, and the water level is back up to normal.

Any interest in joining me?

kingfish posted 11-04-2003 12:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     

I'm interested, but I can only join you in spirit.

Good luck, and have fun!

David Jenkins posted 11-04-2003 07:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Jenkins  Send Email to David Jenkins     
Thanks, Kingfish.
kingfish posted 11-04-2003 09:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
You're welcome-

Haven't been anywhere up the Cape Fear River other than crossing it at Wilmington a few times, but at the recommendation of my old friend Tom Zeno (BigZ), I stayed the night and did some boating around the Blue Water Point Inn near the West end of Oak Island from Southport while I was trailering Outre' from Charleston SC to Beaufort NC a couple of years ago. I'd love to spend a whole lot more time around there.

Keep us posted as to how the trip goes-

David Jenkins posted 11-05-2003 11:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Jenkins  Send Email to David Jenkins     
I made the trip today with my two daughters plus a friend of mine and his daughter. We put in at Lock #3 and took out at the boat ramp under the Highway 17 bridge in Wilmington. 95 water miles.

The girls spent most of the day dancing on the bow (which I have made level with 5/4 inch mahogany). We had the stereo turned up loud with Bose 151 speakers bungied to the vertical stainless steel segments of the bow rail. I had interfaced an Apple iPod to my AM/FM/cassette player using a $14 device purchased at Wal-Mart. It sounded fabuous, even at 22 mph (our cruising speed @ 4000 RPM). I know that jimh thinks this is tacky and that boating should be all about enjoying the outdoors but with the quiet 4-stroke engine and the 8-foot Bimini top and the custom-made seats, it was more comfortable than driving in a luxury automobile. And the music turned the trip into a day-long, fabulous party.

We had called ahead and the lock operators were expecting us. We did not have to wait at all to be locked through. The lock operators were extremely helpful and courteous. If you are planning on doing this trip be sure to call them in advance:
Lock #1: 910-655-2605
Lock #2: 910-862-2347
Lock #3: I have misplaced that number....

We only saw three other boats the entire day. All three of these other boaters were middle-aged or retired men who were fishing.

There is not much on this river except trees and birds. In 95 miles, we saw two shacks and a trailer; zero houses, restaurants, marinas, etc. There is no place to get fuel, but fortunately we did not need any.

We saw lots of birds and two deer. The air temperature was 80 degrees (in November!).

The only disappointment was when we got to Wilmington we found that someone had broken into my car by smashing the drivers-side window. This saddened me more than it angered me. I sat on broken glass, loaded the boat onto the trailer, and moved the car and trailer three blocks over so that we could keep an eye on it while we ate at the Pilot House restaurant. But once at the restaurant, I did not keep much of an eye on the car and I was given two tickets (one for the car and one for the trailer) for parking in front of expired parking meters. Then I went to vacuum out the glass and the self-serve vacuum cleaner took my money. So Wilmington was not very friendly to us, but all in all it was a great trip and one that I highly recommend.

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