Thursday, October 13, 2016

St James Plantation - We sound out Lockwoods Folly and Shallotte inlets.

Hank Pomeranz met us at St James and we took a ride to the two inlets south of here with Jim McKay helping out too. We wanted to test the depths found if we followed the ACOE waypoints for the inlets. Along the way we noted that the ICW was clear, we didn't see any floating debris. Even by the side streams and rivers between here and Shallotte Inlet, all was clear.

Approaching Lockwoods Folly we had the Garmin Mobile app displayed on the iPad mounted on the pedestal. I brought up the ACOE waypoints for the inlet and Hank followed them exactly with the lowest reading being 6.7 MLW. We doubled back several times to be sure the reading was accurate. Here's the ACOE chart for Lockwoods Folly.

There is a path through but you ought to follow the ACOE waypoints
Then it was on to Shallotte Inlet which proved to be more difficult due to a narrow stretch of shallow water right by the Active Captain hazard marker. The ACOE path through showed 5.0 MLW at the least depth, it was 12 MLW approaching the shallow spot and 12 MLW after. Going farther south it shallowed again to 6 MLW by the last red buoy, R82. We found the path through to be very narrow, perhaps 30 to 40 ft wide at the hazard marker and by R82. While doing the soundings we guided one boat through and offered to guide another one but got the reply, "We live around here" so we moved on. We could see he was too far to the green side and sure enough, we saw him suddenly stop, lean over and then twist sideways in the channel, he had gone aground. We could have guided him but he didn't want our help, "He was a local". Here's what you're up against at Shallotte Inlet from the ACOE chart.
Note especially the orange area just above G81. The ACOE waypoints will thread you through, no room for error

So in summary, if you follow the ACOE waypoints for Lockwoods Folly you're fine for 6.7 MLW. If you follow the ACOE waypoints for Shallotte Inlet you're okay for 5 MLW. We explored being just to the red side of the ACOE waypoints for Shallotte and found perhaps a foot more depth but the channel is very narrow! So how do you get the ACOE waypoints? You can access their site and enter the waypoints manually or you can download them as a GPX file from this blog site over at the left, "GPX Routes". The one GPX file BAllFiles has all of the routes in one package. Load BAllFiles and you get all the routes. For the iPad, the best application to use is the Garmin Mobile app. The surest way to load them is to send them as an attachment to an email to yourself using your laptop or desktop and then open the email and then the attached file on your iPad. You will get a choice of loading them into the Garmin app after a long press on the attached file. Of course you can load them into any program that accepts GPX files, all PC apps do but not all iPad apps. By the way, the links in ACOE Survey Routes (one of the selections under ICW Tips) will always show the latest ACOE survey for the area listed, they update automatically. You can also get the waypoints off the surveys which is what I used to create the GPX routes.

We still are looking to move south on Tuesday morning which will give us 5 ft or so of tide through the two shallow areas.