Chasing Spring, 40 miles per day
We left Stuart Florida in March to begin our run north to Annapolis. Stuart is at statute mile 990 on the ICW. Annapolis is 141 miles beyond ICW “mile 0” in Portsmouth, VA. We had 1131 miles to go. As we raised our anchor in Stuart, it was a delightful spring day. It was sunny, temperature was in the mid-70s. Nights had been cool but not cold. We slept with the hatches open. Ashore, azaleas were in full bloom, the cypress trees were light green with early leaves on every branch. Yellow pine pollen ... Read More
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Just north of the St. Johns River at Jacksonville FL is a new spot to keep clear of. There is shoaling building in from the east at the mouth of Garden Creek. We saw 7.2 feet at +3.8 feet of tide. This shoal has 3.4 feet at low water. Stay slightly to the red side of center and you’ll see 12 feet. The shoal clearly shows in the Navionics Sonar Chart. Because we had significant tidal help our track shows we intentionally crossed one of these shoals to confirm the depths shown on the Navionics Sonar Chart.... Read More
We have been keeping an eye on Watts Cut for a couple of years. There seems to be a shoal building. Half way between G137 and G 135 we saw depths which would work out to 6.3 feet MLLW. There will be less water if you stray from center. If your boat draws over 5.5 feet it would be wise to transit Watts Cut on a rising tide.
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Ashepoo Coosaw Cutoff between R 180 to R184 is shallow and narrow. Our track through here was along the visual center of the cut. On our track between R184 and G 181 the shallowest we noticed would be 6.1 feet MLLW.
This is significantly better than the 4.5 feet saw heading south, which tells us that that the track you take may yield quite different depths. Recommend that you have some tidal help and transit on a rising tide. R172 to R 168 we stayed in visual center NOT chart center. There is over 10 feet MLLW.
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Buttermilk Sound R208 There is a distinct shoal building into the ICW. It is located about 400 feet SE of R208. At 31 8.744 N and 081 20.984W. It shows clearly on the Navionics Sonar Charts. If you are using NOAA charts or other cartography, you might just put a warning waypoint on your charts. Being that it is on the red side of the channel this is more of a concern headed south when you naturally stay closer to the red side of the ICW.
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This has been a shoal area for several years. But there is 9 feet of tide here so with a little planning it is easy to transit. Our observations, after a number of transits over the past few years, is that if a tug and barge goes through at near low tide, the channel is deeper. This was the case in the spring of 2016, but it filled in again. In November of 2017 the best water we could find was only about 3.5 feet. A barge went through in mid-February 2018 and our passage on March 19, 2018 showed ... Read More
Little Mud River has some shallow spots in the ICW channel. Our track was established by the suggested deepest water shown on the Navionics Sonar Charts. We steered the boat according to the deepest water seen on the Navionics chart. Our course slalomed back and forth as we followed the suggested deeper water. In the end, we found nothing less than 5’3” along our track. A track right down the center or 30 feet either side of our track might have seen different and shallower water depth. My best guess is that a track straight down the middle would see ... Read More
The very name of this short ¾ mile stretch of the ICW strikes fear into the hearts of many cruisers. It needn’t. While at 3’6” it is the shallowest section of the ICW we have seen, with 7 to 8 feet of tidal range, it is very easy to plan your transit with plenty of water.
Northbound we find that the anchorage at Duplin Creek is a nice place to stay, good shore access at a dinghy dock and miles of roads to hike. It is 40 nautical miles south of Hell gate and is a good staging point for ... Read More
Little River SC, to Cape Lookout NC
Mason Inlet Crossing STM 280
The coastline between Little River and Cape Lookout faces south and east. Whether it is the prevailing southeasterly or stormy nor’easters, this coastline is a lee shore with big waves and surf. The shallow grade of the beach creates a wave break which is much sought by surfers. These same conditions, create longshore sediment transport, and as the sand moves along the coast, propelled by the relentless wave action, at each break in the beach sand is pushed inland towards the ICW. Veteran ICW cruisers have watched ... Read More