There are a hundreds of markers on the Intracoastal Waterway, ICW, that you have to pay close attention to. The channel is not wide in most places and it shoals very quickly. The markers with working osprey nests are the most entertaining. We ran aground lightly hitting the mud 3 or 4 times coming up the ICW. Not something that an east coaster worries about, but disconcerting for us west coast sailors. We did hit something solid, probably a tree trunk, near Myrtle Beach. Not a pleasant sound.
There’s two routes on the ICW from NC to the Chesapeake. We took the Great Dismal Swamp Canal route. How could you not with a name like that? The canal was started by a company run by George Washington. It’s purpose was to assist in clear cutting the swamp of high value lumber like cypress trees. There’s a lock on each end that moves you up 8 feet or so. The swamp was part of the underground railroad in pre-Civil War days, where southern slaves would hide while they tried to escape to the north.
We headed up the Chesapeake with every intention of making Annapolis. There was a weather forecast of 4 to 5 days of north winds blowing 15 to 25 kts. When we got out there we were motoring into steep chop and winds in the 20kt range. Best we could make was 2 to 3.5 kts. At that rate we were not going to make Annapolis in time. So we called up our friends from El Salvador, Tom and Carey on Dragon’s Toy, and asked them about the marina they were at. It was just up the York River from where we were. Turns out they had a slip available we could get for a month. It was $300 a month less than Annapolis and in a really nice setup. Free breakfast on the weekends. A courtesy car you can take into town to shop. Good marine store too. Plus we’d get to catch up with Tom and Carey.
After the tallship Godspeed (above) passed us going downwind, we tucked in our tails and headed to Gloucester Point, where York River Yacht Haven is located to put Jeorgia into a slip for a month, the ICW trip being over. The trip was good, even though we really pushed it to get north. We only hit one fuel dock – and that one twice.
We are leaving today to fly up to Cape Breton to do a seatrial on what should be our new boat. If all works out, we’ll sail her down the NE coast and back to the York River. Then we’ll take our cruising gear off Jeorgia, clean her up and get her on the market.