Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Marina Review – Whittaker Pointe Marina Oriental (NC) 2018 New

This is another marina review on the Why Knot Great Lakes Grand Tour. Using the N D S, A A, P P marina analysis model, I'll fill you in on what my experience was. The views expressed are strictly my own.

I have a confession. I have a bias towards Whittaker Pointe Marina. It is one of our most favorite marinas of them all. It's quiet and serene, perfect to chill for awhile. It also is beautiful with a wonderful clubhouse and a great view out over the Neuse River.

N: Navigability – Almost directly across the Neuse River from Adams Creek. That's the part of the ICW that comes up from Morehead City. It's also just east of Oriental proper. It's entrance channel, which it shares with several other marinas, is shallow, but not so much that any normal vessel can't get in and out. Tons of sailboats use it. Mind the markers. When we entered this most recent time we never sounded what would have been less than 8 feet of water from surface to bottom at low tide.




D: Dockage Three t-head docks and a bunch of slips with plenty of water. The marina is laid out at non-ninety-degree angles so turnaround room in the thoroughfares will vary. But it's enough everywhere. The docks are fixed concrete with pilings and cleats – very substantial and strong. You'll feel secure. There are a few slips wide enough for cats.

S: Services – No fuel. No pump out either. They have a manual pump out cart that is free to use. But you have to do ALL the work, from wheeling it down to your dock, to operating the hand pump, to hauling it back on shore to the sewage spout, and emptying it. Pump out is available at the marina next door at their travel lift slot.

A: Amenities – In my humble opinion, this marina's clubhouse (lounge, monster-size bathrooms, laundry) is the very best out there. It is bright, clean, and very up-to-date – mega-comfy. They also have a swimming pool! We were never able to use their wifi for the docks.

A: Accessibility – Whittaker Pointe has a loaner van available. You can ride your bike also; it's 4.0 miles from the clubhouse to the waterfront in town.

P: Provisioning – There is a small Piggly Wiggly in Oriental for provisioning. There is also a West Marine Express and a hardware store too. And that's pretty much it. The marine consignment shop exists in name only. It looks like someone is trying to convert it to a sail and rigging loft. It smelled awful from dirt and mold, and there isn't any merchandise to speak of, good or bad.

P: Price – Their published transient rate on Active Captain is $1.60 per foot. If you pay for a week you get a month.

Oriental is a cute town. There's a few good restaurants (M&Ms, The Silo) and it is pretty. But if you really look at it carefully, there isn't much else to do. It exists to support the marinas and commercial fishing boats there. We think Oriental would be at its maximum-fun quotient if you were traveling with boat-buddies and brought a party with you.


Verdict – Whittaker Pointe Marina is a gem. The setting is idyllic, and the facilities are first-class. We feel very much at home there. We've always set aside time to stay there when we crossed paths with it. You should too.
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tags: marina, liveaboard boat, liveaboard boating, liveaboard sailboat, boating as a couple, living aboard a trawler, liveaboard cruiser, liveaboard boater, trawler, liveaboard, the on board life, someday's here, boating adventures, boating websites

Friday, June 15, 2018

Marina Review – Seapath Yacht Club Wrightsville Beach (NC) 2018 New

This is another marina review on the On Board Life. Using the N D S, A A, P P marina analysis model, I'll fill you in on what my experience was. The views expressed are strictly my own.

If you're a cruising boater and cruised along the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, you've had to wait for the Wrightsville Beach drawbridge. They only open at the top of the hour during the day. You pull up, make your request, then do the bridge dance with your boat until the bridge tender blares their siren and opens her up. We all know that part.

What about the town of Wrightsville Beach? What's it like? We pulled into Seapath Yacht Club (a private club with a public transient dock) for two nights so we could get into this beachside tourist trap and see what was what.
N: Navigability – On Motts Channel which you turn onto off of the ICW 1,500 feet from the bridge. You can also get to it by turning off the ICW at the Mansboro Inlet channel a little further south, then navigate around to the marina.


D: Dockage – Long, transient facing dock. Plenty of depth. The current is noticeable but not terrible at all. Quite a few day-boaters and transients pull in for fuel.

S: Services – Gasoline, diesel, and pump-out on the fuel dock. I don't know what their policies about technicians is. They are a very amiable bunch of folks there.


A: Amenities – The marina's office is right there on the docks. The bathrooms and showers are clean but odd. The toilet stall in the men's room is very short. To be frank, there's barely enough room to sit down with the door closed if the door was flat. They get around this by having a door that is curved outward, but you still have to work at finishing the job, so to speak. (I ran into this same thing at Colonial Beach Marina on the Potomac River on the way to Washington D.C., but they didn't have the curved doors. It sucked.) (I don't know about the women's stalls.) There is a laundry. Pull the drier away from the wall a couple of inches to get it to dry well.

A: Accessibility – Seapath has a loaner van available. Bikes are also a real option. (There are bike trails. Be mindful of the heavy vehicle traffic.) Uber and Lyft are available. There is a public transit system called Wave. We did not explore that.


P: Provisioning – There's a Harris Teeter 1.3 miles on the other side of the bridge, so provisioning is possible with the loaner van. There's also a West Marine in the same plaza, but they told me they're moving soon to a location not as convenient. ("We sell boat stuff, so let's move further away from where the boats are." Nice thinking.) There is a hardware store near the Harris Teeter too. Check out Redix (pr: ready), a large sundries store a block or two down the causeway from the marina. (Old timers from St. Louis may remember Grandpa Pidgeons stores; Redix reminded me of them. Remember their catch phrase? "We're open every night.")

Wrightsville Beach is part of the Wilmington statistical area, and we were surprised how bustling, busy, and hectic the entire area is. If you're on a bike be very alert in the heavy traffic. It's a 25 mile journey from Wilmington to Wrightsville Beach by water but only 9 miles by road from the docks in downtown Wilmington to the marina. They are part and parcel together as a community.

The ICW directly before the bridge on the south side
Wrightsville Beach is a popular tourist area with rental houses and condos and a small beach strip with gift stores and pizza parlors. Nice beach. And it's all piled onto the small island area. But that's cool. It was fun. It doesn't come off as being glitzy at all.


As I said in Wrightsville's review, it's a vibrant and happening city. If you dig a happening downtown, go to Wilmington and enjoy what they have to offer. It's Americana with all the stores and amenities you need or want. But, if you are into sand and surf, Wrightsville Beach is the place to be.

Seapath Yacht Club is a terrific marina with all the accouterments you need to enjoy your stay there … even if the men's toilet stalls are weird.

P: Price – Their published transient rate on Active Captain is $2.50 per foot. That included electricity.

Verdict – We really liked both Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach. We wished we had more time to explore it. The next time you are on the ICW there, dock at Seapath Yacht Club, grab their loaner car, and dig into the fun.
Please, make sure you CONNECT WITH ME!
You can get more information about our On Board Life at these links:
Website and blog - https://goo.gl/abkRx8
Facebook - Skipper Darrell https://goo.gl/5D2cqu
Twitter - @skipperdarrell https://twitter.com/SkipperDarrell
and you can subscribe to this content by clicking on the Opt In link in the right column


tags: marina, liveaboard boat, liveaboard boating, liveaboard sailboat, boating as a couple, living aboard a trawler, liveaboard cruiser, liveaboard boater, trawler, liveaboard, the on board life, someday's here, boating adventures, boating websites