Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Blog Site Resourses

Why would anyone want to live in such cold weather? (we did for 40 years!)
In the midst of our first snow of the season up here in New York, I thought I would go over some of the resources available on this site for use by cruisers on the ICW. At the left of the site under, "Cruising Tips" is a list of information you may find useful. During the winter months is a good time while things are calm to peruse the list and make mental notes of what you could use in the spring. You just click (or tap if you're on an iPad) on the title and you will be brought to a page of data. So here goes:

Links, Weather, Surveys, Buoys, and Tides
Here are a few links I keep at the ready when cruising. Bookmark this page for quick reference They are all ordered from north to south for easy reference when underway:

- A list of weather buoys. It's good for knowing the actual wind out there, not the predicted wind for buoys along the New Jersey shore, Delaware Bay, Chesapeake Bay, and near the ICW to Key West.

The green line is the actual water level relative
to MLLW and the blue line is the level predicted
by tide tables. 
- Water heights of actual vs predicted at key tide stations. Knowing how the tide is running relative to the predicted tide can be valuable. It is especially useful to check the water level relative to predicted tide at Charleston before going through the Isle of Palms (see charts at left). If the water is higher than normal, it's good to know. Likewise, if it's lower than normal (a strong west wind) it's vital to know. It's bad enough when the predicted tide is below the 0.0 datum (-0.6 ft in the graph at right at 16:00 on 2/9) but even worse when the actual water level is more than a foot lower! Imagine trying to get through McClellanville under those conditions!

If you happen to hit a day when the opposite is true, like in the second graph at right, then you'll wonder what all the fuss was about - you had plenty of water and you'll pat yourself on the back for being so good at finding deep water when everybody else was plowing mud earlier in the month.

The Savannah tide station lets you know the water delta to be expected at Hell Gate. It can be the difference between getting through or waiting for a higher tide.

- ACOE Surveys: I looked through the ACOE surveys and picked out those depth surveys that showed shallow areas and listed them here with links to a PDF picture of the passage. I check these sites just before a transit through one of the listed shallows. You ought to do the same thing.

For example, there's the latest survey of Lockwoods Folly. It looks like it's closing up between AIWW Waypoint 3 and 2. It ought to be fun in the spring. The link to this chart is included under ACOE Surveys.

-Weather Sites. Also included are the key weather sites for hurricanes I used daily during the fall.

GPX Routes
Fernandina shallows route for 9 MLW
It's one of the GPX routes
Throughout the year I will post routes in GPX format on the blog page under this heading. The GPX routes can be downloaded into any iPad app that accepts route downloads. The present list included both Garmin apps (the discontinued Garmin Bluechart Mobile and the new Garmin Active Captain) and AquaMap. Unfortunately, the Navionics app does not support importing of GPX routes from a non-chartplotter source. Navimatics Charts and Tides also accepts importing of GPX routes but you have to use iTunes to load the routes via a PC. It's certainly doable but it's an extra step. For the Garmin and AquaMap apps, all you do is access the blog using Safari and click (or tap) on GPX Routes and then tap on the route you want to download. You will get a choice of apps to download the GPX file to. Just select the one you want and it will appear in your app under user data.

You will seldom see routes from me for the areas that change rapidly like Lockwoods Folly or Brown's Inlet. The channel moves too often and it's best just following the buoys. I may list such a route for a limited period of time when I go north in the spring but will delete it shortly thereafter due to changing conditions. Some of the routes have been relatively stable. Examples are Fernandina Shallows (route pictured above for 9 MLW), St Andrews shoal passage, Dawho River, and Haverstraw Cove. I feel pretty comfortable with those routes, they don't seem to change from year to year. However, use them at your own risk since all things on the ICW will eventually change - the captain takes full responsibility for his or her vessel. There are no guarantees on the ICW or in life!