Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

We continued our travels down the ICW in North Carolina to our next port – Wrightsville Beach. My only knowledge about the town is from Nicholas Sparks’ book, Message in a Bottle, and the movie made about it. Ahhh, reality vs novels and movies. No resemblance. 🙂
This leg of our ICW trip required timing because of the three bridges we would encounter – two swing bridges and one bascule. The distances between each and their opening schedules (either on the hour and the half hour, or just the hour) meant that we had to carefully monitor our speed and progress. Lots of mental math for rates and times, and conversions between statute miles and nautical miles, but no algebra really required. 🙂 We passed through the Surf City Bridge, The Figure Eight Bridge and then the Wrightsville  Beach Bridge. Most of the 15 boats anchored with us back at Mile Hammock Bay were also traveling today, so we hung out waiting for openings and then passed through like a line of school children on their way to lunch. It’s actually fun to call the bridgetender to request the opening and to thank them after you are clear. The “request” is mostly to inform them; evidently they record the names and time of the boats who pass through.

Opening bridges and the line of boats behind us

Opening bridges and the line of boats behind us

This part of the ICW is very different from the past week. No swamp and swamp marshes , and more homes. Sometimes we could catch a glimpse of the barrier islands and even the ocean through an inlet. There were a few nerve wracking shoaled areas during which we held our breath as we carefully moved over them.

The sandbars just past the marker.

The sandbars just past the marker.

More homes along the westerns shore - from simple trailers to very grand places.

More homes along the westerns shore – from simple trailers to very grand places.

A glimpse of the ocean through an inlet

A glimpse of the ocean through an inlet

A charming old oyster boat jugging away going north

A charming old oyster boat jugging away going north

And then there some more curious sights. Please keep  in mind that when you travel at 6 knots of speed, you have plenty of time to look around you!!

~A giraffe statue as a "for sale" sign ~ A fake palm tree marking a shallow area ~ Who knows what this statue is!! An ICW mythical goddess?

~A giraffe statue as a “for sale” sign
~ A fake palm tree marking a shallow area
~ Who knows what this statue is!! An ICW mythical goddess?

We also  had our share of nature sightings. The dolphins really do run along side of the boats in the ICW. There are no  good pictures because I got too excited to hold the camera steady and focus and watch the dolphins. I chose to do the watching without the camera most of the time. But here is one photo — If you look closely you can see the dolphin just alongside of our bow, keeping up with us.

Can you see the dolphin?? This is just so cool!!!

Can you see the dolphin?? This is just so cool!!!

We think this is an eagle. Maybe a bald eagle?

An eagle inspecting the ICW travelers

An eagle inspecting the ICW travelers

Our view of Wrightsville as we entered the channel was mostly very large waterfront homes and docks.

More homes along the westerns shore - from simple trailers to very grand places.

More homes along the westerns shore – from simple trailers to very grand places.

Wrightsville Beach waterfront homes

Wrightsville Beach waterfront homes

Those of us who anchored in the little harbor also had waterfront property.

Southbound sailboats in the Wrightsville anchorage. Can you find us?

Southbound sailboats in the Wrightsville anchorage. Can you find us?

We spent an extra day here rather than move again. Sometimes you need to take a break from daily travel.

Beach time!! Yes, it was cold but we sat on the beach anyway.

Beach time!! Yes, it was cold but we sat on the beach anyway. The sea gulls kept us company.

In our walk to town we found a lovely little park – one of the nicest we have ever seen.

~Welcome arch ~Al relaxes in a butterfly chair ~ table and benches ~ A fountain designed for cooling off - for children in hot weather ~ a little playhouse

~Welcome arch
~Al relaxes in a butterfly chair
~ table and benches
~ A fountain designed for cooling off – for children in hot weather
~ a little playhouse

Are you ever to old to play? We tried the see saw. Silly, isn't it?

Are you ever to old to play? We tried the see saw. Silly, isn’t it?

prep

The PPD Beach to Battleship Triathlon is Saturday. Lots of preparations going on!

Which explains why we saw so many people swimming in the channel and bay near us. Brrrrrrrrr!

Which explains why we saw so many people swimming in the channel and bay near us. Brrrrrrrrr!

Another glowing sunset. If you look very closely, you might see Venus.

Another glowing sunset. If you look very closely, you might see Venus – tiny pinpoint of light in the upper left.

We may be in the south, but we are cold!! It has been in the high 40’s at night. Our cabin registered 56 degrees this morning – that’s 2 degrees colder than we keep our house at night in the winter. But the sun is shiny brightly during the day.

Just a quick update to last night’s blog post. We awoke today to a very chilly morning  – 38 degrees outside and only 52 degrees inside the cabin. Brrrrrr. And I thought we had headed south!
It’s a good thing we studied the currents and planned our route today around them, resulting in a late morning departure. Why? No boats would be leaving this anchorage this morning until after the swimming part of the PPD Beach to Battleship Triathlon. Remember yesterday’s photo about the preparations for this triathalon? At that time we had no idea just how big this event is.

PPD

You can see the bicycles in the back.

Bags for clothing change after the swim are placed here.

Bags for clothing change after the swim are placed here.

This triathlon is Internationally recognized iron distance and half distance. The title sponsor, PPD, supports the event to educate the public on the vital role of clinical research and trials for new medicines. The distances are:
Swim – from Wrightsville Beach, 2.4 miles
Bike – 112 miles from Wrightsville Beach to Wilmington
Run – 26.2 miles around Wilmington, ending at the USS North Carolina battleship

While we ate our breakfast, we had a front row seat to watch the swimming – the swimming was right past this anchorage.

Volunteers on paddleboards and kayaks are spread out along the swimming course

Volunteers on paddleboards and kayaks are spread out along the swimming course

One mass of swimmers coming up the channel

One mass of swimmers coming up the channel

US Coast Guard boat waits at the back to prevent boats from entering the channel there.

US Coast Guard boat waits at the back to prevent boats from entering the channel there.

A mass of swimmers passing the buoy that marks the turn point

A mass of swimmers passing the buoy that marks the turn point

The lead swimmer passing by

The lead swimmer passing by

It must be so cold in that water today

It must be so cold in that water today

This was for all those athletic friends and family members of ours who have run, biked, and swam competitively-  Meghan, Maureen, Adam, Colleen, Alicia.

3 thoughts on “Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

  1. Pingback: North Carolina Beach Towns – Wrightsville & Carolina Beach | Kindred Spirit

  2. I really enjoyed your blog entry on Wrightsville Beach, I currently manage a hotel here. I have lived aboard before doing the ICW trip a couple of times, once in the winter leaving SE North Carolina just before Christmas in a 35′ Columbia Coronado sloop. Man, was it could…we looked like the Michelin Tire Man all the way to central FL before we got warm enough to shed some layers. I am headed back to that lifestyle with the next 3 years but this time via RV. Have a safe journey.

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