Ahoy from Rock Creek, SC on the ICW!
What a difference a day makes! It's amazing what adding blue skies and sunshine can do to one's mood. Thursday was wonderful with temps in the low 70s and crisp blue skies. We got to sleep-in as we couldn't depart until 7:30 due to a bridge which was closed until 9 AM. There must have been lots of boats anchored in the surrounding creeks as we were one of the first boats underway this morning and when I looked behind us I saw a huge parade of sailboats. I had our speed set to reach the bridge right one time, but all of the other boats seemed the think that they needed to rush ahead so that they could be first in line. They got there way too early and ended up trying to hold their position while we motored past and ended up at the bridge right on time and were the 2nd boat through.
The tides around here are fairly large with 7-8' ranges. That means a lot of water flows in and out of the rivers and basins and the currents can be intense with rates up to 3 MPH but are typically in the 1-2 MPH range. There are lots of bodies of water which intersect with one another and its hard to determine how they will interact. One minute you've got 2 MPH against you and the next its with you. In theory it all averages out, but it sure feels like its against you more that its with you. As a result its hard to predict how far you'll make it on any given day. I've been using 5-6 MPH as an estimate and guessing that we'll be on the move for 11 hours. We've more or less been going as far as we can and then finding a place to anchor at around 4:30-5:00. You really need to make sure that you're well anchored as the currents can be very strong and will reverse 1-2 times during the night.
The ICW south of Charleston is lined with wonderful houses. Believe me, Charleston doesn't have a corner on this market, but they certainly have lots of BIG houses on large pieces of land. Estates would be a good description. The ICW winds a lot through various rivers and canals, so you have to keep a close eye on your course. At tight bends and intersections there can be a lot of shoaling, so you have to carefully watch the depths and read the flow of the river. We talked to our friends on Interlude who went hard aground on their way into a marina and were there for quite a few hours before floating off. We've been lucky so far.
The scenery yesterday was wonderful with miles of golden marshes and lots of wildlife. Great White Egrets seemed to be everywhere as well as lots of Herons. We've both been amazed at the amount of dolphins that we see. We ended up anchoring at about mile marker 516 in a small creek off the ICW. We were treated to a wonderful sunset and equally beautiful sunrise. Ft. Lauderdale is at mile marker 1060, so we're about 1/2 way there.
The S to W winds that have plagued us disappeared yesterday so I cajoled Sue into going off-shore. We headed off-shore through St. Helena Sound and had no problems getting out as the charts are very good. We're headed to St. Augustine, FL and should be there tomorrow afternoon. Note that St. Augustine is at mile marker 775, so this is a major jump. It probably would have taken us 5 days via the ICW. The off-shore route takes off close to 100 miles due to the bending of the coastline and the winding of the ICW. There's a cold front coming through tomorrow evening, so we want to be in by then.
We hope that everyone has a great long weekend!
-- Geoff & Sue
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