FL to CT Day 18
North Myrtle Beach, SC to Carolina Beach, NC
We had a great afternoon and evening at Barefoot Landing… I was able to catch up on some computer work, Susan went to the store and did a little shopping in the mall. That evening we went up to happy hour at The Flying Fish… appetizers and drink were half price… had some great sushi, ribs, calamari and hushpuppies… filled us up! The best part was the oyster shooters… I had a few of those… basically a bloody mary with a raw oyster in it… rim of glass had Old Bay on it… they were awesome! Then topped everything with some ice cream from Maggie Moo’s.
We departed this morning at 0700 and headed north on the ICW…. Dropped the antennas and we slipped under Barefoot Landing Bridge and we were into the Rock Pile… dead low tide so all the rocks were fully exposed… I actually prefer to transit this area at low tide as you can see everything that is possibly dangerous. We passed through with no problems. I think the only way you could have an issue is if you have to move to one side for commercial traffic… center of the channel is not an issue.
Shortly before reaching Little River, SC I heard a familiar voice and boat name on the VHF… “Sanctuary” with Jim and Peg Healy aboard was talking with the Socastee Bridge. Checking the charts I could see that they were about 16 nm behind us. We had made plans to meet them in Carolina Beach tonight and it looked as if this was not going to be a problem. I hailed them on the VHF and exchanged a quick confirmation of locations and the plan to meet in Carolina Beach State Park Marina.
We continued on reaching the Little River Swing Bridge… notorious for slow response… I hailed when we about a 1/2 mile away and was surprised to get an immediate reply… “Bring it on up captain”… I acknowledged and continued toward the bridge… to our surprise the bridge was opening before we arrived… we did not even have to slow down… straight through… awesome!
Up to this point we had experienced little effect from any current… running at 6.5 knots… as we approached the Little River Inlet things changed… we suddenly had a strong current on our bow… it was like a light switch was turned on… It was short lived and as we passed the inlet we had the same strong current on or stern pushing us up to 7.9 knots… but it was also short lived and soon we were doing the yo-yo back and forth as we approached and passed each inlet.
Then we were approaching the Cape Fear River… we had a huge boost from the current pushing over 8 knots… but when we rounded the corner at Southport, NC and headed up the Cape Fear River… it was like we put the brakes on… we dropped from 8.4 knots to 3.0 knots… OUCH! I decided to move out of the ship channel and to the edge of the deep water riding the eddies being caused from the swift current… it wasn’t 40 feet deep anymore but still 15-20 feet and we picked up 2 knots running from 4.5 to 5.5 knots. A small center console boat came up to us and was yelling I was out of the channel and that I need to move to the east… I just acknowledged him and said I was ok… but he was really concerned about us. He rode behind us a about a mile trying to get me to move over… eventually, he gave up… shrugged his shoulders and turned around.
We arrived to Carolina Beach State park Marina at approximately 1445 and we were securely docked at 1500. Our location for the night is N34°03.013’, W077°55.154’. We traveled for 8 hours covering 49.24 nm averaging 6.2 knots.
I hailed “Sanctuary” on the VHF to see where they were and to let them know that there was plenty of space in the marina. They were also dealing with the strong current of the Cape Fear River.