Date: Apr 21 to May 15
Total Distance: 352 nm
Route: ICW, Albamarle Sound, Pamlico Sound: Georgetown, Oak Island,
Wrightsville Beach, Beaufort, Pungo River, Broad Creek, Great Bridge,
Click on the map for a bigger image. The purple line is the ICW route.
|Apr 21 Left GeorgeTown anchorage around 6:30am.
For the first time, we were able to stay up in the flybridge all day
long as it turned out to be a perfect summer day with temperatures in
the mid 80s, a slight wind, and most importantly, mosquitoes
were nowhere to be found! Initially, our plan was to tie up at
Barefoot's Landing (free, up to a maximum of 3 nights! Step outathere
and you'll be in the outlets), slightly north of Myrtle Beach, but
there was no empty spot. Plan B was to anchor 7nm north at
Little River, but found out soon enough that it has only about 3 feet
of water. Our boat draws 3.5 feet and we were there at low tide. A
sailboat, having had the same idea went in and got stuck there for a
little while. So we kept chugging along...passing the North and South
Beach Pontoon Bridge
Statute Mile (SM) 337.9, around 2:30pm, we waited and waited for
the Sunset Beach Pontoon Bridge to open. It apparently opens on the
hour. This bridge is a relic indeed. It swings to one side, and you have
to wait till the attendant lowers the cable before passing through.
Two hours later, we fueled and docked at Blue Water Point Marina for the
night. We ate at the Fish Restaurant at the marina. Eileen finally tried
the Frogmore Stew with jumbo shrimp, crayfish, sausage and potatoes
($13.95), Sophal had the Fried Platter of flounder and deviled crab with
fries ($12.95). Both choices were superb.
22 We awoke to a glorious
chatting with the people at the marina office, we walked across the street to
Long Beach. We walked all the way up to the pier, about 5 miles away.
Quite a few people had already cast in their lines and patiently waiting
for their catch.
The beach was strewn with shells and even jellyfish, some of them
still alive. Along the way, Eileen found a beautiful whelk,
her best find ever! As we walked further, we found another one that was
still alive! We tried to save it by throwing it back to the ocean.
Sunrise at Blue Water Point Marina
The day turned out to be another beautiful summer-like day. Again, we
drove up in the flybridge almost all day for 35 nautical miles before
anchoring at Wrightsville Beach Basin. Excellent place to anchor with
depth of about 10 feet, but be prepare to rock a little as this is a
bustling place with boaters, yacht club and marinas galore, and where boaters
do not heed the "No Wake"
sign. With or without a dinghy, the evening promises not to be boring.
anchorage at 07:00, and just missed the bridge opening. Instead of
waiting for the next hour, we decided to test Mai Thaiís vertical
clearance, and verified it to be just about 17 feet, instead of the 20
we had originally thought. Phew, what a relief! Now we can go under more
bridges without having to plead with them bridge operators. An hour into
our way, we sighted a tugboat named Miss Peggy (no, Peggy, we're not
making the name up) pulling a l-o-o-o-ong barge.
I came up to the flybridge with bagels and cream cheese. As we were
munching away, Sophal commented on how this area (SM 270, just past
marker 98) was so peaceful it was almost boring, all of a sudden we felt
a jolt so hard plates fell off our laps. Both our eyes went to the depth
sounder which read about 3-4 feet of water. The propeller had nudged
into a shoal. We immediately lower the throttle, then try to maneuver
our way out of these shallow waters. This stretch of water from
Wrightsville Beach to Beaufort (pronounced Bow-fort, by the way) is very
narrow, as there are lots of shoaling, especially around the inlets. One
has to be cautious and pay attention to the markers at all times. It is
never a dull moment out here. We were told later by the locals that even
if you are heading for the next marker, you have to make sure your stern
is also lining up with the marker behind you, as the wind will blow you
to the port side ( from a North-bound cruiser point of view). All in
all, we almost ran aground 4 times on this leg of the our trip. We
decided that on the way back, we will skip this part of the ICW and go
out in the ocean instead.