September 03 2015
The last week of August, Jason Dunbar joined his friend and client, Jerry Stevenson, the proud new owner of a beautiful Offshore 62, "Stillwater" on a voyage up the Carolina coast. Two weeks prior Mr. Stevenson took delivery of his new yacht in Ft. Lauderdale, and headed north in the Gulfstream with a couple of his friends. Jason flew into Charleston, South Carolina 12 days after the owner left Ft. Lauderdale on his maiden voyage. When Jason and his girlfriend Aubree, walked down the dock, they were greeted by Mr. Stevenson saying, "You are a brave broker showing up 12 days after a customer takes delivery of his boat!" Fortunately for Jason, the owner was experiencing buyer's euphoria insted of buyer's remorse.
The owner and his friends were familiar with the city of Charleston and encouraged Jason and Aubree to wander the historic battery. The City Marina in Charleston provides a free round trip shuttle into town, where reasonably priced world class dining was found. The highlight was stumbling upon the quaint Theater 99 on Wednesday nights "Laugh with a Lincoln", an improve theater that charged a $5 dollar entrance fee to see 3 troupes of comedy improve.
The morning provided clear skies and a sunrise over Fort Sumter range with a dolphin escort (seriously, the Charleston Chamber of Commerce couldn't have scripted it better) as they headed north on the ICW to the village of Georgetown, South Carolina.
Georgetown is a village with a deep and rich history of fishing, logging and Steel. The water front district is well preserved, and bustling with waterfront dining. A fat piece of fresh Grouper washed down with a cold local craft beer and a local playing guitar, lead to a satisfying night.
The rivers connecting the inland waterways between the South and North Carolina borders provided a scene that appears Jurassic at some points, and sprinkled with remnants of early 1900 abandoned construction and docks. North Carolina welcomed us with a wonderful boating community called Wrightsville Beach. Located east of Wilmington, the waterways were jammed with boaters slowly cruising the estuaries and backwater canals. This was home to one of our crew (Bill), and proud owner of a 30' Scout which he gladly gave us a waterway tour. We could have spent days exploring the canals, but we shoved off in the late morning to catch the 10am Wrightsville bridge opening.
The journey to our final port of call, Moorehead City, took us through Camp Le Juene Maritime base where blown up tanks and military equipment liter the banks of the ICW. Once past the Osprey helicopters and Hovercraft, we headed up the James River past Swansboro, a sleepy sea side village that provided live outdoor entertainment and dock side dining. The municipal floating docks offer affordable overnight dockage at the heart of downtowns Southern Colonial architecture.
When "Stillwater" was tied to the dock, washed down and our bags packed, we knew the trip was over. No one wanted to leave, there was no relief that we were "home", only jokes about where we could be tomorrow, if we untied the lines and kept moving up the ICW on the softest ride anyone could remember.