Monday, August 17, 2009

8-17-09: Boating in Southport

Yesterday I went out on my parents' boat for the first time. They bought it late last year before moving down here to North Carolina, and have been officially using it for about five months.

My parents were never really interesting in boating until the prospect of living by the water came into being over a year ago when they bought the land down here. Their house is about a month to six weeks from completion, but they live in town nearby and have easy access to the marina. The town of Southport has a lovely marina, I might add.

The day began with a stop in to P.J.'s Restaurant in Southport, across the street from the marina parking lot. A funky spot, P.J.'s is, with walls of various colors, and a parking lot with non-functioning gas pumps. I had the Fisherman's Special, which is their take on the ubiquitous two pancake, two eggs, and bacon breakfast special. It was decent, but nothing great. The place was pretty busy with the post-church crowd, but the wait was still only 10-15 minutes.

Then it was the boat. A minute's walk across the street to the pier, the whole experience was fascinating. The boat, named "Slapshot" after my family's ice hockey background, is an 18 footer center-console made by Eastern Boats out of Milton, NH. It's done quite well so far, with the only exception being a snafu involving the Bimini top that had been secured with plastic instead of steel. The engine is a 60 hp model, which is remarkably fuel efficient. I think they've only used two tanks of gas in all of the boat's use thus far.

After the boat was lowered down into the water by a worker at the marina (it is kept in dry storage for about $200 a month), we were off. We started by heading up the Cape Fear River for a bit. The water was very smooth, with only the wakes of other boats to worry about. I got to drive for a bit at this stage. It really takes some getting used to, since there's a significant lag at low speeds once to make a turn. But once you get the RPM's up, the response is much better.

We then headed back in and went up the intra-coastal for a bit, heading straight in between Oak Island and St. James, seeing many lovely homes on the way. I got to drive for a bit more up the intra-coastal, which was awesome. I had that sucker up over 5000 RPM's, going about... 12 or 13 knots. Hey, it was my first time! I had a blast. The wind, the sun, the salt air. It was very nice.

I think we're heading out again some time this week. My dad and I might make the 45 minute trip down to Holden Beach. Should be fun.

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