Tag Archives: SC

Everyone Knows It’s Wending

From the Cooper River behind Dafuskie Island to the Cumberland Dividings north of St Mary’s, the ICW is at its screwiest, excuse me, windiest. Here, too, tides range from six to nine feet depending on moon phase, and channel maintenance appears the most optional. Through this area there are five bridges between mainland and sea islands.

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To fetch Fields Cut at the Savannah River at half tide rising, we left Bull Creek at 1230 and anchored in the Herb River at 1500.

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Yesterday, we left the Herb (for current purposes) at 1215 and anchored in the Vernon River at 1430.

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We are now staged (red arrow is us) to go through Hell Gate at half tide rising today at 1600. This means leaving at 1500 and anchoring an hour beyond the Gate.

And so it goes. Sometimes currents run two to three knots – with and against. The next staging will be to get through Creighton Narrows on a rising tide so we can get past Little Mud River near high the next morning.

That’s why they call it wending ones way.

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Neat!

Port Royal Landing

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Blue John and A Good Day

BlueJohn001No we didn’t add a cold crew member. Blue John is what my grandfather called milk that had had the cream removed and had been cut with water — whether this came from his childhood or the Great Depression, I don’t know. I do know he didn’t like it one bit. He showed me what he meant one day, and sure enough, the milk in the glass looked blue and transparent — just like the low fog yesterday morning. The sun lifted and evaporated it fairly quickly, but since we left at sunup, we ran in that milky stuff for a while. It wasn’t enough for running lights or signals, but it left us feeling like we needed to rub our eyes clear or clean our glasses.

It took a while for things to warm up (relative term), but fortunately, except for a few twisty spots, the light breeze followed us, and serious windchill wasn’t an issue.

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Click for full size

As we made our way through the cuts that connect the Stono, Wadmalaw, Edisto(s), Ashepoo, Coosaw, and Beaufort Rivers the porpoise activity picked up, and we got an escort that stayed with us nearly five minutes. It is a reminder that just a few miles south and east the Atlantic rolls.

Another thing we learned today is with our boat speed of 7.5 sm/hr, leaving Church Creek at dead low tide (on a half moon) allows us to reach the thin spots south on a half rising tide and to make Beaufort at an average of 8.2 sm/hr. The current also switched to ebb at Beaufort so we had perfect conditions for docking — wind and low current right on the bow.

We saw two cruising boats all day, one at the Ladies Island Bridge (spelled correctly) going north and one going south minutes after we had tied up at Port Royal Landing Marina (they have cable — essential for watching the Cotton Bowl victory for A&M).

The boat at the bridge passed us going north at a time that meant the bridge must have opened at 1330 — not allowed according to Waterway Guide (second bridge info error this trip). Janet called the bridge by cell and was nicely informed they opened on the hour and half hour when not restricted for the a.m.-p.m. automotive rush — and oh, by the way, there was a fuel barge (we had seen at the USMC pier) scheduled to come up behind us for the 1400 opening. The tender offered navigation advice if the barge arrived as we were trying to clear the bridge. Very nice, and unnecessary, we cleared the bridge at 1400, and the fuel barge passed us 20 minutes later as we were tying up.

This marina is nice, but like Cooper River Marina in Charleston, it is a looooong way from the T-head to the showers, laundry, etc. — planning is required.

Speaking of planning, in the latitude related post a few days ago, I left out a graphic which talks to how efficiently the ICW subtracts degrees, minutes and seconds from ones latitude.

The graphic is below. If the efficiency is “1”  that means one has gone due south. Negative efficiencies mean one has gone back north. From the chart one can see a whole lot of inefficient wandering is involved before the ICW really starts to take one south. But is is really pretty wandering in some places. Yesterday we crossed the halfway mark between Mile “0” and our jump off for the Bahamas. The “beta” (average inefficiency) behind us is .57, that ahead is .78. Things are improving!Efficiency

Delivery-ing vs Adventure-ing

Well it is an ill wind that blows no good, and it must be true because the temps and humidity have been wonderful. But…

After the thick rain and thin thunder in Little River, SC, we were presented with a wind from 62 degrees with a possibility of seven foot swells on the bow. Our course offshore was to have been 62 degrees.

Thus we motored up the ICW into a five day forecast of winds from the N-NE-NNE-ENE…you get the drift.

Worse, we were on the wrong side of the moon. We were in that part of the lunar cycle when low tide comes in the middle of the day and a foul current runs pretty much from sunrise to sunset (in this part of the coast).

This adds up to long days droning along at reduced groundspeed and concern about the less well maintained sections of the ICW.

We left Little River at 0800 and made Wrightsville Beach at 1730 after 25 knot headwinds in the Cape Fear River and 3+ knot foul currents in Snow’s Cut.

The next morning, we left WVB at 0700 to be sure of the 0800 bridge. Beyond that we droned…

“Wishing Star”
Passed us at Surf City Bridge
84 foot 1963 Trumpy — one of the last.

These followed Wishing Star…as well they should have.

We arrived at Mile Hammock early because it is was a short day – forced by foul currents and 80 miles with only one suitable anchorage midway. This left time for some kite flying and to watch two boats come in later and anchor too closely considering there were only six boats in the whole place. One moved. The other (that had run up past us at the WVB bridge even though they were a slower boat) appeared to have a strong faith in providence. Sadly, before dinner, I removed the jacklines we use for our harnesses offshore. From here on we are consigned to the “ditch.”

  • When sunset came, the sky had a smokier tinge than usual.
  • As the night progressed the air had a smokier aroma than usual.
  • When the sun came up, long writhing tendrils of smoke were braided with clouds that might have been offshore fog during the night.
  • The sky was flat and red-gray in the North. The 59 degree breeze came from there.
  • We left early to make the 0800 opening at Onslow Beach Bridge.
  • A mile or two north our eyes started stinging and throats burned.
  • Visibility dropped.
  • The sunlight that made it to the boat was the color of a mercury vapor lamp.
  • What reflections there were on the water were Halloween orange. They flickered like the eyes of a thousand imps.
  • Finally in Swansboro (3 hours later, thanks to the 1.5 knot foul current), within a half mile, we turned and left the smoke from an out of control 2800 acre burn-off in the Croatan National Forest behind us.
  • It took a couple of hours to quit coughing and blinking, but the rest of the day was so nice on its own and by comparison, we really enjoyed it (if you discount the nutcases in center consoles around Morehead City).
  • We made Broad Creek, off the Neuse at 1830 after enduring a 2.0 knot foul current in the Adams Creek Canal between Morehead City and the Neuse River.
  • It was quiet, smoke free and still.

Early this morning we came alongside at River Dunes Marina and took on diesel, had visitors aboard from Dolphin an Allied Princess. Then we borrowed the marina car for grocery shopping and lunch. M&Ms was even better than in November. Their conch fritters, placed on a platter with their Bahamian cousins, would be indistinguishable. These folks really know how to cook shrimp! The service was enthusiastic and attentive.

While at lunch, we received a poor air quality report on the new Droid…the wind had gone south (literally) and the fine particulates from the burn-off were expected to be raining down on us all day. And between entering the restaurant and leaving the smell of smoke had returned. A few miles away, back at River Dunes the aroma was gone.

As an adventure, it isn’t much. As a delivery trip it’s pretty much the norm. As a way of life, it suits us fine.

Eighth Deadly Sin (PIZZA)

It came on time.
It was hot!
It came as ordered.
The dough was hand-made and yeasty.
The ingredients were balanced and generous.
The price was fair.
We’ll do it again.

If you find yourself in or near Little River,SC.  Treat yourself to Little River House of Pizza. 843-280-0772.

No Rain in this Forecast

A wind came up out of the sea,
And said, “O mists, make room for me.”
It hailed the ships, and cried, “Sail on,
Ye mariners, the night is gone.”
And hurried landward far away,
Crying, “Awake! it is the day.”
….
Longfellow

Whiteside Creek, SC