Sunday, October 21, 2018

Charleston Maritime Center - at a dock

Charleston Maritime Center has recovered but nobody is here
Today was a trip through the shallows of the Isle of Palms. There were long stretches just south of Awendaw where the depths only varied between 5 and 6 MLW! There was no deeper water but then again, there was nothing less than 5 ft MLW at least.

We were racing to catch a 2.2 ft tide at the section just north of the Ben Sawyer Bridge, a notorious part of the ICW that shoals rapidly. It was just dredged a couple of years ago but it's shoaled again. As it turned out, we missed the opening of the Ben Sawyer Bridge by 5 minutes! That resulted in an hour wait for the next opening and about 10 minutes before the opening, the bridge operator announced that it may not open due to high winds! There were gusts to 26 kts and higher then. The bridge does not open when the wind is above 25 kts. Luckily, the wind died down some (to 15 to 20 kts) and we caught the next opening on schedule. The least I saw was 4.6 MLW in several spots but with a 2.2 ft tide and a 4 ft 9 in keel, we made it through. My track was meandering as usual as I found the deepest path even though it wasn't as deep as I had wished. I've since uploaded it to my track site for downloading by anyone interested. I don't think there's a deeper path through these shallow waters.

Other than winds out of the east, here is another ready for wakes
Charleston Maritime Center is finally open! It's been two years since we've docked at the marina. We've always liked it since it's within walking distance of downtown Charleston and all the stores and restaurants. You don't have to worry about renting a car or taking a shuttle, just walk to downtown. The marina is mostly empty, perhaps 1/10 full. They've raised their rates to $1.75/ft for those with BoatUS membership but then that's practically everyone.

The marina has a reputation for being rolly, especially in an east wind and that's true but we don't mind, we like the compensation of easy access to downtown and a nearby Harris Teeter supermarket. We will be here three days before moving on the B&B Seafood for out next stop south. All the shallow spots south of here to Ashepoo-Coosaw Cutoff has been dredged. How good a job the dredge did is up for grabs. There are some reports that they removed only 1 or 2 ft instead of the 5 to 6 ft.  I'll find out first hand when I go through, stay tuned.