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attempted except under the most favorable conditions. There is a strong ebb current from the inlet sometimes as long as three hours after low tide, which causes a heavy break on the bar when there is any sea outside. In 1921 there was 5 feet at low tide on the bar, which was broad and showed no well-defined channel, and is subject to rapid change. The entrance is narrow, with spits on both sides, and only shows when open. On the western side of the opening there is a wooded hammock and on the eastern side bare sand dunes and a shanty. There is a group of shanties 1 mile westward of the inlet.
Tides.—The mean rise and fall at these inlets is about 3.5 feet; but freshets, particularly in New River, may raise the level a foot or more inside. On the bars at the entrances of the inlets between Cape Lookout and Cape Fear high and low waters are about one hour earlier than at Charleston.
New River is navigable for boats of 5 feet draft for a distance of 7 miles above Jacksonville, the latter being a town on the New BernWilmington branch of the Atlantic Coast Line 20 miles above the mouth of New River Inlet. The river has a width of 1 to 2 miles from the head of the marshes above the inlet to 1 mile below Jacksonville, above which it is a narrow stream. From the inlet the channel to New River has a depth of 112 to 6 feet and leads northward and northwestward to the northern end of Chadwicks Bay, where it follows the southwest side of a dike. It then follows the western shore at a distance of 200 yards, passes that distance eastward of Hatch Rock, and then turns eastward to the middle of the river.
From New River Inlet to Wrightsville Inlet there is a continuous passage said to be navigable for a draft of 11/2 feet at high tide. It is used to some extent by fishermen in small power boats, but is said to be difficult to follow and should never be attempted by strangers. From New River to Alligator Bay, at the east end of Stump_Sound, the channel passes close to Swan Point into Chadwicks Bay, which is generally about 3 feet deep, and the channel is staked. From the south side of the bay the route is through a narrow tortuous stream to Alligator Bay. There are several places where the water is sometimes only about 1 foot deep at high tide, and this portion is the shoalest part of the route between New River and Wrightsville. In this locality the wind has more effect in raising the water than the tide. Along-continued easterly or southerly wind will raise the water over the marshes. There is little tide in Stump Sound.
New Topsail Inlet is 18 miles westward of New River Inlet and 53 miles westward of Beaufort Harbor. The channel is unmarked, and is obstructed by a shifting bar, which had shoaled to a depth of about 31/2 feet in 1916. A small house stands on the eastern spit, about 18 mile from its end. This inlet is used by local boats, but should not be entered by a stranger.
Old Topsail Inlet, 2 miles westward of New Topsail Inlet, had a depth of about 31/2 feet across a broad bar in 1921, in an unmarked channel, easily entered with a smooth sea. The shores on each side are low sand beaches and there are no distinguishing marks.
Rich and Queens Inlets are 5 miles and 81/2 miles, respectively, westward of New Topsail Inlet, and have channel depths over their
bars of 2 to 4 feet at low tide. They are used to some extent as anchorages by small local craft but are not recommended to strangers.
Wrightsville Inlet is 1142 miles southwestward of New Topsail Inlet and 2334 miles north-northeastward of Cape Fear lighthouse. Lying 21/2 miles southwestward is Masonboro Inlet, and on the beach between the two inlets is the summer resort of Wrightsville Beach, the large hotels and buildings of which are visible from far offshore. Wrightsville Inlet is used to a considerable extent as an anchorage for small yachts. The opening is a little over 18 mile wide between spits and is about 12 mile northeastward of the most northern hotel on the beach. A bar extends less than 12 mile seaward from the opening, and in June, 1916, the minimum channel depth on it was 6 feet at low water. At that time the best water in entering followed the shore at a distance of about 350 yards from abreast the northerly hotel, northward to the inlet; passed close to the beach on the south side in entering; then close to the beach on the north to avoid a shoal extending northeastward from the inner point of the beach on the south side.
Vessels can find anchorage in the lee of either spit or can go southward as far as the bridge, carrying from 5 to 7 feet. Landing can be made at a wharf on the railroad bridge near its eastern end. An electric railway connects Wrightsville Beach with Wilmington. The average rise and fall is about 4 feet.
Corncake Inlet, 4 miles northward of Cape Fear lighthouse, and the southerly of two openings in this vicinity 242 miles apart, is connected with Cape Fear River by a shallow passage north of Smith Island, known locally as Cedar Creek or the Thoroughfare; it is much used by small craft to avoid rough weather on Frying Pan Shoals and is a short cut from northward into Cape Fear River. There is about 5 feet at low water on the bar, 6 feet inside, and 112 feet in the shallowest part of the channel through to Cape Fear River, and a draft of 5 feet can be taken through at high water. The bar is short and close to the entrance and the channel over it is narrow and well defined by shoals on each side, the shoal on the northern side being nearly bare at low tide; the entrance is 18 mile wide between low sand spits. Boats often enter the inlet as soon as the height of tide permits and anchor just inside, close to the southern spit, until able
go through into the river.
From the inlet the channel follows the western shore of the southern spit and some marshy islands at a distance of 50 to 100 yards for about 1,2 mile, and then crosses Buzzard Bay on a west-southwesterly course, with the tank at Fort Caswell well on the starboard bow. The crossing is the shallowest place, beyond which there should be little difficulty getting into the river. The channel trends southwestward and southward at a distance of 50 to 100 yards off the marshy islets on the western side, until down to the last one,
which at high tide shows only as a few tufts of grass. Rounding this islet the channel trends about 324° true (NW. by N. mag.) until abreast a concrete pile on the starboard hand; then about 245o true (WSW. mag.), following the northern shore of Smith Island to a position close to a narrow point of marsh on the starboard hand; from here steer west-northwestward, heading about midway between Fort Cas
well and Southport, for 14 mile, then west-southwestward, with Fort Caswell well on the starboard bow, for 1 mile to the main channel of Cape Fear River. The mean rise and fall of tides is about 4 feet.
Cape Fear is the low, sharp point of sand beach forming the southern extremity of Smith Island. This island, lying on the eastern side of the entrance to Cape Fear River, is mostly low and marshy, but has a thick growth of trees on its western side. Near the southern end of the island is Cape Fear lighthouse, which will usually be the first object seen in approaching the cape.
Cape Fear lighthouse is a white, iron, skeleton tower, upper part black. The light is flashing white (light 2.5 seconds, eclipse 7.5 seconds), 159 feet above the water, and visible 19 miles.
Bald Head lighthouse is on the westerly_side of Smith Island, easterly side of the entrance to Cape Fear River. The structure is a white, octagonal, pyramidal tower. The light is occulting white every 2 seconds, with a dark sector between 220° and 3089, 99 feet above the water, and visible 16 miles.
Cape Fear Swash is a narrow channel across Frying Pan Shoals, 1 mile southward of Cape Fear lighthouse, and about 34 mile southward of the point of the Cape as determined in 1914. It has a least depth of about 9 feet, according to the latest report; is marked by buoys, and is used by local vessels. The channel in 1922 had a ESE. and WNW.direction; strangers using it should be guided by the buoys and should use it with caution, on account of the shifting nature of the shoals in this vicinity. Pilots for the Swash or Corncake Inlet can be obtained at Southport.
Frying Pan Shoals, with general depths of 7 to 14 feet, extend in an unbroken line 10 miles south-southeastward from Cape Fear; for a distance of 51/2 miles farther in the same direction the shoals are broken, the depth over them ranging from 10 to 24 feet. Frying Pan Shoals light vessel is moored off the end of this part of the shoals and a red whistling buoy is moored off the western side of the shoals, nearly 812 miles northwestward of the light vessel. Broken ground with depths of 6 to 7 fathoms extends 7 miles eastward and 12 miles east-southeastward from the light vessel; the least depth is 334 fathoms, and lies 9 miles 99o true (E. by S. mag.) of the light vessel. The outer end of the shoals is marked by a gas whistling and submarine bell buoy (flashing white light), which lies 12 miles 118° true (SE. by E. 14 E. mag.) of Frying Pan Shoals light vessel. Large, deep-draft vessels generally pass southward of the gas and bell buoy.
Frying Pan Shoals light vessel is moored in a depth of 10 fathoms, 1842 miles 156o true (S. by E. 7: E. mag.) of Cape Fear lighthouse, The vessel has a yellow hull, with " Frying Pan on each side, and two masts with the lantern on the foremast. The light is a group flashing white light every 30 seconds, flashes “ 22,” 63 feet above the water, and visible 14 miles. The fog signal is a steam chime whistle, blast 5 seconds, silent interval 55 seconds. If the whistle is disabled, a bell will sound 5 strokes in 5 seconds, silent intervals 55 seconds. The submarine bell strikes 1 stroke every 3 seconds. The light vessel is a radio station and receives and transmits messages. Call letters NLC.
CAPE FEAR RIVER.
Cape Fear River has a total length of about 371 miles, and empties into the sea immediately westward of Cape Fear. It is the approach to the city of Wilmington, which is 27_miles above its mouth. Frying Pan Shoals light vessel, Cape Fear lighthouse, and Bald Head lighthouse are the principal guides for the approach, and are described with the coast from Cape Lookout to Cape Fear.
The entrance of the river is obstructed by a bar which extends about 2 miles offshore. The channel is under improvement to maintain a depth of 26 feet from sea to Wilmingon with a width of 400 feet across the bar, 300 feet in the river, and increased width at the bends. The channel is well marked by range lights and buoys, and with the aid of the chart it should not be difficult for a stranger of 16 feet draft to navigate it on a rising tide; sailing vessels usually employ a towboat for crossing the bar and in the river.
Southport is a town on the west side of the river about 242 miles above Bald Head lighthouse. It has communication by steamboat and railroad with Wilmington. Supplies in limited quantities, fresh water, and gasoline can be obtained.
The city of Wilmington is on the east bank of the river, 27 miles above its mouth; it is the chief port of the State of North Carolina and has considerable trade in cotton, lumber, and fertilizers. The city has railroad communication and daily steamboat communication with the river landings southward to Southport.
Cape Fear River above Wilmington has a low-water depth of 7 feet to Kings Bluff, 34 miles; 5 feet to Elizabethtown, 64 miles; and 4 feet to Fayetteville, 100 miles, the head of navigation. These depths are secured by dredging and the building of two dams, one at Kings Bluff and the other at Browns Landing, 34 and 64 miles, respectively, above Wilmington. The tidal range at Kings Bluff is 1.5 feet. A depth of about 18 feet at low water can be taken 334 miles up river to the fertilizer works near the railroad bridge. This river is called Northwest Branch for a short distance above Wilmington.
Northeast River, known locally as Northeast Branch, empties into Cape Fear River from northeastward at Wilmington; a depth of 1612 feet at low water can be taken about 214 miles above Wilmington. It has a low-water depth of 6 feet to Bannerman Bridge, 42 miles, and 3 feet to Croom Bridge, 49 miles. Above Croom Bridge for a distance of 41 miles to Kornegays Bridge, the river is so shallow that navigation is practicable only during high-water stages.
Black River empties into Cape Fear River about 1212 miles above Wilmington, and has a low-water depth of 5 feet to Point Caswell, 21 miles; 21/2 feet to Haws Narrows, 28 miles, and 11/2 feet to Clear Run, 571/2 miles. Above Clear Run for a distance of 7 miles to Lisbon the river is so shallow that navigation is practicable only during highwater stages.
Anchorages.--On account of the Government submarine cable, vessels are cautioned not to anchor on or near a line from Bald Head lighthouse to Fort Caswell. The best anchorage is off the town of Southport, where the depth ranges from 4 to 6 fathoms; the holding ground is good, but on account of the strong tidal currents vessels
should anchor with a good scope of chain. This anchorage is sometimes used as a harbor of refuge in the winter by coasting vessels. There is a limited anchorage basin abreast the lower end of Wilmington, on the easterly side of the river just above the mouth of Alligator Creek.
National Quarantine.—The quarantine and boarding station is on the east side of the channel about 1 mile above Southport. Pilots for the bar and river may be had at Southport, and they will come out in answer to signal. Pilotage from sea to Southport is compulsory for certain vessels. Extracts from the regulations relating to pilots and pilotage are given in the Appendix, page 170.
Towboats can be had at Southport or Wilmington. Harbor regulations and wharves.The harbor master at Wilmington has control of the berthing and anchorage of all vessels. For harbor fees, see the Appendix, page 172. The depth alongside the principal wharf at Southport is about 18 feet and at the Wilmington wharves 12 to 30 feet.
Supplies.—Provisions and ship chandler's stores can be had at Wilmington; coal for steamers can be had alongside the wharves or out in the stream from lighters. Fresh water can be had from a water boat or alongside the wharves through pipe and hose; it is also taken from the river at Wilmington.
Repairs.—Ordinary repairs to the machinery of steamers can be made at Wilmington; there is a marine railway here capable of hauling out vessels of about 1,200 tons register. The draft that can be hauled out at high water is 9 feet forward and 18 feet aft.
Storm warnings are displayed at Wilmington, Southport, and at the life-saving station on Oak Island (C. G., No. 194).
Public Health Service.—There is a relief station at Wilmington.
Tides. See the tide tables for the Atlantic coast of the United States, in which the tides are predicted for every day at Wilmington, Proceeding toward the mouth of the river the tides are earlier than at Wilmington, the differences for high and low water, respectively, being Brunswick River entrance, 36m. and 51 m.; Orton Point, 1h. 34m. and 2h. 18m; Southport, 2h. 14m. and 3h. 33m; Bar, 2h. 34m. and 3h. 56m. The mean range at the entrance is 4.9 feet and at Wilmington 2.9 feet.
Currents. The tidal currents on the bar run with considerable velocity, and as a rule set nearly in the direction of the channels, but on the last of the flood and first of the ebb they tend more or less across the shoals. In the river their set is generally in the direction of the channel, and during freshets the ebb has great velocity, sometimes entirely overcoming the flood. Abreast of Southport the estimated velocity of the ebb at strength of spring tides is 2.5 to 3.5 knots. At ordinary times a strong flood is felt for a considerable distance above Wilmington, where it runs 514 hours to nearly 7 hours of ebb; going down the river from Wilmington the periods of flood and ebb become more nearly equal. On the bar slack water occurs about 1 hour after high and low water.
Freshets.-Low-water stages prevail in the rivers above Wilmington from two to four months during the summer, and freshets usually occur as often as once a month during the rest of the year, but with no regularity.