I thought I'd add a few things that we learned from our trip through North Carolina to South Carolina.
The shoaling is very unpredictable. It seems that erring to the right of the channel is the best way. If the depth starts to get 7 ft or less, put the engine in neutral and start to search for the deeper water. Best advice is to go slow and not to panic. A soft grounding is easy to get off, a hard grounding might mean a call to the TOW boat.
If you really must get somewhere, go out in the ocean. The ICW can be traveled quickly, but you miss so much. We found that 30 to 40 miles per day works best for us. You leave in daylight, you arrive in daylight.
There are many marinas that are cheap enough to stop over at days end. Anchorages are few and many are shoaled. Having a 6 ft draft has limited our anchoring options. Also, we sleep better at a marina.Until we are sure that the anchorage is going to allow us to swing and is protected from wakes we are up checking the anchor and don't sleep well. It seems that winter is a slow time for the ICW and we have found some great deals.
Purex washer/dryer sheets are the bomb for laundry. You throw a sheet in with the wash, put the wet clothes in the dryer and the sheet acts as a fabric softener. No bottles or boxes of detergent. No spilling and easy to store.
Have a good VHF radio and turn it ON. We have a hand held that we keep in the cockpit that monitors channel 16. The VHF at the nav station is scanning channels 9, 13 and 16. You call the bridges on 13. We call for local knowledge if we think a bridge may have been replaced or have read that the bridge is under repair. Vessels that want to pass you hail on channel 16. It is nice to know which side they are planning to use during over taking you.
It helps to have your boat name visible. Hailing port is not very important, but if people can read your name and easily pronounce the name, they are more likely to hail you and impart information. Bridge tenders record your name as you go by. You chat with folks as you pass each other.
Be friendly and polite. Talk to everyone as if you are a guest in their home. Respect their views. Religion, politics are part of a free society. Listen to what people have to say. You may not agree, but if you learn to listen to what they have to say, there is a better chance that they will listen to you. You are visiting. You might actually learn something. If we want the dialogue to be civil and respectful, it has to start one person at a time.
North Carolina has been viewed by us from another perspective. It is a beautiful state. The wildlife is diverse and exotic yet familiar. First time I ever saw a deer swim. Birds are comics. They fly, dive and land in the funniest manner.
We are going to go slow and savor the flavor of South Carolina. The low country promises to have surprises around every turn.
|really low tide|