Walburg to Laurel Hill
29 March 2022
The drawbridge in Savannah has been broken and unable to open for almost a month. That means we have to avoid the section of the ICW that passes through Savannah.
There are several ways to avoid the bridge. We chose a day-run out into the ocean. We left Walburg Creek after a beautiful and calm night in a well protected anchorage. Anchor was up before the sunrise and we headed carefully out into a calm ocean.
We motorsailed north. Our goal was to pass Hilton Head and enter Port Royal Inlet or St. Helena Sound, depending on our speed. The wind and tide were with us and we proceeded to St. Helena Sound. This allowed us to by-pass Savannah and Beaufort (pronounced bewfort in SC). That saved a day or two and a lot of switchbacks.
We chose to enter the sound and turn right up the Ashepoo River. This river greets you with the following remarks in Active Captain, "Charts Incorrect, This area is not as charted. Shoals are in very different places and may be have no water. Be very careful if you decide not to try the Ashepoo-Coosaw Cutoff. Take it very slowly and don't trust your charts.".
Well I started the day entering the ocean at St. Catherine’s Sound Inlet finding only 6 ft of water at high tide where there was supposed to be 10-12. No warning there. Was I about to have a serious problem on this little river? Probably not. We were entering with a rising tide and an extra 6 feet of water under us. I did follow the charts carefully and they seem to be exactly right. No problem if you use care. I would gladly go that way again.
An extra bonus was that we did not have to travel the Ashepoo-Coosaw Cut, which is in terrible shape for shoaling only a year after dredging. This set us up for a good start at high tide the next day. We did in one day a trip that could have taken 3 on the ICW.
We ended at Laurel Hill anchorage, just 3 miles from Watts Cut.