I got up at around 6:45 AM as I knew that Bill S. would be leaving for his dental office at 7:45. He was already up with a cup of coffee. I updated my maps so that the current section would appear in my map case, and put away the old one. I made up the bed, and made sure that all of the things that I had brought into the house were near the front door. Cereal was on the table for me, and after breakfast, I took some of my things out to the kayak, which had from all that I could see, also spent a good night. I was happy to see that the tidal current was negligible, making my exit easier. Bill took a few pictures, and then he had to leave for work. I went back to the house, got my dried shirt and shorts, finalized the charts and gave Gail and big hug for all that she and her husband had done for me. She insisted that it was the two of them who really received the blessings. (As I write this journal entry, big thunderstorms are raging outside).
My new technique for getting into the kayak from a dock worked like a charm, and I was off shortly after 9 AM to go under the Wrightsville bridge and continue almost due south. I was very pleased that the current was with me, and the south wind was very mild. We initially made some good time towards the objective of getting to Joyner Marina opposite the Snows Cut that leads to the river, but halfway there, the tides changed direction, and more importantly, the wind preceding the cold front really picked up, and of course, came out of the SSW, almost directly in my face. I kept looking towards my right, hoping that the storms would hold off until I reached the marina. In my mind, I confirmed my plan for tomorrow’s crossing, taking a room in advance of the storm and proceeding on to Carolina Beach, where there are motels and restaurants. The sky indicated that I would have sufficient time to reach those destinations, but the wind kept picking up, to the point that I was making little forward progress. The last 2 miles to the marina were very tough, and I decided to see if I could leave Katie there at the marina, and get transportation to a hotel. That is exactly how it worked out. The marina let me leave Katie tied up and the gear secured without charge. It felt strange to leave her there alone, especially with the storms approaching. Later at my room, I reread the section in the Waterway Guide regarding the river, where to cross and how to make the turn around Southport, at the western end of the river where the ICW resumes its course towards Myrtle Beach.
I continue to get inspiring messages from family, friends and others reading the journal entries. These have been a wonderful support to me, and have helped offset those times of loneliness, and discouragement that inevitably accompany a venture of this type. As my progress has added up, my thoughts of abandoning this journey have receded, and now that I am almost halfway home, I am more than ever committed, health permitting, to finish what I have started with much fanfare.
The total miles completed today, mostly in the morning, were not impressive, just 12, but most of them were hard fought, and gave us a total of 34 for the beginning of the week, and I was very pleased with that result. But due to the tough slog for much of the time today, offset by the smart decision to get a room in time for the adverse weather, I rated the day a 3.
PS PICTURE TAKEN ON REST STOP TO WRIGHTSVILLE