Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Weekend Trip - Sneads Ferry

It’s always fun to get away to paddle and camp. This past weekends trip offered some nice distance (about 42 miles total) was also a great shakedown paddle preparing for a longer week-long trip at the Outer Banks next month, and an opportunity to paddle a section of the ICW I’d not paddled before.

From Swansboro South to Sneads Ferry, mostly through an area completely undeveloped, part of the Camp Lejuene Marine Corps Base.

Five of us left early Sat morning from Lee’s house in Swansboro, after first carbo loading with a great breakfast of banana pancakes, than paddling south to the town of Sneads Ferry.

Craig about to seal launch off Lee’s floating dock.

It was a great day, a bit overcast but keeping it from getting too hot, and the ICW offered nice protection from the 10-12 mph headwinds. It wasn’t until we paddled off the ICW to check out Brown’s Inlet that we even noticed the wind, but decided it was enough that we wouldn't change the plan by going outside, an attractive option Lee and I had hoped for. We did stop at the inlet for a nice picnic lunch.  (Picture of Barrett on right).

Much of the ICW in this area is on military lands, and they don't let you forget it (no trespassing signs, lights when flashing for firing practice, and rusted tanks and other targets about).  But the water is beautiful and clear and full of fish and shells. 

Sherman was a paddler I'd not met previous to this trip.  He paddles a Tarpon sit-on-top, and was a very strong and fast paddler among all us skinny boaters.

21 miles and 7 hours later, we passed the turn at the New River Inlet, and landed at the Marina where we’d worked out tent camping arrangements (very convenient with bathroom and shower facilities).  We even had a great seafood dinner, when the owner of  ‘The Green Turtle’ picked us all up and drove us back later that evening, very nice.

During the night we had some rain, and by morning the winds had really picked up, 20-25 mph, but South, and at our backs. Paddling back inside again on the ICW, I’d occasionally pop my sail (Pacific Action Sail), but found my sailing speeds 6mph+ were just a bit too fast to stay together, though all of us were nicely averaging 5-5.5 mph with the push.  Throughout the day we’d have the occasional yacht (snow birds still returning from Florida) pass us, adding to the wind swells for short surf.

Just for fun, we finished with a short paddle on one of the canoe trails in the salt marshes near Dudley Island, and stopped quickly at Barrier Island Kayaks when passing by, but found no one around. I’m planning to try the new NDK foam seats, thinking it’ll help with my numb toes.  I'll just have to give Lamar a call.

We finished back at Lee's early afternoon, packed up, and hit the Dairy Queen.  Thanks Lee (below), your a great trip organizer.

Oh, I even saw a house on the ICW that I can probably afford in my retirement :)


1 comment:

Patti L. said...
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