WE’VE DITCHED THE DITCH…

Hi from Mile Marker ZERO!! We are anchored on the Elizabeth River in Portsmouth, VA. After 1123 statute miles, 37 days and 5 states, it’s bye-bye to the Ditch!! I have a love-hate relationship with the Intercoastal. While I absolutely love the diversity that each state offered (beautiful waterfront homes, the ospreys, cypress trees, the low country); the shoaling, slow zones and the wake from not-so considerate boaters, left me disenchanted. Time for us to now navigate the Chesapeake Bay. We are sooooooo looking forward to this part of the trip! My brother is coming aboard on Friday and a week later my parents will be onboard. Yay for family!!!

fullsizeoutput_1de1

Always some interesting sights on the ICW.

unknownunknown

I mentioned in my last post that in Southport we attended an ICW briefing. 50+ pages of navigational aids and hazardous areas to keep an eye out for.

IMG_7584
So much red!

Really, a marker on land?!?!

unknown
Give the green a WIDE berth!

Skinny water after the Cape Fear River had us temporarily sitting on the bottom. Fortunately, we had a buddy boat behind us and their wake pushed us off. Phew!

It was so much fun to have boat buddies for a few days. Having some girl time is crucial for my sanity.

IMG_1269
Gary and Nancy on Summer Lynn and Steve and Kathy on United 771

We stayed at Homer Smith’s in Beaufort, North Carolina. We scored free laundry, a free loaner car and red snapper right from the fishing boats! What these small coastal towns lack in big tourism, they make up for in charm and southern hospitality.

IMG_7325

Rob found his new hangout! LOL…

fullsizeoutput_1db0

I’ve also been trying my hand at crabbing. So far the crabs are winning.

tRp15+wySyGUThieQe0WYw

Remember the skinny water and shoaling?!?! Well, we were pulling into the channel at Homer Smith’s, got distracted, and ended up out of the channel. Nothing good EVER happens when you stray out of the channel. We hit pretty hard and came to a complete stop! Tow Boat US was there in about 15 minutes. Captain Andy assessed the situation and said our starboard side was in 8 feet of water, but the port side was in 3.5 feet. No damage was done to the props, and we were easily pulled off! Another lesson learned.

fullsizeoutput_1dc7

fullsizeoutput_1dc2
Captain Andy to the rescue!

One of our favorite stops so far was Cape Lookout Bight. We left the inlet at Beaufort, NC and headed south-east to the Southern Outer Banks. There are no marinas, restaurants or boat traffic. Just peace and quiet, beautiful beaches and wild horses. We dinghied around, walked the beaches and gave clamming a shot.

My nephew and his family live just outside of Elizabeth City in Hertford. We docked at Elizabeth City Docks and spent the day with Maury and Dawn and the kids. My heart was full…it was so great to hang with family and they took such good care of us!

Was hoping for a rose from the Rose Buddies…hmmmm, legend or myth?!?!

Couldn’t get enough of the kids!

Our last stop on the ICW was Coinjock Marina. Coinjock has a 1200 foot long dock. We counted 21 boats while we were there. You pull up to the wall and dock in front of the boat already there. Boats are docked stern to bow with literally no room in between. Fortunately, leaving in the morning isn’t a problem because everyone is leaving around the same time –  you just wait for the boat in front of you to pull out. In the span of 50 miles from Coinjock to Portsmouth, there were thirteen bridges and one lock to navigate, some opening only on the hour, so timing was everything!

IMG_7455
Stern to bow
IMG_7458
The dock lined with boats

Woohooo, see you later ICW.IMG_7485

Our first lock on the Loop. Only 140 more to go!IMG_7487-1

The Chesapeake awaits! We’ve got some really fun stops ahead. Will fill you all in soon on this beautiful bay and how the crabbing is going!

Over and out!

xo, The Admiral

THE DITCH

Hi everyone! Sorry to keep you guys all hanging! I bet some of you were wondering if we actually turned Nautilus around and went home. Not a chance! Stuff happens when you own a boat…just like owning a car or a land based home. We knew going into this adventure that flexibility and resilience were key. Despite some obstacles and rookie mistakes, we are having a fantastic time.

After 14 days…14 enjoyable, but somewhat frustrating days, Charleston is in our rear view mirror and we are back to cruising the Ditch (ICW) again. The boatyard in Charleston was amazing and actually pulled the boat a third time in hopes of narrowing in on our vibration problem. No luck. At this point, we knew Nautilus was safe to cruise so we made the decision to continue north and deal with the vibration later. 

IMG_0158-1
Nautilus cruising the Stono River behind John and Brandy’s house. Bye-bye Charleston!

From Charleston, we cruised to Georgetown, South Carolina and docked at Harborwalk Marina. Georgetown is a small, but charming waterfront town. We arrived late in the afternoon so most shops and historical landmarks were closed. We did make it to Independent Seafood Market and scored some fresh shrimp and flounder. I also made a new friend! 

fullsizeoutput_1df5
Waiting for fish handouts!

My favorite stretch so far was cruising the Waccamaw River from Georgetown to North Myrtle Beach. The River was refreshingly beautiful and was just what I needed to give me back that ewwww, ahhhhh feeling. The Waccamaw was wide and deep and lined with cypress trees and endless osprey nets.

Even the infamous Rock Pile was relatively easy. The Rock Pile is a 3-mile narrow stretch of the ICW with submerged rocks and a rock shelf. When the ICW was being built, a solid ledge was discovered in this area. To stick to budget and time, the Army Corp of Engineers merely made the area narrower.

fUBgPG0pT0qYuBVPj++f9gIMG_0053IMG_0046

Just stay in the channel and don’t hit the rocks! Mission accomplished! 

Today was bridge day. After9 fixed bridges and 3 swing bridges, we arrived in North Myrtle Beach! 

IMG_7177

IMG_7186

After docking in Myrtle Beach Yacht Club, we noticed all the Looper Burgees in the Marina. We walked the docks and met four other looper boats and attended our first docktails. You guys, the Looper family is amazing. I left with my stomach and heart full (and lots of boat cards). 

fullsizeoutput_1ded
Advertising on the ICW.

The most exciting thing about today is crossing the *state line*. GPS told me that at 11:05am we crossed into North Carolina. Yipppeee…I think!

The ICW never ceases to amaze me. How does this shoaling happen? Why are the sunken boats still here? Why areeeeee there sunken boats? 

We ran into someone who told us a little story about cruising the ICW. He said “there are three types of boaters. Those that have run aground. Those that will run aground. And the liars”. We laughed and nodded. You guys, the ICW is a two person job. It’s usually Rob driving and me on alert with every guide book we own, the binoculars and watching waterway alerts on my phone. 

The dredge operator is on the radio telling us “move closer to the dredge. If you’re not right next to us, you’re gonna hit bottom”. What on earth? The funniest thing to me is the grill…lol! 

IMG_7255-2
Pass the burger.

We safely arrived in Southport and attended a seminar at the marina about traversing the ICW. It will prove to be invaluable. 

Stay tuned…

Over and out!

xo, Admiral

p.s. Catch up with Rob in Captains Corner