Tuesday, March 8, 2016

7th Annual Wrightsville Beach Biathlon

Seagate boating was a proud sponsor of the 7th annual Wrightsville Beach Biathlon this weekend!

Put on by the Blockade Runner Hotel, this amazing test of endurance requires participants to first complete a 4 mile SUP paddle followed by a 4 mile beach run. To ensure the safety of all participants, multiple vessels monitored the racer's progress with Sea Gate Boating following the leaders. At precisely 10:30Am at the sound of the bull horn the racers were off!
Even with the ideal conditions of 60 degrees and little wind, anyone who has ever used a stand up paddleboard before knows that 4 miles is a tall order. As a novice myself, I was amazed at the athleticism of the participants. The race began on the sound side at the Blockade Runner. The route began by taking racers through Motts Channel all the way to the Intracoastal Waterway. From there, participants headed south to Shinn Creek, up towards Masonboro Inlet and back down Banks Channel to the Blockade Runner. The leaders were able to complete the paddle in 40 minutes!
For the running portion, racers crossed over to the ocean side and first headed south, rounded Crystal Pier, ran north to Johnny Mercers Pier, and finally to the finish line back at the Blockade Runner! Click on the image below for a more detailed route.
For an early March day we couldn't have asked for better weather. It was a great way to kick off the spring season and a pleasure to partner with the hard working crew of the Blockade Runner who made this great event possible. Most of all, congratulations to all the participants! It was truly impressive to watch. You motivated at least one novice to get out there and improve their skills :)

Monday, February 1, 2016

Taking Advantage of a 70 Degree January Day!

After a cold start to the month, we really had a fantastic finish with temperatures in the low seventies on the last day of January. My wife and I decided to take advantage and go for a paddle on Reliant Marine's SUP's (stand up paddleboards).
Remember Boat Club Members, for only $10 you can rent these as well as our kayaks for a full day! We decided to do some exploring and discovered an amazing loop that meanders through the creeks and marshes along the northern part of the island. Click on the map below for more detail, our route is marked in red.
After going through Lee's Cut and passing by the Salisbury location, we went straight across into the creek on the far side. It is easy to spot as it's the widest one. We discovered some surprising aspects once we entered. Although the mouth was shallow, the majority of the marsh was relatively deep. Testing with my paddle, it seemed most of the route was around 6 feet with deep sections being 10+! The highlight of the paddle was the incredible water clarity we encountered.
Even though the photo doesn't do it justice (it's hard to take good pictures while trying to not fall in the water!), this was taken in around 6 feet of water. Truly beautiful as well as interesting to see the bottom changing between sand, mud, oysters, and rock. 
By far my favorite paddle I've done in Wrightsville Beach and a great way to get the cabin fever out of the system. We were certainly not the only ones either, the beach and the ICW were packed and felt like a summer day. A day like this in January reminds you why this is an amazing place to live. Stop by the docks and chat with me (Tyler) if you want more information about our trip.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Thanks to all who helped and participated in our seafood feast this past Sunday. I believe we all had a great time! It was really nice to get to know each other better. It was also very satisfying watching everyone really enjoying and appreciating the seafood!

Crabs and oysters were bountiful thanks to Tyler Barrack’s leadership. He brought us right to them.

 There were more than 50 crabs in just 3 traps, and they were big!

 Two stone crabs dominated the 4th trap and one of them was absolutely huge!

Special thanks to Sue & Chris Mooney for all the work they put into the event.

Sloshing though the shallow water, on her first trip gathering oysters, Susan Foerster said, “This is just like an Easter Egg hunt!”

 Chris Mooney along with Tyler did most of the “heavy lifting.” This means they separated the large single oysters from the clusters and scrubbed them clean, so we all could enjoy.

In addition to harvesting oysters, Sue Mooney coordinated the pot luck dinner. Thanks to all who brought the tasty side dishes. 

Susan, Sue & Sandy Overbeck added a nice touch when setting up the event.

What a great time of year to enjoy what this beautiful coastal environment has to offer!

We’ll keep you posted about our next fall excursion.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Crab and Oyster Feast!

After the historic rain and flooding postponed our excursion two weeks, we caught a perfect day with highs in the mid 70's and a gentle breeze. Timing was crucial for this excursion as we needed a very low tide to be able to collect oysters efficiently.
We used the Key West 21 which has a super shallow draft allowing us to access places other boats can't reach. With our crew of five we had no problem gathering more than we needed in an hours time.
After procuring our fill of oysters we set off to haul the four crab pots which had been on a three day soak. After a disappointing but very interesting pot with only 2 crabs but 10+ Pufferfish, we hit the jackpot and hauled the best pot of the day with 11 crabs with a good percentage being #1 jimmies!
With our feast on board we heading back to the docks and had an oyster shucking lesson while the crabs were in the steamer. After smelling steaming crabs for 10 minutes everybody was ready to chow down.
To top off a great afternoon we had an unforeseen surprise. While enjoying the crabs, Stuart Mcnaull, owner of the Grady White 205 came back in from a day of fishing with a beautiful King Mackerel! He was even so generous as to share some of the delicious steaks with us. Thanks to Stuart!
No doubt one of the best excursions of the summer and a great precursor for the upcoming feast on November 7th. Thanks to all participants. Other fish caught by our boat club members this weekend included flounder, grey trout, bluefish, puffers, and the dreaded lizard fish. So the fishing is heating up while the water temperature is cooling down. So come join us for a seafood, burger & hotdog cookout two Sunday’s from now, 5 PM on November 7th, at the Docks at 2 Marina Street. Please contact us if you’re willing to help gather oysters and crabs. We’d also love to get a fishing trip going that morning, so we can add some finfish to the feast. Please let us know if interested in the crabbing & oystering, the fishing, and the feast. Please call (910) 256-0638 or email sales@reliantmarine.com to make your reservations. This is a free event to all Boat Club Members and Ship Care Program customers. BYOB to the seafood fest.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Alligator Gar In The Marina!

On my day off I decided to put out my crab and shrimp pots. For shrimp bait I use a repulsive concoction consisting of fish flavored dry/wet mixed cat food topped off with a healthy dose of canola oil. After spraying the remnants off my hands into the water I noticed tons of minnows immediately attacking the little pieces. Turns out I wasn't the only one watching them, suspended just below the surface under our floating office(Lobster Tales) was a 3 foot + Alligator Gar!
I know it is hard to see in the photos because of the glare, but all of us on the dock could see him very clearly. He sat in the same spot for at least 10 minutes before finally breaking the surface and then diving back down out of sight.
While known to frequent the brackish waters of the Cape Fear River, Alligator Gar tend to stay away from saltier water. While the one we spotted was impressive in size to us, I was amazed to learn they grow up to 10 feet in length and up to 300 pounds!
On a side note before arriving at the marina I stopped by Motts Channel Seafood and asked if they sold crab bait. They said no but they give it away for free and told me to help myself anytime to the barrels of fish carcasses located in the back. Super friendly people and a convenient resource for us crabbers here on Wrightsville Beach. Thank you to Motts Channel! Stay tuned for hopefully positive updates on the shrimp and crabs this weekend.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Ladies Powerboat Training

Tyler Barrack was the captain and trainer for our first Ladies-Only powerboat training excursion. The forecast was iffy but the crew lucked out and had perfect conditions during the three-hour outing. They started off heading south towards Carolina Beach with everyone taking shifts at the helm. There was a lot of interest to learn how to navigate the Cape Fear River. Our participants want to do day trips to downtown Wilmington, Southport, and Bald Head Island. So they headed through Snows Cut and out into the shipping channel. Captain Tyler explained the different types of channel markers and the ranges. These aids to navigation are very different than those used on the Intracoastal Waterway. Ranges in the Cape Fear River are fixed towers with flashing lights that guide ships from the mouth of the river to the port in Wilmington. They are used lining up a shorter range marker with a taller one in the background.
The crew then headed back up the ICW and towards Masonboro Island. Using the Coast Guard Station's dock and the water tower as make-shift range markers, they headed south behind the Island. The dock and water tower just happen to perfectly guide you through the deepest channel into this shallow bay. After discussing the best anchorage spots and assigning rolls, they safely beached the boat using two anchors. Captain Tyler explained how to adjust the anchors to cradle the boat in the current. This keeps it in deeper water, so you don’t constantly have to tend the boat to keep it from getting stuck as the tide ebbs. The crew read the tide tables to know how much depth you need before leaving the boat.
With time winding down, the crew cruised back towards the marina and made one final stop to talk about docking. There was lots of interest in learning how to approach, and what slips are available for, the many "dock and dine" restaurants in the area. All had a great time and there was interest in doing a similar excursion in the future. Thanks to everyone who came out. We look forward to seeing you all using your new skills!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Back To School Bottom Fishing

What a way to end the summer vacation for the kiddos! We had perfect weather and a full crew leaving the marina.
The Grady White Gulf Stream 23 was the perfect boat to take. It is wider than the standard Grady White and has lots of deck space in the stern so everybody had plenty of room. We went out to Billy Murrell Reef which is an artificial reef directly off Figure Eight Island Between Rich's and Masons Inlet.
This reef was started in 1986 with 480 tons of concrete! Since then it has been added to periodically with everything from 4 tug boats ranging from 52' - 65', a 298' barge, and 76,873 tires! We started at on end and got the lines wet. After about 10 minutes without a single bite I started to get anxious, after 20 I was worried. We decided to make a move and ran up about a 1/4 mile and anchored again. Needless to say it was like night and day compared to the original spot. As soon and lines hit bottom everybody on board started getting bites. Within a minute we were pulling up fish.
We were using cut finger mullet, squid, shrimp, and live minnows.
Everybody got in on the action and it remained hot. We caught Black Sea Bass, Pinfish, Grunts, Oyster Toads, and finally .... Flounder!
Once we discovered that the fish were so thick on the bottom that the only way to get through the smaller fish was to use larger live minnows we got dialed in.
A great spot and a great time for sure! Be sure to stop by and talk to us before going out next time for more detailed info about where to go. Loved having the kids come out on the last day before school. Our Ladies Training Excursion is coming up on September 3rd. If you haven't already, be sure to call and secure your spot as soon as possible.