Thursday, June 6, 2013

Bald Head Island

No, I'm not going to make any cracks about hair challenged men. I'm instead going to talk about one of the biggest surprises of our cruises at any time - Bald Head Island in North Carolina. Holy cats, this place is beautiful! If you don't know where it is Google it right now! And if you are a boater and have not come in here for a few days instead of stopping at one of the marinas in neighboring Southport you are making a mistake. It is a resort island with all of the good stuff you expect wrapped in a quaint and picturesque setting. Laura and Ross of The Zone gave this place two enthusiastic thumbs up so I knew we had to stop here. They have very discriminating tastes. That is why they have us as friends. 'Nuff said.

BTW, apparently the name of the island comes from how inlet pilots would stand on the point at the the bay's opening to boat out to approaching ships. There was so much foot traffic on the point that it eroded all of the vegetation away, thus making it barren, thus bald.

Today is Tuesday, June 4, 2013 and it is a special day. It is Lisa's birthday and I wanted to make this special somehow for her. She is the most giving and caring person I have ever known and she deserves it. Now, if you remember when we got married back in Sarasota I was left in charge of the wedding arrangements and I exhibited my typical high class, forward thinking intellectual and romantic prowess by having our wedding cake decorated with a hula girl and a hockey player. Smooth, wasn't it? I wanted this to have the same kind of penache. For her birthday present I gave her what any wonderful woman would want, a genuine Doctor Who Sonic Screwdriver. And men, if you don't buy one of these jewels for your loved one you are missing out on a romantic bonanza. Wait! What? You don't know what a Doctor Who Sonic Screwdriver is? Sad. Very sad.
This is a Doctor Who Sonic Screwdriver, the most remarkable device in the universe.

The real goal for her birthday was to get here, Bald Head Island. I was hoping that it was as nice as it is because I wanted to make this an intentional multi-day stop. And this place has all the right stuff. Lisa likes to bicycle. Check! Interesting places to see. Check! Quiet natural surroundings. Check! A place that oozes loveliness. Check! It is an actual vacation destination rather than just a marina on the way to an anchorage on the way to another marina. Game. Set. Match.
The birthday girl looking good at dinner

Bald Head Island Marina

Our first full day here, Wednesday, was spent on our bicycles exploring the island. There are no cars here except for service vehicles that come to the island on a ferry barge. Most people get around on electric carts of all shapes and sizes. There are the typical golf cart style runabouts that hold four people on up to eight passenger stretch versions. These longer ones have a wheelbase longer than our cars. While we peddle they voosh by with only the sounds of the tires on the pavement to let you know they are coming up behind you. There is a beautiful salt marsh that covers a great deal of the island. The dense foilage is a strange mix of tropical palms and hardwood trees. The beaches are wide. The homes are almost all wood with only a few masonry buildings. They are all modern construction.

We first rode to the nearby Old Baldy lighthouse that stands tall near the marina. It is no longer functional and is open to visitors for $5.00. For that you can climb the two-hundred some odd steps to an observation area. No thanks. From there we went down the main drag of the island called Federal Road that cuts straight across the island first past homes, then through a state maritime forest. There is a small "village" about half way down the road where there is a hardware store, a grocery and a few other shops. At the end of Federal Road there is a stop where the Bald Head Island Conservency is. More about that in a minute. We then took another road that took us a short distance right to the beach. It was a very breezy day and there wasn't much going on there. The waters were very rough looking but there were a few hearty souls out in it including one guy on one of those kite-boards. He was certainly getting his moneys worth. Looking at both directions there were many homes with what would be beautiful views of the ocean. Instead of going back to the marina the same way we came we took the outlying road that skirted along the coast, first going west then turning the corner at the point of the island back north to the marina. Again there were many homes but there was also what looked like a condominium complex and a country club with a pool and a golf course. Eventually we made our way back to the boat and a nap.

While we were back at the Bald Head Island Conservency we signed up for a guided tour of the environs of the island for Thursday morning at 9:00 am. We looked forward to that a lot because we anticipated that we would get to some of the more remote areas of island. This is a beautiful place and we wanted to see more of it.

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