October 2, ICW Update on Carolina Beach inlet crossing

2 Oct

October 1, I received a credible report from a boat which has made it to Southport. They followed my routes through  Browns Inlet Crossing, New River inlet Crossing, Mason Inlet Crossing and Masonboro Inlet crossing (See September 27, posting).  From there south to Southport they reported that the Carolina Beach inlet crossing has depths which would correct to 8+ feet at MLLW on the track they made.  They report that Snows Cut seems to be about as it was.  Cape Fear River stinks like a sewer but all is good at Southport Marina. This is more good news, but it  ...

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USACE ICW Surveys: Browns, New River, Mason, Masonboro, and Carolina Beach, Inlet Crossings Post Florence

27 Sep


The USACE survey crews from the Wilmington NC district have been very active since hurricane Florence crossed the waters of North Carolina. The survey crews have surveyed many of the trouble spots. So far, the effects of Florence would appear to be far less than we feared. At this time they have surveyed and updated Browns Inlet Crossing (almost no change!), New River inlet crossing (almost no change from last survey), Masonboro Inlet crossing, Mason Inlet crossing, and Topsail Inlet crossing. As a general observation these inlets have not changed very much as a result of the storm.  We’re ...

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Beaufort, NC to Georgetown, SC

25 Sep

For cruisers headed south, the reports indicate that while hurricane Florence wreaked havoc in parts in North Carolina, many of the marinas along the ICW between Norfolk, VA Beaufort, NC are open and accepting transients.  Between Beaufort, NC and Georgetown SC there is extensive damage (See black dashed oval in the attached picture.).  There are no reliable reports of the conditions in the known trouble spots at the CW inlet crossings. Beaufort Town docks reports that they only know of one boat headed south in the ICW.  The boats headed south are going offshore 160 nautical miles to Georgetown or ...

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ICW update report September 17, 2018

17 Sep

Update 12:00 EDT September 17, 2018

As previously suggested and as hoped, the Northern part of the ICW between Norfolk and Beaufort NC is partially operational. Some facilities are fully up and running. Some facilities are damaged but running.  Some facilities are closed. However the ICW seems passable with dockage, fuel and water available in places between Norfolk and Beaufort, NC.  Those facilities which are open for business are anxious to have cruisers come through.  But be aware that many homes and businesses are flooded and already damaged.  Be even more careful about your wake, as in flooding conditions your ...

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Navionics Sonar Charts

29 Aug

As you have no doubt noticed, the cartography I use in most of my posts is by Navionics. We navigate with Coastal Explorer on our PCs and use a Navionics + chip in our chart plotter and a Navionics  US & Canada HD app on our iPhones and iPads. With the Navionics + and the Navionics app there are three cartography options.

  • First is a duplicate of the NOAA charts, but with a different color palette chosen by Navionics.
  • Second is the Navionics + charts. They are built on the NOAA charts but with some added features.
    • In app tides
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Fender Life and Docking Technique.

29 Aug

The following comments  may be common sense to cruisers .  If the trip down the ICW is your first long trip with many stops at a variety of new to you marinas, here are some thoughts on fenders and fendering for you to  consider.

When you are tied to a dock, you will place fenders to hold the boat away from the structure.  If it is a fixed dock the fenders are placed at or near the dock pilings where and as needed.   Generally floating docks are more forgiving  on fender placement as you merely put several down low near ...

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Bellying Up

22 Jul

Hopefully, Carolyn Shearlock’s provisioning tips this month will help those of you who, like me, are useless at stocking their boats for a cruise of any duration. Bacon, eggs, cheese, a couple of steaks, a handful of onions and a loaf or two of bread, and I’m good to go. A couple of days later I’m pulling long-forgotten cans out of the lockers, wondering what culinary masterpiece I can throw together from pickled beets, artichokes, peas and a suspiciously rusty tin of Spam. In the end, it’s usually sardines on toast, washed down with the kind of last-resort boxed red ...

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Weather Prediction on the ICW

17 Jul

As cruisers, we learn to predict the weather in our home waters with relative ease: it becomes instinctive. In the summer cruising grounds your radius from home port is likely to be only 100 miles. You will probably stay within your local seasonal weather pattern. Cruising the ICW is quite different. If you watch the local TV weather forecast in the morning, its afternoon predictions will be practically worthless as by afternoon you will be 50-60 miles away. This morning’s weather center forecast for tomorrow morning will be different from the forecast at tonight’s anchorage. In short, you will get ...

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Anchors and Anchoring along the ICW

9 Jul

Anchors– Anchor designs have evolved greatly over the centuries. The Danforth anchor was a breakthrough design in the early years of world war II: a lightweight anchor with superb holding capabilities. After the war, it became the standard anchor for small craft. Its one weakness is that the flukes may get jammed with a stone, stick, or quahog and it will not reset if a wind or current reversal pops the anchor out. The various plow and claw style anchors were developed to address that possible weakness. However, their ultimate holding power did not measure up to the light weight ...

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Summer is here. Time to test the systems.

2 Jul

As we move into the summer boating season, it is time for to start preparing your boat for a trip southbound along the ICW.  This trip is, for most first time ICW travelers, the longest  continuous voyage they have made on their boat.  While it is true that the  trip along the ICW is merely a series of day trips, and so is not that difficult, it is also 30 day trips strung together. This will push the boat the systems and the crew to new limits.

  • Your engine will be run about 200 hours in 30 travel days getting
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