Yacht Adventures: Bald Head Island

Sitting up top at the helm of what might be called a yacht, I asked Tyler if people thought we owned this boat. His scoff came a little quickly for my tastes.

“Definitely not.” he replied. I’m not sure what he was saying about us…


This is a 41 foot Carolina Breeze. 

This Saturday I served as first mate (if first mates do absolutely nothing helpful) to Tyler who captained a charter from Wrightsville Beach to Bald Head Island. BHI is typically accessed by ferry as there’s no bridge and cars are not allowed on the island. Everyone travels by golf cart or bike. The island is just shy of six square miles so it’s easily managed. Although there are only 250 full time residents it is a busy place when the weather warms up. Even though it is only March the porch of Mojo’s was packed and we passed people everywhere we went.


This was my second trip to Bald Head. The first time we rented a golf cart and just rode around exploring. We stopped at a couple stores and spent some time relaxing on the beach. It was mainly just to see what the fuss was all about. This time we really dove in. We only had about 4 hours while we waited on Tyler’s customers to play a round of golf but we were able to do a lot. First stop lunch! Mojo’s didn’t disappoint. They have a beautiful porch overlooking the marina where we feasted on mahi mahi fish tacos and a philly cheesesteak. The tacos had a citrus slaw and a jalapeno aioli on top of juicy, flavorful fish. Delish!

To work off our meal we brought a tandem kayak and explored the creeks. It was low tide so several times we found ourselves stuck and had to push off back into deeper waters. Tip for next time: check the tides. It was still beautiful surroundings checking out the trees, birds and houses bordering the creeks. Being limited on time we barely even scratched the surface of the areas we could have explored. The desire to kayak BHI was not satisfied in the least.


Bald Head is at the mouth of the Cape Fear which makes for beautiful views but also awesome beach combing. Tyler thinks I’m weirdly obsessed with collecting driftwood but I think it’s a very reasonable hobby. Driftwood is beautiful and if Pinterest tells us anything, reclaimed wood projects are necessary to be a complete person. We walked the beach for quite a while and found many treasures but I only took home two small pieces of wood. What will power! It helped that I was full from what must be the world’s biggest ice cream scoop. Sandpiper Cafe serves ice cream scoops so large you should consider sharing. I don’t say that lightly. Tyler and I both delighted in Old Baldy ice cream which was vanilla with cookie dough AND brownie chunks. Then I felt a little sick but it was worth it.


Bald Head Island is far too expensive to stay overnight but it’s worth the ferry ride to lay on the beaches, kayak the creeks, eat enormous ice creams, and still on my list to do- hang out with sea turtles! Now if only I could keep going back by yacht…


This gives you a glimpse at how shallow the Intracoastal Waterway can be at low tide. These people walked out to the edge of the channel!


Another example of the precarious Intracoastal Wateray (ICW)- a capsized shrimp boat!


The evening view when you’re living large on the yacht.

Living in Vacation Land

This weekend I attempted stand up paddle boarding for the first time solo. Tyler set me up on a board from the marina he works at and sent me on my way with the guess that there was an 80% chance I would end up accidentally in the water. Rude.

Early in the morning is the best time to paddle around Wrightsville Beach. There are still too many boats but once I got off the Inter-coastal Waterway there was a stretch where I was all on my own. At first I was preoccupied with how I didn’t seem to be moving anywhere and how my legs kept shaking from trying to keep my balance. Finally I noticed how quiet it was. I couldn’t hear anyone talking or boats passing. It was just the sounds of water, birds and my oar ineffectively gliding through the water.

Okay, so I'm not that bad ass... but I do remain standing!

Okay, so I’m not that bad ass… but I do remain standing!

As I looked out over the houses and boaters I could see in the distance, I realized when you cross the drawbridge you enter the heart of vacation land. It’s a world where people are constantly saying things like “Who cares, we’re on vacation!” when referring to activities like drinking alcohol with breakfast and eating multiple doughnuts.


I don’t understand how anyone actually lives in Wrightsville Beach (unless they’re independently wealthy). How could you get up in the morning, iron your work clothes and head to real life with everyone vacationing around you? Each time I spend quality time at the beach sitting on the sand, cruising the waters on a boat or paddling around the sense of total abandon is strong. Nothing else matters. But when you cross the drawbridge you feel yourself cross the barrier. You’re back in real life now. Traveling home from your vacation may only take 15 minutes but you lose all that freedom and remember only the chores that await you at home.

Oh vacation land, how did we live without you before?