If you want a different perspective of Wilmington, this is a great little trip. You will not interfere with boat traffic if you stick close to the river's edges. Within a very short distance you will see the things that are so typical of the area: the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge, the "USS North Carolina", the historic riverfront area, and several nice old mansions perched on high bluffs. You may also see the "Henrietta III" or Coast Guard cutter "Diligence" docked on Water Street.
DIRECTIONS: There is an excellent boat ramp at the foot of Castle Street in downtown Wilmington with plenty of parking. Here you are incidentally almost under the Memorial Bridge, which looks quite awesome from this perspective. Paddle north, sticking to the east bank, and turn around when you get to the Coast Line Convention Center (the building with the large painting of marine life on the wall), which marks the end of the "scenic" part of town. You can cross over and paddle back to the ramp via the west bank, which will give you an impressive close-up of the Battleship, and a bit of greenery along the banks of Eagle Island.
|Difficulty||Moderate this comes not from other boats, which you will see coming a mile away if you pay attention, but rather the strong current. You will do some muscling for half the trip, but then again the other half will be a breeze|
|Hazards||Other boats, strong current|
|Time||1-1.5 hours round trip|
|Serenity||Completely civilized, except for parts of the west bank on Eagle Island. This is definitely not a nature trip.|
|Map||Castle Street Ramp|