Saturday, October 20, 2018

Awendaw - at anchor

First one in the anchorage gets the best spot
We waited until about 9:30 so we could catch a rising tide through Minim Creek and McClellanville. Both are very shallow areas of the ICW. We caught Minim Creek with only a 0.8 tide but did better at McClellanville with a 2.2 ft tide.

We made it through both obstacles successfully and I uploaded the track to my track website so anyone could follow my path through the shallows. I had to do a lot of moving from side to side to find the best water so for those using my track, it's not that I wasn't paying attention - it was all intentional to keep the maximum amount of water under the keel. Through these areas, it's very easy to find less water.
The calm after the storm
So we made it through successfully and are now anchored in Awendaw with four other boats. One powerboat anchored by the entrance and when I took Hoolie ashore, the boat was in the weeds. Either the rode was too long and there was a wind or current shift or the anchor gave way. There were two workboats out trying to help but I didn't see anyone aboard the stranded boat. We had a terrific storm that came through just about the time I took Hoolie ashore but I made it back in time before the rain, just barely. The wind topped out at 32 kts during the rainfall.

All is peaceful for the moment and hopefully for the rest of the night. We had planned on a later start to catch a rising tide but that would put us into the Charleston Maritime Center a little after 4:00 so we are going to try an early morning start instead and be at the Isle Of Palms by 10:00 to catch a 2 ft tide although it's a falling tide, not ideal. We like the location within walking distance to downtown Charleston and a Harris Teeter. We'll explore Charleston for the next three days before moving farther south.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Heritage Plantation Marina - at a dock

The main clubhouse of Heritage Plantation Marina
We had wanted to get a dock in Georgetown but this was the weekend they were hosting the wooden boat show which is a very big deal for the town. As a result, everything was full. We couldn't get a dock anywhere, not even at Georgetown Landing Marina which is north of Georgetown and a long walk into town.

So we motored to Heritage Plantation and took a dock. We don't like to anchor near the Waccamaw River due to alligators. We took a tour on the river one year and found the side channels full of alligators sunning themselves on the banks. We never want to tempt them with a juicy morsel like Hoolie when taking him ashore.

The water is starting to clear up. We saw very little debris in the river, even less than usual judging from past trips. I was told it was very bad for a while but it's much better now. The current does reverse now but not very strongly, but then at least it does reverse. During the flood times, it only ran one way, out to sea.

It's nice and calm, and bug-free. In fact, we've seen very few buys on the river.
We will brave the shallows of Minum Creek and McClellanville on Saturday. We will hit Minum Creek just about at low tide but it will be rising after that. We will overnight at the Awendaw anchorage and leave the next morning for Charleston. I'll keep uploading my tracks so if I don't run aground, you'll have a path to follow through the shallows.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Osprey Marina - at a dock

Osprey Marina is as good as ever
We left around 8:30 and headed to our first challenge of the day, Lockwoods Folly. In order for it to be maximum fun, we scheduled it at low tide. Fortunately, low tide was actually 1.5 ft above datum (the 0.0 level) so we had a plus 1.5 ft over a real dead low - and we needed it! I didn't use the USACE route which involved a scary pass on the wrong side of a green can. Instead, I use one provided by Hank Pomeranz that took a more natural route honoring the buoys. It resulted in a low of 4.6 MLW in one small spot, the rest was deeper. Since I had a 1.5 ft tide, I was fine with my 4 ft 9 in keel but it's still exciting to see the depth numbers drop so dramatically before rising again. My path will be reflected in my track today which I will upload tonight and in a new GPX route for Lockwoods Folly dated 10/18/2018. I would strongly recommend having a half to full, rising tide to pass through this inlet.

Look how high the water got!
Shallotte inlet was rather dull. It's well buoyed (2 reds, 2 greens), just go right down the middle so defined by the buoys to get 9.7 MLW as the lowest spot.  So we motored on and the rest of the trip was uneventful. The famous "Rock Pile" just north of Barefoot was benign. There were lots of ledges visible along the sides but as long as you stayed in the middle, no problem.

Watch out for those ledges in the "Rock Pile"
Barefoot Landing is redoing their docks so they were out of business for transients. As a result, I guess, Barefoot Marine across the way raised their rates to $2/ft from $1.50 last year so we passed both by and went to Osprey Marina for $1/ft. They survived with no damage although they had to ad 4.5 ft to the tops of their pilings. They have now welded extensions on the pilings to make the added height permanent.

Normally our next stop would be Georgetown but they are having a Wooden Boat Show so we'll stop upriver from them at Heritage Plantation Marine before moving on to the Isle of Palms the next day.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

St James Plantation Marina - at a dock

St James Plantation Marina suffered almost no damage from Hurricane Florence but they
did have a lot of trees down that blocked the roads.
We had intended taking a mooring at Carolina Beach but the weather was so good and the next day was so bad, that we decided to push on to St James Plantation Marina just south of Southport, NC. Along the way, the inlets required some moving outside of the channel to find the best water. There were a lot of 8 to 10 ft MLW stretches with some places down to 7 MLW. The track I uploaded avoids all depths less than that.

South from here is the Atlantic with the sunset
One of the reasons we came this far today is the calm winds on Cape Fear River. Although we had the current against us, it was okay with light winds. We've stayed here many times in the past. The marina is very well protected although we didn't nee that protection today. They also have fuel so we're set for our next leg. One thing they do not have is a nearby grocery store. They have a short-order store and a small restaurant if needed. 

We are not well staged for the shallows. We should hit them just about at low tide all along the Isle of Shoals. At least it will make for interesting traveling. We had wanted to stop in Georgetown, SC but once again they are having their annual wooden boat show and a dock cannot be had anywhere. We seem to hit that every year. Instead of Georgetown, we will take a dock at Heritage Plantation Marina, about seven miles north of Georgetown. I'll let you know how it is. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Topsail Island Marina at Surf City, NC - at a dock

The Surf City Pier is fully operational
We had a 52 mile day to reach Surf City so we had to leave around 7:30 am, not a favorite time for Ann. We used the "backdoor exit" from Homer Smith which resulted in a least seen of 5.4 MLW.  We had a one foot tide, so it was not a problem for our 4 ft 9 in keel.

The IGA Supermarket is up and running
Once underway we found that no one was working today on the Atlantic Beach Bridge. There was a notice to mariners that a 30 minute advance notice was required before passing through the bridge but that was only when they are actually doing work and that wasn't today.

He was very popular with the local seagulls!
The shallowest part of the trip was just after the Atlantic Beach Bridge between R6 and G11. It got really skinny, down to 5.7 MLW! I searched and found the most water possible which is reflected in the track I uploaded today. It also shows a path through Browns Inlet and New River plus a few other shallow spots.

BoatUS was roaring but the boat was not moving! Watch out for those shallows!
Surf City is still recovering from hurricane Florence but a lot of stores are open as is the marina. You'll still find the local IGA supermarket open and serving local customers. The Surf City Pier is open as are most of the local businesses. At this marina, there is no one present. You pay over the phone for your slip. We paid $1.50/ft for our dockage which includes electric and water if needed.

Our plan is to pick up a mooring at Carolina Beach and then move on to St James Plantation the next day if the weather is right which means not having wind against tide on Cape Fear river.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Homer Smith at Beaufort, NC - Last day

The downtown Beaufort marina - empty!
We got all our work done: provisioned, did a wash, refilled the water tank, filled up the outboard tank with non-ethanol gasoline, walked into town - time for a rest. Beaufort looks the same as always. Once again, reacting to the news, I expected a lot more damage. It was hard to see any. There was some debris piled in spots along the sidewalk but not that much. Most of the houses showed no damage at all, a few showed a shingle or two missing.

There was an announcement of the Atlantic Beach Bridge shown above required a 30-minute notice
before passing through due to construction. Nobody yet has seen any signs of a work barge blocking traffic. 
The docks at Homer Smith had no damage at all. So I walked down to docks in town to see how they did. It was the same story, they looked fine except that there were very few boats on the docks. They were 90% empty. All of the stores were open for business except one or two.

New docks shown at the far right will
be added to Homer Smith in a couple of week.
Back at the boat, I prepared the route for Tuesday. I integrated all the USACE routes into my overall route and I'll be recording my track as usual. Somebody said it may become the "new" magenta line. All of my tracks can be downloaded at bobicm.com

Our plan Tuesday is to leave around 7:30 or so and make it to Topsail Island Marina in Surf City, a distance of 52 miles. Then we'll pick up a mooring at South Carolina Beach followed by a stop at St James Plantation on Thursday. It's time to start moving south in earnest.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Homer Smith in Beaufort, NC - at a dock

Bock Marine is up and running
The winds were supposed to be less than 8 kts out of the northeast by they were actually 15 kts out of the east. It seems that you can always just double the wind prediction for the Neuse and Albemarle. The predictions are never right, they always seem to under estimate the wind. This statement includes PreidictWind, NOAA, PocketGrib, Windy, etc.

Some houses were damaged, most were not
Fortunately for us, the wind was behind us once we turned the corner to head down the Neuse. It was very rocky before that. One thing you never want to do is to go against a 15 kt or higher winds on the Neuse. It's shallow and the waves tend to be very short period and build up nicely.

We didn't see any debris except for one lone piece just north of Adams Creek. The creek itself was completely free of debris. I was surprised at the lack of damage by Florence. I had expected to see many houses badly damaged or destroyed, not so. The houses showing damage were in the minority. I would bet that a TV crew would focus on the damaged houses as opposed to giving a balanced overview of the effects of hurricane Florence.

Always a sunset
Here we will do doing a wash and pay a visit to the nearest supermarket to provision for the rest of the trip to Titusville. We are out of everything fresh. The marina here has a free courtesy car which we'll take advantage of on Monday. The next day we'll see how ground zero fared as we head down the ICW.