Cape Fear Riverboats, Inc.

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101 South Water Street, Wilmington, NC, USA - (910) 343-1611 or Toll Free (800) 676-0162

Cape Fear Riverboats, Inc. Wilmington Reviews

vances vances
575 reviews
Fair Fear Fare Sep 22, 2012
Wanted to share a fun outing and potential attraction should you find yourself in Wilmington. Some friends scored a Nature Cruise with Cape Fear Riverboats at a charitable silent auction and today we were fortunate to be invited along. The crown jewel of this enterprise is a large riverboat offering a variety of events (dinner cruises, murder mystery cruises, sunset cruises and even a “Redneck Wedding Comedy” cruise), but they have several smaller craft for private charter and nature cruises.

Our expedition was a journey up the Cape Fear River to Black River, narrated by Andy Hill. Andy is a brilliant local ecologist who has served as director for Audubon North Carolina, Education Curator for our local aquarium at Fort Fisher (see my review of this wonderful facility!) and provides weekly nature commentaries for the local public radio station.

Weather was ideal and my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the tour. Andy’s ongoing commentary was quite informative – I never realized that from the 1700’s until the Civil War, everything north of Wilmington along the Cape Fear River was rice paddies. Today there is virtually nothing along the river shores, the rice industry mercifully turning unprofitable with the end of slave labor as well as the encroachment of salt water. The increased salinity has slaughtered most of the gorgeous cypress trees which once lined the banks, though Andy pointed out many persist further back from the river front, some with an age over two millennia!

When we reached the Black River Andy gave a brief lecture and passed around many examples of the profundity of plant and animal life here (the Cape Fear River has the richest bio-diversity along the Eastern coast of North America above the Florida Everglades). The examples included the Ramshorn Snail, a huge freshwater snail which Andy saved from extinction. Witnessing Andy’s passion was inspiring, though I will confess many folks would not find this tour so fascinating. There really aren’t any amazing views along this stretch and unless you pay close attention the scenery is repetitive. However, we did spot an alligator and Andy mentioned success with bald eagle populations here.

So, my counsel to experience Cape Fear River is to partake one of Cape Fear Riverboat's more traditional entertainment offerings on their big boat (Henrietta III, named after a steamboat launched in 1818 which logged one and a half million miles running the Cape Fear between Wilmington and Fayetteville up through the Civil War), or opt for one of the smaller boat cruises if Andy is the moderator. And don’t forget to score Andy’s “Backyard Carolina” book, available on Amazon, before you go!
A restaurant perched along Wilming…
Passing the USS North Carolina as …
Industrial blight as we escape fro…
Beautiful Cypress tree persisting …
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
vances says:
This part of the coast is a graveyard for ships with all of the shoals and the Spanish named it Cape Fear back in the 1600's. Since this river flows into Cape Fear, they just nicked it, I guess...
Posted on: Sep 23, 2012
westwind57 says:
Very nice blog, Vance. Are their any records about what's to fear at the cape?
Posted on: Sep 23, 2012
Vikram says:
Shame about the rice and the cypress trees.
Posted on: Sep 22, 2012
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photo by: vances