On yet another unseasonably mild day in Southport, Jen and Dave decided to venture out to Ft. Fisher by way of the Fort Fisher Ferry. After a quick lunch at The Saucy Southerner, Jen and Dave made their way to the ferry terminal where there was a rather long line of people who clearly had the same idea. Luckily after realizing that neither of them had the foresight to check the ferry schedule, they learned that the ferry from Ft. Fisher to Southport had just arrived and its passengers were eagerly disembarking. While they waited, Jen captured moments of pure excitement from families who, as we would later find out, had never been on a boat before..let alone one you can drive on.
As soon as the ferry was empty, the ferrymen began directing a seemingly endless line of cars onto the boat. The precision and expertise needed to finagle so many vehicles into their correct lanes and to fit as many vehicles as possible on the ferry without anyone hitting another vehicle is impressive.
While you are welcome to ride out the journey in your vehicle, we recommend stretching your legs and checking out the view. Once onboard, passengers are required to turn off their engines and that means no sitting in air conditioning. That worked fine for Jen and Dave as they hopped out the car and started exploring. While some people decided to wait out the ride in their vehicles, Jen and Dave climbed up to the observation deck and watched the view of Southport getting smaller while curious pelicans, seagulls, and turtles followed the boat. Jen and Dave chatted with several travelers to find out where they were headed. Some were on their way to the aquarium, a few to the beach, some were heading towards Wilmington to hit up the breweries, and at least 2 couples who chose to take the ferry to avoid the drive through Wilmington.
The ride is fairly quick, clocking in at about 35 minutes and the precision of disembarkation is the same as boarding. (Dave does need to pay attention and remember where he puts his keys as people patiently wait behind him.) Once they hit land, J&D cruised over to the beach area which is about a 3 minute drive from the ferry port. Jen snapped numerous photos of Dave as he attempted to scramble over the large rocks that are used to protect against beach erosion. Dave definitely forgot that he is not 20 anymore and after a few panicked moments, they decided to walk over to the beach. The crescent shape of the beach allows for spectacular photos and Dave is never one to shy away from Jen’s camera.
While admiring some interesting shells, the tide began to roll in, soaking Jen’s shoes and eliciting a squeal of irritation. After the beach, a drive over to the Fort Fisher Aquarium was in order. Unfortunately they did not attempt to go inside as several signs stated that the aquarium is currently doing reservations only.
Jen and Dave decided to head home and, after again not checking the ferry schedule, just made it on as one of the last vehicles to board. While carefully walking around on deck, the captain made an announcement. “If you wish to feed the birds, please go to the rear of the ferry” That’s when Dave remembered the leftover chips from lunch and ran to fetch them. Upon arriving at the rear of the boat, Jen was nowhere to be found. Finally Dave spotted her cowering beneath the observation deck. This is when Jen’s ornithophobia was made known. Never being one to avoid a challenge, Dave showed her that the birds will simply dive down to your outstretched hand and take whatever food you have to offer. After answering some unexpected questions such as “Does it hurt?!?!?” Jen finally summoned the courage to hold a BBQ chip out and feed a seagull. While clutching Dave’s upper arm in a death grip, she shakily held out her other hand all the while never breaking eye contact with the gull she expected to take the chip.
Unfortunately for Jen and her fear of birds, a rather large black bird suddenly darted out of nowhere, rested on her hand for just a moment, and took the chip. Jen then disappeared into a flurry of expletives That was the last Dave saw of Jen until it was time to depart. She spent the remainder of the ride vigorously scrubbing her hands.
All in all it was a pretty good day.