Ports and Nature

Today I have a bit of a schizophrenic post. I just LOVE looking at the big boats and the docks as we are motoring by. I also LOVE nature and the weather has not been very helpful on that front. But, we have a nice weather window. Yeah!

Ports

First, the ports. We motored from Carolina Beach to Wilmington, NC yesterday. First thing we learned. Sometimes, currents really matter. We had a short 17.62 NM. It took us 3 hours and 9 minutes! We fought against a 2 knot current most of the way. That spells 4 – 5 knots for us which is about 4 1/2 to less than 6 MPH. That is even slow for us. But, the trip was pretty and we had a lovely walk on a looooooog, beach before we left.

Carolina Beach. A lovely long beach where one could walk for several hours end to end. I can’t imagine how the beach might look in the Summer. Winter travel does have it’s advantages.

We got the dinghy back on the boat (we were on a mooring ball and thus dinghy’ed to shore for bike riding, hiking and to walk the beach.) The highlight for me was coming into Wilmington, NC. The town is relatively small, around 120,000 people but appears to be quite prosperous and has a small port that is quite strategically located for easy access to lots of manufacturing.

There is still space for your big boat to drop off or ship your goods!

So, a few images of the fun docks

I have to include some color and shape.
A baby anchor. This boat is 70 ft wide and 400 ft long. We are 17 ft and 50 ft. You just get the abstract here of one anchor.
The size of the cranes vs the tugs and other boats (this is a boat pulling a dredge on the channel) is amazing.
There were two push boats and a pull boat for the dredge.. Behind it, the green and white housing for the dredge workers and behind that, the loading cranes for the port. They are huge!

Nature

The weather has taken a turn for the better. Multiple days in the 50’s to 60’s and sunny! I was so ready. I was starting to have “trouble” with the gray days.

So, a lovely day at Carolina Beach State Park. Turns out this is one places where carnivorous plants are found in the US; Venus Flytraps, Pitcher plants, etc. I had no idea!

In the wild, the pitcher plants are not in their prettiest state. But, so cool to see them in their natural habitat.

State parks and botanical gardens. So nice to have some nature up close and good weather! Today we visited the Airlie Gardens. Gorgeous and a lovely day for a visit.

Yes, its a garden but the birds are what I photographed.
The Anhinga and turtles. The Anhinga is also called the snake bird. They swim through the water and look like slithery snakes.
Lots, and lots of juvenile and obviously some adult Black Crowned Night Herons. 30 or so. I’ve never seen so many!
Lots of beautiful moss covered trees, paths, water and smaller plants. Only a few flowers at this time of year.
And don’t forget the bottle house! Just a small structure, but fun.

We plan to spend a few more days in Wilmington. We are at a marina now and have a rental car for a couple days as it is easier to get around. Shopping, doing outdoor things until the weather turns, then perhaps indoor things.