We left Beaufort, NC on Sunday with a great two week forecast ahead of us and a plan to make some serious headway south. And we are! We have been moving about 40 to 50 nautical miles a day, which allows us to do all of our maneuvering during daylight hours. For us, this is an important part of enjoying the trip. This stretch of the ICW is narrow, with lots of shoaling, meaning we could go aground even though we are in the middle of the channel (#notgood). Travelling during daylight hours doesn’t prevent this, but it does reduce our stress a bit since night time navigation requires heightens awareness no matter where you are. What does reduce our chances of going aground? Bob423.
Who the heck is Bob423? Well, he is an ICW aficionado who freely recorded his “didn’t run aground” tracks of the ICW and made them public and downloadable. Incredible. Sometimes these tracks mean doing some odd zigs or zags off the main channel. It seems wrong at times but it actually gets us around some pretty serious shoaling. The best part? It is up to date as of this fall. That is the challenging part of paper charts or rarely updated navigation tools. Shoaling happens all the time. Knowing what shoaling was present in 1989 doesn’t help much in 2022 (1989 shoaling info is actually included in our charts!!!).
The ICW, this part anyway, is kind of like travelling any big highway, like the oh-so familiar Canadian 401. It is narrow and, in-between towns, there is nothing to see. Well, except dolphins. That’s right! Dolphin sightings are almost a constant thing now. These social little creatures pop up regularly to play around our bow or give us a wave. It is an incredible experience and something I don’t think we will ever get bored of. We are grateful for each and every encounter, especially in the early morning hours. I mean, coffee with your best dolphin bud? Incredible!
We finished off our time in North Carolina with two great stops. One was the beautiful anchorage at Wrightsville Beach where we enjoyed a wonderful romp on the wide sandy beach. Ocean was in her element! Oh, and awesome pizza was devoured. In our minds, it was the perfect anchorage 😊.
Our last stop in North Carolina was meant to be a pit stop marina visit, just off the ICW, at Southport. This is a convenient stop that gave us a chance to fuel up, water up and pump out. Unbeknownst to us, it was going to be so much more than that. How? Well, in the morning, we planned a 0930 departure time with Sensai. All our pre-departure steps were going well until…we started the engine. Immediately Mike noticed that our tachometer wasn’t working. Huh? Then, that now familiar smoke and smell of burning alternator belt started (memories of Cape May). Yikes! We shut everything down and told Sensai to go on without us. The alternator alignment issue that we thought we had resolved had reared its ugly head. No mechanics were available to assist but, luckily, a Canadian sailboat docked alongside us came to our rescue. The wonderful captain of Esmeralda jumped on board and, with Mike, managed to realign our alternator. An hour and a half later, we were off the dock and headed to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Another testament to the amazing sailing community. Don’t worry, James, we will pay it forward!
Tomorrow we leave Myrtle Beach (with Sensai) and in a few days we will be in Georgetown, SC. Still chasing the warm weather!
Victoria is a hiker, dog-lover, blog writer and planner extraordinaire. Oh, yeah and she is kind of fond of living on a boat.