Moving on up the ICW
20 April 2017 | Ocean Isle Marina, Ocean Beach, NC at Mile 335.6
Beth / jacket in the morning, T-shirt in 27 degrees by afternoon
Moving on up the ICW, Golden Isles Marina, Ocean Isle Beach, April 20, 2017 Post 9
We've been moving steadily on northward in the ICW - no easy feat with a 6 ft draft, and there have been many times when we have said, "What were we thinking?!" But the wind is not favourable for an outside run from here, and frankly, we have decided we like stopping at night. We were very worried about the stretch south of McClellanville - from about mile 435 to 430 - notorious for shoaling, but we looked up every source we could find and planned to get there at mid to high tide. We kept the Navionics chart up on the iPad and followed it closely - it has much better detail than our chartplotter. Aaaand - we made it! The lowest we saw was 9 ft, but we needed that rising tide to give it to us.
The wind came up as we came out into Winyah Bay, the skies darkened and we could hear thunder in the distance. I was sure we would be in the middle of a storm as we entered the harbour at Georgetown but we were lucky and we didn't even get a bit of it. Georgetown is a pretty place but horrid for anchoring. There is just a narrow strip of 8-10 ft water off the channel along the waterfront - and there always seem to be lots of boats. We tucked ourselves in among them and hoped for the best. And got it. Whew - 2 successes in one day! We had a minimum of scope out, and we sat on the bottom for an hour or so at dead low tide, but there was no current and no wind to dislodge the anchor, and as the tide rose, so did we. We were very tired still and didn't even lower the dinghy.
It was a great relief to have a day of deep water and no stress as we left Georgetown and headed up the Waccamaw River. It is lovely, deep and lined with trees, and we anchored near the top at mile 375, just past the Bucksport Marina. It was the most wonderful anchorage - tucked just off the channel in a pretty little oxbow. Madcap was the only boat there - plenty of swing room and ospreys on all sides. We dinghied back down the river a mile or so to Bucksport Marina for a couple of jerry cans of diesel and were told that their transient berth price is a very reasonable 75 cents per foot for Boat US members. But - we were very happy with our peaceful little anchorage as we zoomed back up the river. We finished off the Easter ham, rice with cranberries and steamed veggies, washed down with a nice cold chardonnay from Washington State. The ospreys chirped, the green nav aid flashed its light in the channel and there were NO bugs. Bliss.
This morning we enjoyed another stress free day as we motored along past many new developments with huge houses - some attractive, some downright ugly - that lined the banks of the ICW as it paralleled Myrtle and North Myrtle Beaches. We had an easy trip through the "rock pile" - a narrow passage with rocky ledges that boaters really do not want to bump into. We hadn't seen any barges in the ICW so far and that is one place where you don't want to meet one, so when a huge one appeared in front of us just north of there where there was good passing room, we breathed a great sigh of relief. We got a wonderful lift from the current, making 7 kts most of the way to tonight's destination of Ocean Isle marina at Mile 335, in North Carolina. We're knocking off those states!
We decided to get through Little River Inlet at high tide (there was lots of water so it wouldn't have mattered) and we were beginning to feel the need of proper showers (Our shower is filled with the dehumidifier, fishing gear, varnish cans and cleaning supplies) and another top up of the diesel tank. Ocean Isle used to be called Pelican Pointe and is a very nice little sport fishing marina with towering racks of small boats, a fuel dock and a lovely floating face dock where it was easy to tie up. They don't monitor VHF but they are very helpful on the phone (910-579-6440) and with assistance on the dock. It's a short walk to restaurants and stores and we had the offer of a lift if we wanted one. (We don't need anything so we didn't go.) And oh - the bathrooms are wonderful! We met friendly folks on the dock and as we sat on a bench by the office, updating our apps. It was fun to chat with a family about our adventures, and we laughed when the woman commented, "Wow - you spend all that time together and you are still sitting on the same bench." I loved it!!
We will be off at the crack of dawn on Friday because we have another worrisome depth day. Shalotte Inlet and Lockwood's Folly have been dredged, but the locals still say we are better off to avoid low tide.