Myrtle Beach, SC to Southport, NC

The Coquina Yacht Club is really one of our recommended stops if a marina is in your plans. The staff are great people, former cruisers, the facilities are well protected, the WiFi works, the showers, restrooms and lounge are spotless, and you can always find someone willing to give you a ride to the grocery or where ever you need to go. One night is really not enough to enjoy it but that was all we were able to stay. The weather was still a bit less than we would have liked to see, and as we got under way the next morning it was indeed raining. But we needed to go anyway and we were once again only doing about 30 or more miles to our next stop. Now we really don't usually do these short days but circumstances were slowing us down. Susan received a call from an organization in Baltimore that wanted her to come in for an interview THIS WEEK and Of course we had almost no notice. We would have stayed in Coquina but the rental car companies near by were less than easy to deal with, would not pick us up and want ridiculous charges for mileage and her trip would be close to 1,000 miles round trip. If we headed to Southport we could get a rental from the same companies to pick her up, give her a car and no mileage charges, only daily rates. So off we went, rain and all.

The rain did not last and it was cloudy for a few hours, and then the sun came out. And when it did the temperature went up with quickly. It felt like the middle of July instead of the first days if fall. We called ahead to a couple of the marinas and the St. James Marina had the best rates so we made reservation. We arrived at the Sunset Beach pontoon bridge 25 minutes before the scheduled opening so we had a wait. The bridge only opens on the hour and we try to time our arrival for about 5 minutes before it opens but we had a strong current pushing us along even at idle speed. So we sat and played in the current until the bridge opened and we proceeded north. The Lockwood Folleys Inlet and Shallotte Inlet both were well marked and since we were transiting just after high tide for a change there was plenty of water depths. The currents at the inlets are strong and can very easily pull you out of the channel. As we crossed Lockwood Folleys a Coast Guard tug and barge was replacing a daymark on the north side of the inlet, in the ICW so we gave them a wide berth but still had plenty of water.

We arrived at the St. James Marina and a staff member met us at the dock and helped tie us off in the slip. This is the only marina here that is in a basin off the waterway and protected from wakes. Once we were all tied up in the slip we received a bit of a surprise. The only power connections on the dock are single 125/250 volt 50 amp service and we have two 30 amp power cords. There were no 30 amp plugs and our 50 amp splitter was 50 amp, 125 volt and not compatible with their outlets. We were told, sorry but I guess we can't help you, so we untied and headed out. If you plan to stop at the St. James Marina in Southport, be sure you have a splitter or adapter that will allow you to plug into their outlets or you are out of luck.

We called the next marina which was close by, South Harbor Village Marina, and they assured us they had space and the necessary outlets for us to plug into shore power. It was only a few miles further so we arrived shortly. The transient dock is a long face dock that parallels the ICW and the boat wakes can be quite annoying. Since we would be here a few days they put us on the inside of the dock but that only reduces the wakes a little. We have stayed here before and like the marina except for this one issue. There are a couple of restaurants, a small boat store and nice showers, restrooms and laundry. This is close to our rental car company so we had no problems getting them to pick us up. Susan will make the trip north on her own and I will be staying with the boat. Had we been in a more protected place I would probably have made the trip with her.

While we are here I will get a few projects done. Marina stops for us are usually work stops. We have friends here that we met cruising in the Florida Keys and they invited us over for dinner as soon as we arrived. It was great to catch up since we had not seen each other for a few years. But that is how cruising friends are and it was like we had seen each other just last week, only with lots of stories to tell. For the next few days, I will be doing some cleaning in the engine compartment, checking systems thoroughly, changing the oil in the Ford Lehman injection pump, a few small chores and shaking my head at the idiots going past the marina and throwing up a wake. We always say, you only need enough money to buy a boat, and not the skills or common sense to operate it. We also always say, common sense is not very common any more.


  1. Hi,

    I've been following your blog for some time, as my wife and I plan to switch to a cruising lifestyle once the last of the kids are out of the house in a few years. I see you're headed up to our neck of the woods (Chesapeake, VA). If you stop in Great Bridge (or Deep Creek) we'd welcome the chance to meet you and pick your brains for a bit :-). Maybe in exchange for some great Mexican food.

    Travel safe -- Tom (

  2. Tom, Great Bridge is usually one of our stops but since we have never done the Dismal Swamp route and Elizabeth City, our plan is to go that way. Of course plans are always subject to change, but I don't know how far that would be from where you are, Chuck

  3. Chuck,

    We're a bike ride from the Dismal Swamp canal and a 10-minute drive from Great Bridge, so either is good for us. We're in Deep Creek. We'll check the blog and see how you're progressing :-).


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