Monday, October 18, 2010

Away At Last - Oct. 18, 2010

Away: October 14 - 18, 2010

10/14/2010 Matthews Point to Cedar Ck, NC – 9.3 nm

10/15/2010 Cedar Ck to Mile Hammock's Bay, NC – 51 nm

10/16/2010 Mile Hammock's Bay to Wrightsville Beach, NC – 34 nm

10/17/2010 Wrightsville Beach to Southport, NC – 24 nm

Total Miles to Date: 118 nm

10/14/2010: Away

Between thunderstorms, we took in the dock lines on Gigi's Island at 10:57 and were officially last. After months of preparation, and months of stowing stuff in nooks and crannies, and months of moving stuff off Oconee ,and re-stowing it on the Island the boat was full to the bursting point and we were beyond ready.

I like to make the first day a short one and Cedar Creek is only 9 miles away and just the ticket. And today, it was not only the “ticket” it was a must. Just after we anchored a 30 knot squall hit dumping buckets of rain and enough wind to set our big Rocna anchor deep and secure. That anchor has never failed me and I sleep well at night because of it. After the storm the Island and her crew settled in, read, listened to a little music, and enjoyed our first “sumdowners” of the voyage.

Short days are a real treat...

10/15 – 16/2010: Cedar Ck./Mile Hammock's Bay/Wrightsville Beach:

Folk have asked me what it is like to travel down the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW)? Perhaps it is easer to tell you what it is not like. It is not like driving a car.

First, you are operating in three dimensions not two – depth is a key ingredient here. The ICW is well marked but not well maintained. Depths on the ICW are supposed to be maintained to a minimum depth of 12 feet. In this economy that almost never happens. Both Oconee and Gigi's Island draw 5.5 feet of water so the “prudent skipper” is always looking for water deep enough to float his boat and there are no clues except the depth sounder because the water is a murky brown/green. No we have not run aground yet but we have seen 6 inches under the keel. However, the trip ain't over and our time will come – some places on the ICW there is nothing for it but to wait for high tide.

Speaking of ICW marks... The aids to navigation can throw you a curve. ICW marks are unique. They are always red marks on the right hand side going South with green on the left. Normal rule for navigational marks is “Red on right coming in from sea.” For example: coming in an inlet or going up a river or creek the channel buoys are red on right and green left. So... you are calmly headed down the ICW and you come to a river or inlet. Guess what? The colors can switch and red is now on the left. Sort of like driving down the road and the rules change. Now you are supposed to drive on the left not the right side with the added benefit of being solidly aground in a NY minute. How does one tell the difference between ICW and regular marks one might ask? Little yellow squares and triangles painted on the marks...and careful attention to your charts.

All this to say it “ain't like driving a car” and you never ever can just “drive.” Attention is require 100% of the time. Thus...short days and sundowners are good. Especially the sundowners!

Houses: Mile Hammocks Bay to Carolina Beach

I've ran this section of water on the ICW from Mile Hammocks Bay to Carolina Beach many times now and am always struck by the diversity of homes on this stretch of water. If you like houses this is your section. There are stately houses with lawns and columns to match, tall houses, squat houses, thin houses, pourched houses, ones with widow's walks, old houses, new houses, ostentatious houses, gaudy houses, beachy houses, clapboarded houses, and shabby houses, green ones, brown ones, pink ones (Gigi likes pink ones), every color of the rainbow ones and yes, just plain butt ugly ones. There are even some ordinary ones but not “ordinary” (read cheap) enough for me to own.

The thing about the ICW is it is almost never a bore if you open your eyes and heart and enjoy the ride. Around every bend in the channel is something new to enjoy and see. Every year it is just a little different and a lot of fun.

We are currently in Southport, NC and will be headed out of here tomorrow morning for Calabash Ck, NC, and then on to Mrytle Beach, SC. I used to belong to CAPCA (Carolina's Air Pollution Control Association) back another life. Every year they meet once in Asheville and once in Myrtle Beach. I've always wanted to stop by on my way South and “smooze” with my old friends. This year is the year.

Fairwinds & Rum Drinks,

Vic Copelan

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1 comment:

Suzanne said...

Glad you've finally cut the lines from Matthews Point - for several months anyway. We'll follow your trip. We have several friend behind you headed south, PDQ Catamaran Zero to Cruising and Island Packet 38' Cara Mia. Both have blogs so maybe you'll see them on your travels. This is their first cruising trip.

Take care!
Pete & Suzanne
s/v Isabella Downeast 32