Our First Days in the ICW
20 October 2016
I awoke Tuesday morning to the sound of an old inboard runabout motoring around the the anchorage; when I stuck my head out of the hatch I realized it was fishermen emptying their traps. They didn't seem terribly happy that there was a trap only 15 feet beside our boat, good thing they hadn't arrived earlier when it was tapping against the hull! After fuelling and a pump out at a nearby Marina we entered the ICW for day one of our travels on the famed waterway.It wasn't long before we were held up for 30 minutes waiting for workers to finish an inspection of a railway bridge that is normally left open. Once we were on the move again we encountered a few more delays as most bridges in the area only open on the hour or half hour. After 15 miles we heard someone say,on the radio, that they had tagged a fixed bridge with their mast that was 62 feet tall. The controlling height for bridges is 65 feet,however due to high water levels it is reduced, needless to say with our 60 foot mast plus antennas we approached the first bridge with trepidation. Happily we cleared with 2 feet to spare and after 7 hours we called it a day. We had only travelled 30 miles but the next stop was too far to reach before dark. We anchored in a small cove just off the channel and settled in for a quiet evening. Prior to sunset we watched hundreds of birds arrive and settle in the marshlands for the night. All was quiet except when the Navy fighter planes roared overhead on their way to a training area. The day was capped off with a beautiful sunset and an unbelievable starlit night.
We woke up early on Wednesday; we planned on a long day two on the ICW. As we started along our way we witnessed a spectacular sunrise; what a positive introduction to another beautiful day. After not covering many miles yesterday, we travelled seventy miles in ten hours. Our night was spent anchored in a cove off of the channel with two other sail boats. Once again we were treated to a beautiful sunset and a sky bursting with twinkling stars.
The day was hot and beautiful and the water would have been very inviting except for the dark coffee colour and the pungent odour. We saw numerous commercial fishermen but we question whether we would eat fish out of these waters.