Sunday, November 6, 2011

Chesapeake to South Carolina

Dataw Island Marina, South Carolina
32 27.104 N 80 34.741 W

Since our last blog we have traveled about 600 miles down the Chesapeake Bay and the Intercoastal Waterway (ICW) through North & South Carolina.

Cold Mornings means it is time to start putting miles on to head south. To maximize our daily travel time we typically are underway shortly after sun up. This photo was taken after we had just pulled anchor from Antipoison Creek ( just north of the Rappahannock River) on our last day on the Chesapeake Bay enroute to Hampton, VA.

Cats on a Cat - The dockmaster at the Hampton Public Docks in Hampton, VA. was so taken with Sinbad & Barnacle that he took this picture for his wife on his phone camera ( and sent us a copy as well).
After departing Hampton, VA we traveled down the Norfolk Reach towards Norfolk, VA. Here a downwind leg of a sailboat race is crossing the busy shipping channel.

Nine southbound boats of "snowbirds" waiting inside the South Mills locks of the Dismal Swamp Canal to be lowered about 8 feet into the headwaters of the Pasquotank River.

We made it through the Dismal Swamp Canal and spent a calm evening anchored in a creek off the Pasquotank River,  just north of Elizabeth City, NC.

We decided to take a 25 mile detour from the ICW route and enjoyed two days in Edenton, NC. Edenton is a town of about 5000 people at the far western end of Albemarle Sound.  We took a walking tour of the historic town that dates back to the 1700's.

A view of Edenton Town Docks from the harborside. The town offers two free nights of dockage for transient boaters in an effort to attract more tourism. As you can see Carina was one of only three sailboats that visited. The cannons in foreground were used in the Civil War and were cast using the town's various steeple bells. 

Edenton has been described as the South's prettiest town. Most of the homes are antebellum (pre-date the Civil War). Here lovely old homes of various architectural style line the waterfront. 

Looking west over Albermare Sound towards the Barker house from the town green.  

 We took an evening walk to a nearby plantation in Edenton and came across this beautiful spot of Cypress trees along the shoreline of Albermarle Sound.

We had a brisk sail from Edenton back across Albermarle Sound to rejoin the ICW, then down the Alligator and Pungo Rivers the following day. The winds increased as a low intensified just off Cape Hatteras. Here, we're spending a 2nd day anchored in Broad Creek (located off the Nuese River just above the town of Oriental, NC) sitting out 20-25 knot winds in the same storm that delivered to the northeast US their now infamous Halloween snow storm.  

Sunrise departure from Mile Hammock Bay.  After departing from Broad Creek, we traveled south past Moorehead City, NC and anchored in the protective basin within the Marine Corps Camp LeJeuene property called Mile Hammock Bay.

Leaving Mile Hammock  we traveled about 55 miles to Carolina Beach. There are 3 swing or bascule type bridges along this distance that open on fixed  hourly schedules. This results in having to travel at slower speeds to time your arrivals. In this photo nine south bound boats are waiting for the Figure Eight Island swing bridge to open.

We entered South Carolina on Tue. Nov. 1st. and spent a night in Myrtle Beach. The next day we traveled through the Wacamaw River arriving in Georgetown, SC. This was our 1st time visiting this bucolic town. The "downtown" area is charming early 1900's vintage..... 

..... As is the lovely revitalized harbor front. This was our view from Carina docked in the anchorage....

.... Unfortunately, this is the view from Carina's anchorage in the opposite direction. The steel mill (foreground) and the paper mill (left background) operate 24/7 (lights & noise). Thankfully the winds were blowing the odors away from us.

From Georgetown, SC  the ICW meanders through coastal marshes past Cape Romano. We again anchored on Dewees Creek, about 15 miles before Charleston enjoying a calm & remote anchorage. You're essentially anchored out in the middle of marshes with views for miles, however, you're also completely exposed. We're also back in areas that have anywhere from 6-1/2' - 8'tidal ranges so the current is swift. This is not the place to sit out a blow - as was forecasted. The next morning we awoke to clouds, showers and strong westerly winds. All the marinas in Charleston were booked so we traveled 70 miles towards Beaufort, SC.
That afternoon we decided to go to the Dataw Island Marina, arriving and tieing up to the docks in 25 knot winds. We really appreciated a safe marina dock as it blew gale force winds all night. We treated ourselves to a memorable dinner at the marina retaurant that night. The next day we borrowed the marina bikes for a tour of Dataw Island which is a private gated community with beautiful homes and of course golf courses. It's nice to see the Spanish Moss again.


We did not see any "do not feed the geese or ducks" signs -guess the 'gators keep any flocks of migrating geese or ducks from getting too comfy!