Southport, NC to Bald Head Island

Has anyone paddled across this stretch? Would you consider it a difficult venture? Thanks!

crosing the mouth of the cape fear
i’ve done it in a kayak. if the tide is flowing out then the crossing is a piece of cake except for the ocean going ships coming in to port of wilmington. if the tide is coming in then it’s a different story altogether as the river going out and the ocean coming in make for some rough water with waves that seem to rear up and down in place (clapotis). not to mention that the ships are still coming in to wilmington. not saying you can’t do it but be sure you’ve got the skill. an easier paddle in the area is to put in at federal point at fort fisher and paddle inside the marshes to bald head. just as scenic and without the possibility of being run over by a freighter. either way it is beautiful country.

Excellent information!
Thanks for the very detailed info. Might try the Ft. Fisher deal unless I have detailed high/low tide charts for that day. Where’s a good place to “dock” while hanging around the island?

“dock” at Carolina Beach State Park
just a bit north of Ft. Fisher.

place to dock
on baldhead you can just pull up on the sand if coming from the marsh side. kayak, no problem. if motorized keep an eye on the tide to avoid being stranded.

I’ve never paddled…
the route you’re talking about, but yesterday I paddled Zeke’s Basin and surrounding marshes. The area is a beautiful place to paddle, and great way to get to a less crowded beach.

I was wondering about continuing to Bald Head Island, I’ll have to try it this summer.

A tad too far north !
jack L

What about the other island?
What is the island between southport and caswell beach? We were thinking instead to start off in southport and paddle over to the east end of the beach, possibly stopping off at this “island” in between. Stupid question…is the beach on that side private? I know there’s some sort of baptist community deal on the east end. Just wanted to know if we’d be trespassing if we beached over there.

fort caswell
is private property and they’re pretty serious about trespassing. i’d avoid it. the islands in between southport and baldhead are often closed to landings to protect the seabird/shorebird rookeries on them.

NC Paddle Trails
Here is a link to some paddle trails around Bald Head and Southport and other areas. Hope this might be some help.

Thanks for the heads up. Where do you…
put in around the Southport area? We may just paddle the bay behind oak island for a bit then and work our way up to making the Bald Head Island trek. Also, I heard that the ferry from southport might be going up to $26 a person round trip. For my fiancee and I, definitely worth it to paddle over there instead so long as we watch the tide tables closely.

Bald Head Island is great
You can get effects of ocean swells, wind waves, and tidal currents. A while back on a group paddle, the least experienced of the group capsized crossing the channel closer to Southport on a fairly nice day. Not saying that would be you. Not saying it wouldn’t. You’re more subject to swells closer to Bald Head Island. Know the tidal flows, the wind conditions, the swell and wave height and directions, those sorts of things. It’s a nice paddle with plenty of potential for some fun. Could be as easy as a novice paddle, could be as difficult as an advanced paddling situation. It’s always hard to say what people should or shouldn’t do, but I would probably rate it as having the potential of becoming very difficult and requiring solid skills.

All the little islands in the river are great, but to me none of it compares to getting right out on Bald Head Island and around to the cape. You can pull your kayak up onto the beach at most places around the island. It’s nice out there, and a beautiful playground if you’ve got the skills.

north carolina wildlife resources
commission website can direct you to a free map/listing of all ncwrc maintained public launch areas. a nc delorme atlas (available walmart, cabella’s, delorme) is a great resource to hunt for streams, put-ins, etc. Paddling Eastern North Carolina by paul ferguson is a great guidebook to the eastern half of the state as is Sea Kayaking the Carolinas by james bannon and morrison giffen. lots of great places to paddle in north carolina. take advantage of the opportunity.

I’ve paddled solo from southport to bald head then over to Caswell and back while the tide was flowing in and it was hell. I had to hold onto a bouy to regain some strength or I would have been taken by the current. I didnt have any problem with boats though.