Crunch time at the bridge
04 December 2008 | Factory Creek, E. of Lady Island Bridge (N32*25.202, W80*39.251) to Wright River Anchorage, SC (N32*04.254, W80*55.119)
Thursday, December 4, 2008
We raised anchor at 9am and left at idle speed toward the bridge to make sure we had the 10am opening. I radioed the bridge tender our vital statistics and the other boats that followed us out of the creek did the same. We could see a large barge and tug waiting in the channel with 5 other sailboats behind it. I called the bridge tender back to ask her if there was a preferred order to go through the opening, since if we pulled into the channel we'd be ahead of the barge (not a good idea since they move pretty much faster than us), and she said the barge first, then sailboats behind - so the sailboats behind us went around us and fell in line behind the others that were waiting in the main channel. We idled in forward until the bridge opened, then followed the other boats, but when we got to the bridge, the two boats that we were behind were in the opening and started colliding with each other. The current was pretty fast there and and we had to really crank it into reverse (hard) to avoid being boat number 3 going crunch in the opening... Something happened to one of the boats - Julie Ann - she looked like she was being towed by a much smaller boat (Mistrell). It looked like the current moved Julie Ann at a faster pace than Mistrell could keep up with. I'm so glad we didn't end up in that entanglement. We all made it through with the bridge tender looking on. I kidded her about getting muscles from all the manual openings and asked her about how much longer before the bridge would be fixed - Another week at least...
We ended up anchored in between Jones and Turtle Island in a seabed/marsh area in the Wright River with two other sailboats in about 12 ft of water between a couple of crab pots. We'll be here for tonight and tomorrow since the winds are picking up and a low-pressure system is moving in bringing rain and possible thunderstorms (cold front moving offshore). We're right off of the Savannah River where we'll be leaving the ICW and going back out into the Atlantic so we need a weather window and to get the boat ready to go out (stow stuff, put the dingy on deck, etc...).