With less trepidation thanks to postings and photos by those brave souls ahead of us, we bravely entered the realm of Myrtle Beach ICW flooding. First though, before that came the sections of Lockwoods Folly and Shallotte where the ICW passes through these small boat inlets that are determined to keep as much sand as possible in the channel. They were dredged a few years ago, after our sand smushing with Ms Ortolan (click here) but with time and storms have once again become ornery, Shallotte worse than her sister to the north, Lockwoods Folly.
In order to properly deal with this passage we felt a fabulous Italian meal at Joseph’s Bistro in Southport was in order and long overdue. A long trip (haha) of 14nm gave us plenty of marina time for laundry, blog work, a boat washing and chatting with our dock neighbors.
If you wondering why we are soooooooo cautious when we only draw 3ft- a number many would love to claim, here’s why. 1) Twin Sisters is our home and we are extra protective of her, 2) Ortolan had dagger boards which we used as feelers in situations like this and if we touched bottom we’d raise them and back off. Twins has no such equipment and her lovely, expensive and newly refurbished props are protected by thin skegs that are lower by only 3 inches. And 3) we’d be mortally embarrassed if we went aground with a 3ft draft boat!
A few miles south of Lockwoods Folly inlet is Holden Beach (one beach north of the scene of tense moments when silly crabbers strung a float line across the ICW- it was new and didn’t sink; we came by in Ortolan and one rudder snagged the line (click here for that story). See, I told you cruising has been pleasantly boring lately. Wouldn’t it be nice to have GOOD feelings about Holden Beach? Yes, there’s hope for that. We read about, new in 2016, town docks along the ICW in Holden Beach. Space for 2-3 boats, water power, access to laundry and wi-fi. Described as courtesy docks by whoever added the info in ActiveCaptain, the town website calls them town docks and the cost is $1.25/ft, plus power. Still, they are a welcome spot in a desert of anchorages. If we (read: RUSS) hadn’t wanted to get moving after 4 nights in Carolina Beach, Twins might have stopped.
What really makes crossing these inlets the worst is doing so on a weekend. Well not this trip for this crew thank you. Dodging little fishing boats with their lines in the channel, assuming you can even see that invisible filament, boats that at any moment go from stopped to moving and who knows which way. No thanks.
The 20-plus mile stretch between Barefoot Marina in N Myrtle Beach and Bucksport Marina in Myrtle Beach was a no wake zone due to the extreme flooding. While most boats,including us, didn’t quite crawl at No Wake, we only used one engine to stay at 6kts and much slower by the homes with water lapping up their yards.
With every few more miles we saw more damage, more water and adjusted our speed accordingly.
How can you not feel awful for these folks? And this is but a tiny drop in the bucket of properties with damage. Four days earlier boats said it was difficult to determine visually just where the ICW really was, the water so high.
For many days the current in the Waccamaw River spent way more time ebbing out than flooding in, so much water was rushing down from streams and rivers further north.
You might think all that extra water might have added a bit to the shallow stretch at McClellanville, SC which lies between Georgetown, SC and Charleston opposite the Cape Romain Wildlife Refuge. You would be wrong.
Given the Socastee bridge closure for many days, the flooding which made it impossible for masts of a certain height to fit under most fixed bridges, the bad shoaling through McClellanville, many boats both sail and power chose to jump offshore because the weather has been mostly perfect since Matthew departed.
I’d given up hope on seeing a bald eagle, because we always do here….
Charleston was a must stop this trip even before we heard … named #1 Best Small City! Maritime Center closed due to damage and we don’t care for the City Marina aka Mega Dock, so we tried the Ashley River Marina. Here we found a couple more PDQ family members Chloe Grace (for sale) and Soul Sauce whose owners we met.
One has to cross the peninsula to get to historic downtown from the Ashley Marina or the City Marina, but we were up to the walk. A marina shuttle is available too and we used it for the grocery trip.
Lunch with a street view and questions answered.
Farm market luck was with us Saturday.
Umm, get a job and maybe afford to live in Charleston!
Some may recall that another distillery is a must visit when we are “in the area”. Stay tuned for “Charleston Part II” to see how we managed it this time.