Cruising

Personal Bests Page 2

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My next best is going to cause some disagreement, not only because everyone will have his or her own favorite, but also because there are so many close seconds in this category: the most accommodating transient marina. My personal favorite over the years has been Seapath Yacht Club, in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, for several reasons.

First of all, the staff is superb—friendly, welcoming, helpful, and professional—and a special nod goes to Nicole here on all counts. You’ll even find yourself welcomed in the dockside gams with local fishermen and boaters. Plus, there is no other location on the ICW I know of where a marina makes a courtesy car available to transients who are only fueling up and not paying to stay over at their docks.

The venerable but monstrous purple Pontiac is, sadly, history, but there’s now a clean and well-kept Honda to get you to groceries, nearby marine stores, a propane dealer, a bank or hardware store. And since even locations like the Beaufort Maritime Museum have ceased providing loaners for transients, this effort by Seapath is much more appreciated by those of us who’ve benefited. Thanks gang, we’ll see you next trip south.

Now most of us would have no trouble naming our own ICW’s “least friendly to transients” city, and I suspect most of us would agree on which one it is, but I’m trying to stay upbeat. My next choice is bound to be contentious; I’d almost rather discuss which anchor is best since we’re more likely to agree on that topic.

I give you, with fear and trembling, my choice for the ICW’s friendliest city: Georgetown, South Carolina.

The first time I arrived in Georgetown, I asked a police officer where I could find the post office. He explained that it was several miles away from the waterfront and then, learning that I was on a boat, he drove me there to pick up my package. It’s one of the few times I’ve found myself in the front seat of a police cruiser—but I digress.

On another trip, coming through on Christmas day, my crew and I were wandering the waterfront hoping to find an open restaurant. I asked a local fisherman off the boats if he knew of one, and before you could say “Kris Kringle” he had a fresh and tasty triggerfish from his catch in my hands, along with flour and corn meal to cook it with, and all for just a heartfelt thank you.

The following day we stopped by the new boutique grocery store, Morsels, where we met the owners. They were pleased to serve us, even though they weren’t actually open for business, and indicated that they were hopeful of becoming a supply stop for transients, since there was no nearby grocery store. Given their broad range of wines, cheeses, and other items, plus a good choice of staples and veggies and a soon-to-be-available wireless Internet, I have no doubt that they will make many friends among the cruising population.

And then, on my last trip through Georgetown, I had to retrieve a halyard at the top of the mast. With my intense dislike of heights, I was bemoaning the evil necessity at a local pub. No sooner had I spoken the words than the waitress offered to go up for me. Since the only other person offering was a fellow sailor who outweighed her by a good 80 pounds, I felt it was worth the price of a few cold brews to take this fine offer. So, for answering the call above and beyond, I stand by my nomination.

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