Intracoastal waterway (aka ICW) November 2013

I want to describe for you all what the ICW is really all about. It starts officially in Norfolk and goes all the way to Miami. That makes 1098 statue miles to “motor” through. The transiting of the ICW (also known as the Ditch) requires one to juggle the tide and current schedules, constantly changing weather reports, bridge opening/closing schedules and lots of people trying to use the same channels. The route goes through rivers, channels, sounds and man-made cuts.  Here is an example of the Boat Parade.




Here you can also see the Red marker on the right side of the channel. The motor boats pass us slow sailboats sometimes leaving us with huge wakes to deal with. 


This is an example of the green markers that we needed to pay close attention to.






 We had an additional challenge with this portion of our trip as we have a 7 foot draft to put through all the shallow area.  These birds on standing on land that appears at low tide and we are going right along side it for miles!





This is an example of the salt marshes that are so extensive most of the way.




Long long docks are a must because of the shallow depths and it looks like they put more money into their wooden docks than their house. Not this house however.  Lots of pink  but very cute.


Bird life abounded with pelicans, egrets, bald eagles,seagulls, terns. we also now have dolphins in many harbors. 


We did make two “outside” passages. One was from Cape Fear near Wilmington, N.C. to Charleston S.C. It was 138 miles from port to port. We had a good weather forecast and expected it to only take about 24 hours. However the wind changed from SE to SW to NW to NE. The velocity also changed from 0 to 30 knots.  The other “outside” passage was from Beaufort S.C. to St Marys Georgia. Again about 130 miles of open ocean but we ended up with some rain, motoring about 6 hours and then sailing the last half with a sea that rolled us around. But both passages were warm and clear mostly. 

Here is John communing with the dolphins at sunset on the first passage.         




We have had some good crab dinners courtesy of the local fisherman.  See the tools we used to crack the crabs??


We are now in Fernandina Beach Florida and will be moving onward toward St Augustine tomorrow. Love being able to be in t-shirts and shorts with flip-flops again. We are still moving with lots of boats and will continue with the ICW for now. We are really looking forward to having the kids join us for Christmas. Happy Thanksgiving to you all! We have so much to be thankful for. 



7 thoughts on “Intracoastal waterway (aka ICW) November 2013

  1. i once served thanksgiving day cod. your t’day crabs . . . might be the next direction i move in. i’m envious of yr ability to move around in shorts and flipflops; longjohns season is starting here in nyc.

  2. thanks for the update and information, makes for interesting reading. Love the tools, guess some people use anything available to get to the meat of a crab, hope the boys are taking note of potential Christmas gifts. Jealous about the shorts flipflop thing you have going on, enjoy it! Going to see Rick, John & Tim on Friday-Sunday, will get some photo’s.

  3. Pingback: Government Boats 27b | tugster: a waterblog

  4. So happy to read that you made it to Florida and will be able to celebrate the holidays with the boys. We watched boats go up and down the ICW for years when we lived in Florida and must admit I never realized it was a tricky affair. Loving the photos! We are in Jackson with Josh and Trish, then heading down to Denver to have turkey with Brooke and the kids. Happy Thanksgiving!

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