Squeezing South Toward Beaufort, SC

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This morning, we left Charleston at about 9:30. Scott was aiming for slack tide (when the tide is neither coming in or going out, resulting in near zero current), making it easier for us to get out of our slip. The currents around the marina make docking a challenge.

We  had planned to go out of the inlet, and do an ocean run to Fernandina Beach, Florida, but the weather isn’t cooperating.

Lesson courtesy of Scott, dumbed down by me:

There is a strong low pressure system off of the coast, causing stronger than normal winds, and bigger than normal waves. Usually, a high pressure system will come along an move it, or the natural progression of weather will move it off shore. However, this thing is stubborn. It won’t move, and has had the eye of the National Hurricane Center. However, by all accounts, it should be out of our way by the weekend, allowing us a more favorable ocean passage.

In the meantime, instead of paying for three or four more days at a slip, we decided to weave our way south toward Beaufort SC (I was recently reminded by my good friend, and experienced cruiser, Sue, that you are always headed toward somewhere, and not to somewhere, never knowing what weather and water will bring). The Intracoastal from Charleston south is in sad shape. It hasn’t been kept up well, due to the economy, and budget restraints. It has many areas that have “shoaled,” or filled in, from here all the way through to south Florida. Sea Life draws more water than our last boat, so we have to be even more careful than normal navigating this time.

Our plan is to hit the shallowest points at higher tide, getting the best water level. So far, we’ve squeezed through two of them. Scott meant to photograph one area, where the channel markers are clearly off of where the “pink line” of the chart plotter tells you to go. He’s always preaching to me to watch the water and the depth finder, as opposed to the “pink line,” and today is a reason why. So far, we are snaking through just fine, even after passing this channel marker that is almost completely submerged, at low tide. At high tide, it won’t be visible at all:

Good thing Howard is “happily” on watch:

We’re seeing many oyster beds along this route. They are very visible, with the big tide change in this area. Unfortunately, you cannot eat them, as they spend too much time out of the water. Fortunately, there are a great many of them, resulting in cleaner water!

The hope is to make Beaufort, SC this evening, but depending on tide and current, we may settle for somewhere north of that. We don’t intend to go into Beaufort, choosing to do a night or so on a mooring ball. I’m still wading through things here on board, finding permanent places for toiletries, canned goods, etc. A day at anchor, with no landfall, allows me to catch up a bit. On Friday, we plan to head out of the Beaufort inlet at midday, for a 24 or so hour run to Fernandina Beach inlet, which is just inside the Florida border.

We don’t plan to be at a marina, plugged into power and with endless water, for another 2-3 weeks, so this will be a good test run for the near future of our life “on the hook!” Here are more photos.

“Shells Sink, Dreams Float. Life’s Good On Our Boat!”

One thought on “Squeezing South Toward Beaufort, SC

  1. isn’t that the truth Carolinas ICW is not maintained in places weeeeew we had to snake thru areas so not to bottom out and geo. far and few between on gas marinas capt chris (chasin tail)

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