Not all Marinas are Marinas — Twixt Wrightsville Beach and Southport

Bright, cold, gusty

Away at 1020 with t-shirt and garbage bag entwined around anchor rode. Problem boat gone when we got up at 0800. Commercial traffic at Carolina Beach — only the second barge and tow. In 1980 this would have been at least the 12th. Snow’s Cut every bit as tedious as it was 28 years ago with added shoaling on the north side. We are really starting to see the degree to which the US has abandoned this infrastructure.

Cape Fear River was cold and rough and windy, and we were glad to leave it behind until we saw what we had gotten into for a marina. We pulled into the St James Plantation Marina at 1450.

We really cannot recommend this place except in extremis.

  1. We called two days ahead for a reservation.
  2. We were told then they had no power cord adapters to lend.
  3. The young man on the phone told me what kind we’d need.
  4. We bought one at West in Southport.
  5. We provided our boat dimensions during the conversation, and he repeated them.
  6. When we arrived, we discovered they do not have full floating docks, they having floating finger piers.
  7. This means one has to spring half the boat.
  8. Not a problem except the thumb cleats on the pilings are too high and on the wrong side.
  9. Then there is the dockhand who grabs your lines and starts securing the boat with out regard for instructions from the helm.
  10. Then there is the information you have just been put in a slip that has too little water for your draft at low tide…”but it’s soft mud…so it’ll be okay.”
  11. Then there is the discovery that the young man on the phone has told you the wrong kind of power cord adapter.
  12. Then when we arrived in the office the two men there carried on a desultory conversation for nearly two minutes without greeting us.
  13. When I pointed out the problem with the adapter, I got the three most hated words in the English language “sorry about that” followed by “I’m glad your not pissed about it. ” (When steam was coming from my ears.)
  14. When we were given the slip agreement to sign, I needed my legal counsel.
  15. Turns out it appears it’s not truly a marina.
  16. It seems to be a dockominium and some portion of your transient fees apparently go to the owner of the slip.
  17. Which may explain why we were shoehorned into an unsuitable slip when there were hundreds of feet of (unsold?) easily accessed deep water docks available.
  18. When we asked what they proposed we do for heat on the coldest night of the year so far, they suggested we run our genset in the slip.
  19. They said, “there’s nobody here to bother.”
  20. However we later discovered the boats both sides of us were occupied.
  21. Nice grounds, completely indifferent operations.

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