Thursday, June 14, 2018

Marina Review – Bald Head Island Marina (NC) 2018 New

Welcome to 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.

Bald Head Island Marina is another marina that serves a resort, similar to Harbour Town Yacht Basin at Sea Pines Resort on Hilton Head Island. But the two resorts couldn't be more different. And so are their marinas. Unlike the hustle and bustle of Sea Pines where everyone is encouraged to have fun, fun, fun, Bald Head Island resort is all about relaxation. It is not densely populated, and everything about it encourages big time chillaxin.
N: Navigability – The entrance to the marina is just three miles outbound from Southport, NC on the Cape Fear River. (If you are northbound on the ICW at Southport you turn right to the island instead of turning left to continue on the ICW.) Stay alert for the fast-moving ferry boats that run back and forth from the island and mainland. Also, the marina's entrance channel is right at the mouth of Cape Fear River and can be turbulent.

D: Dockage Plenty of depth. There are several very large, big boat slips that you can pull straight in to. Pumpout and fuel is to the right as you pull in. There are also a number of smaller slips to the left and right. The docks for the two ferry boats are directly to the right as you pull in to the basin. There is not a current per se, but the tides do raise and lower the water level a few feet. The two, sometimes three, ferry boats which come in and out about every thirty minutes or so do stir the water up though.

S: Services – Gasoline, diesel, and pump-out at the fuel dock.

A: Amenities – This is an island resort, so there are all the accoutrements you'd expect. There's golf, swimming, tennis, (all for very steep upcharges) nature trails, and a small shopping area in the middle of the island. There's a small but nicely stocked grocery store, a hardware store, and clothing and gift stores. There are bathrooms / showers / laundry for boaters and their guests; they're a little cramped. There are two restaurants at the marina and a couple elsewhere on the island. I did not personally see any marine service work being performed other than by boat owners and crew. There is one thing you will not see on Bald Head Island: cars. There are commercial vehicles on the island that have to come and go daily on a vehicle ferry. The only other gas-powered vehicles are the island's emergency vehicles. Everyone gets around the island on bicycles or electric golf carts. The nature conservancy is very nice, with tours to follow sea turtles and to explore the wonderful natural beauty of the island. But then, the whole idea of being on Bald Head Island in the first place is to relax, relax, relax. All that may seem like too much work.

A: Accessibility – Bikes, golf carts, or walking. Those are your only choices.

P: Provisioning – The small grocery store in the little central shopping district is surprisingly well stocked. And according to my admiral, the prices are a only a little higher than what you'd find on the mainland. We'd suggest that you stock up ahead of time, but you can certainly fill your needs as they arise.

P: Price – Their published transient rate on Active Captain is $1.50 per foot. Lots of discounts available. Not bad. Access fees to the pool and golf courses are steep!

Verdict – It's a lovely resort, and the marina makes it a pleasant stay. Everyone needs to splurge and enjoy it at least once.
Random Thoughts
Announce a securite' when you are about to enter or exit through the marina channel. It's narrow. The names of the ferries are Patriot and San Souci. The best time to pull out of the marina when you are leaving is just after a ferry has departed from there. With their alternating schedule you'll be guaranteed that you will not run into one of them on your way out.
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