Sunday, November 29, 2020

Far from the Shallow

 Log 22151

Church Creek Anchorage, Wadmalaw Island, SC

I started today moving the boat back home from Tolers Cove Marina near Charleston. The planning for this trip was complicated by low tides near mid-day and the need to pass through some notoriously shallow spots on the Intracoastal Waterway. I can usually make it from Charleston to Beaufort in a day and from there to Thunderbolt in Savannah on the second day. This time, I decided to travel a few hours today in fairly deep water so I can get through the shallows tomorrow when tides are high in the morning. 

I travelled today from Tolers Cove at statute mile marker 462 for 26 statute miles in 2 1/2 hours to Church Creek Anchorage. Where I'm anchored right now, high tide tomorrow morning will be at 9:19 and the next low tide will be at 3:01 tomorrow afternoon. I am anchored near statute mile 488 of the ICW and Beaufort is at mile 536. It should take me around six hours to Beaufort and, with a start around sunrise, I should easily get through the shallows before noon.

I am helped enormously these days by a man named Robert Sherer. He goes by the name "Bob423" and has written a book, updated annually, which is currently named the "2020 ICW Cruising Guide". I keep a copy handy on Kindle. Bob also hosts a private Facebook Group with more than 9,000 members, It is a gathering place for the many boaters moving up and down the ICW to share information, ask questions, and be made aware of various bits of information such as bridge heights, lock closings, etc.

But by far the most helpful thing Bob does is share the tracks he saves on his annual trip from Virginia to Key West in the fall and back again in the spring. These tracks are amazing and can easily be downloaded and displayed on chart plotter apps such as Aqua Map and Navionics. Once I discovered these tracks, I wouldn't travel the ICW without them. Here's the track I will be using in the first shallow area tomorrow, shown with colored survey data from the Corps of Engineers. You can see that the blue dotted line of Bob's track is nowhere near the red and green ICW markers. I've learned to have faith.

The weather was rainy today, off and on, but I managed to dodge the biggest storm that passed nearby offshore. There is more to come and a Gale Warning is in effect for offshore waters nearby tonight and tomorrow. It says: 

GALE WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 2 AM TO 7 PM EST MONDAY...Southwest winds 20 to 30 kt with gusts up to 40 kt and seas 6 to 9 ft expected. 

So I'm glad to not be at sea tonight and buttoned down in my anchorage. Here's hoping the anchor holds.

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