06/02/2008, Mile Hammock Bay, NC
May 31st... Wrightsville Beach to Mile Hammock Bay (Camp Jejune, NC)
Today's only real challenge was the timing of the bridges. The first was in Wrightsville Beach and it opened on the hour so we simply had to guess at the time it would take to get our anchor up and motor the half mile or over to the bridge. The second was 5 miles away which posed no real problem either.... we timed it perfectly. However, after arriving at exactly the right time the bridge operator made the three of us dance for 6 minutes in the current with very little room to maneuver.
The last bridge of the day was 18 miles away which should be easy.... 18 statute miles -minus 2.4 =15.6 nautical miles. If we run at 5.2 knots for three hours everything will work out right. The only problem is tidal currents. Every inlet we pass means a change from current with, to current against. At times the current is as much as three knots. If our max speed over ground without current is 7 knots, then there are times that our headway is only a little over 4 knots. So we have to factor current, high and low tides, wind, as well as where we are going to be relative to the various little inlets. We made the third bridge with a few minutes to spare.
With about 15 miles to our destination we raised our jib and sailed up the intracoastal for the about two hours in 20 knots of wind. It doesn't happen very often.
We had a very pleasant evening with Bev, Arnie, George, and Dorene on "Scandia." It looks like we will be going our separate ways tomorrow.
Ospreys nesting everywhere!
06/02/2008, Wrightsville Beach, NC
May 30... North Myrtle Beach to Wrightsville Beach.
We were away from the dock at 7am and headed for a long day on the ICW. Our first challenge was a pontoon bridge that opened on the hour only. To complicate matters, if the opening happened to coincide with a low tide, it was postponed for another hour just for good measure.
I radioed "Scandia" (named for Scandia, Michigan) and told Arnie that I thought there was a chance of making it if we pushed. They took off like crazy and we all got there in time.
Next we had to deal with the Shalotte Inlet which is always a problem at low tide. We arrived at dead low... and slowed to a crawl. We touched once but continued on without any problems. There was one more inlet to go.... Lockwood's Folly. On a low, but rising tide we made it through this one as well unscathed. From there it was just a lot of driving... 10 hours worth. Up the Cape Fear River to Snow's Cut and back to the ICW for two more hours to Wrightsville Beach.
Retail on water
05/29/2008, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
May 28 - 29, 2008 Charleston to Myrtle Beach, SC
We left Charleston at eight to head for the Ben Sawyer bridge that is closed from 7-9. Mike was driving and was disconcerted about the depth of water beyond the bridge-lower than charted and we were pretty much at low tide. We finally were able to relax, without going aground and had a lovely day driving through the low lands of South Carolina.
I did earn some nature points by spotting the 3 alligators we saw that day. We also saw many dolphins and never tire of watching them. They are wonderful traveling companions.
We anchored behind Butler Island on the Waccamaw River north of Georgetown, SC. It was a nice anchorage and one other boat came in after us and went further downstream. Pretty quiet and nice!
The Waccamaw River ride today was one of the most beautiful we have seen on the ICW. It was wide and deep and tree-lined. We could use the auto-pilot on some of it because of its width, which was nice.
We made it to Myrtle Beach, SC at Barefoot Landing Marina at about 1:30 p.m.. This place is famous with boaters who have been doing this trip for years. It is a LONG dock which used to be free and quite the party spot as we have heard some tales! It now has electric and water and they charge you to stay. It is still a nice place. For those in need of retail therapy, there are at least a hundred stores here-outlet and others. There are restaurants and live entertainment venues. We walked up from the with our friends from "Scandia" and new friends from "Island Star" to TBonz for happy hour priced hors d'ovres to serve as dinner. We boaters are usually cheap!
Mike is hanging out with the men from "Scandia" and "Island Star" to decide whether to go out in the ocean for a ways tomorrow, or continue on the ICW. The ICW is easy and you don't have to worry about weather most places, but it gets tedious to drive by hand all day. If we can get out into the ocean and sail, it would be great. So we will be moving on tomorrow, one direction or another. North Carolina was generally bad for internet and cell phone service, but don't fear for us-it's not that dangerous!