Waccamaw River, SC
We are cruising in the Intracoastal Waterway between Myrtle Beach and Georgetown. We should get to Georgetown this afternoon and to Charleston tomorrow. The trip has been pleasant and uneventful, except for being radio witnesses to a tragedy.
One man was killed yesterday when a boat overturned in breaking waves in Carolina Beach Inlet. We listened to a blow-by-blow report mostly from a cool and capable boater who notified the Coast Guard, got EMT's called to the closest marina, and helped get the occupants to the marina. Another boater had braved his way into the breakers, nearly capsizing himself, and recovered the four occupants, one of whom was unconscious. CPR was administered and EMT's were waiting at the marina, but we learned last night from the news that the unconscious victim couldn't be revived. We passed the marina just after the occupants of the boat were brought there. See "Garner man drowns at Carolina Beach inlet after boat capsizes".
Carolina Beach is an unmarked inlet reported in guidebooks as a small boat inlet to be used only with local knowledge. When strong tides run into opposing wind these inlets can build up dangerous breaking waves. Apparently this group tried to turn around in the inlet, which got them broadside to the waves and flipped over their boat. It was reported that no one on the boat was wearing a life jacket.
Since leaving River Dunes we have spent nights at Swansboro, NC, Wrightsville Beach, NC, and Myrtle Beach, SC. We are now entering one of the most beautiful areas of the ICW where we will pass through the 29,000-acre Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge. Once we enter it, we will see mostly nothing but wilderness and wildlife, and a few other boats. I wrote about this area near Georgetown on our last pass through here in "My Ancestral Home".
The Wildlife Refuge has an ultimate "Acquisition Boundary" of some 55,000 acres, and there is an ongoing land purchase program within the boundary for interested sellers. Some of the current area is owned while other parts are managed as a part of conservation easements and long-term leases. The history of the area is fascinating and can be read about on the Refuge website.
We are having a great trip and continue to enjoy spectacular weather, even though it was not cooperative when we had opportunities to go to sea. We plan to get the boat to the Charleston area by tomorrow night where we will leave it and drive back home to Richmond Hill.
We arrived in Georgetown at 2:45 this afternoon. The fuel price here seemed quite reasonable at $1.75 per gallon. I have seen lower prices in a few places but also I have seen prices of $3.35 a gallon, nearly double the price here. I still had about 500 gallons onboard after last fueling in January, and could have waited until the new year to refuel, just because I could. Nevertheless, I decided to take advantage of our early arrival and fill the tanks. We took on 1,240 gallons. Having run for 251 hours and 1,565 miles since our last fueling, this meant we had averaged burning 4.9 gallons per hour at an average speed of 6.23 knots. We are getting 1.26 nautical miles per gallon to move around our three-bedroom second home, including some heavy fuel use for the generator in hot weather. We'll see what fuel prices look like in about another year.