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Old 01-15-2011, 11:41 AM   #1
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Hey, all. It's been a while since I visited here, what with life's vagaries managing me instead of the other way around. We're finally bringing Sea Venture through the Panama Canal and hope to be on the East Coast of the US before June -- those vagaries forcing us to maintain a delivery schedule instead of a cruising schedule. We have heard that shoaling is now a huge problem in the GA to NC ICW and wondered if anyone has an recent experience to share. Sea Venture draws 6.5 feet and is just under 65' off the water.

Thanks for your help!

Normandie
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Old 01-15-2011, 07:31 PM   #2
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Welcome back Normandie!

Wow, a quick trip up the East Coast, eh? And, you don't want to go "outside"...JeanneP knows the ICW and East Coast well, so hopefully she'll be along shortly with some advice.

Best to you,
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Old 01-15-2011, 07:58 PM   #3
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Welcome back Normandie!

Wow, a quick trip up the East Coast, eh? And, you don't want to go "outside"...JeanneP knows the ICW and East Coast well, so hopefully she'll be along shortly with some advice.

Best to you,
Can't go up the outside with my mother along, so we're hoping to be able to crawl north and enjoy a different world.
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Old 01-16-2011, 02:27 AM   #4
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Hi, there. We've been busy cleaning the boat to get our shivering bodies further south, so I just looked in.

If you're new to the ICW, I'd suggest you read up about the navigation marks and bridge heights, etc. in the Cruisers Wiki before you head out. Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Going North, one keeps Green to Starboard, Red to Port. And things get confusing when the ICW crosses a harbor entrance and you're switching between ICW marks and other waterway navigation marks. The entry in the Wiki has illustrations. The AICW page also gives schedule and times for bridges. Note that the Julia Tuttle Causeway Bridge in Miami is a fixed bridge with 56' clearance! No choice but to got outside here. As you will see, there are a lot of bridges to wait for in Florida. Once past Florida and Georgia, the number of bridges is more reasonable, but lots of inlets will have shoaling, and it changes from season to season. Florida is marking the clearance on some of their bridges lower than the 65' controlling height of previous years (supposedly because a boat damaged its mast because a clearance was not correct - and the fellow sued Florida.

It's not easy trying to make time on the ICW. Though the controlling depth is supposed to be 7 feet, shoaling is always a problem in the Carolinas, and the Georgia ICW is a twisting, turning, shallow maze. Tides in GA run about 6 feet, so you need to watch them as you make your way there. Low tide can be sticky going.

The ICW can be quite pretty, but it is slow.

Do keep a watch behind you as well as ahead. By June most of the big sportfishing boats should already be north so you might luckily not have big wakes to contend with, but beware. You'll also want to do most of your traveling during weekdays, leaving the weekends to the local weekend boaters - some parts of the waterway are insanely crowded on weekends, and the drivers of those little powerboats don't understand "no wake".

I'm lobbying to bring Watermelon north for this summer, but we'll probably do the majority offshore.

Oh! Be sure you take back bearings as you travel up the ICW. some of the channels are quite narrow and it's very easy to get out of the channel. Where shoaling is most prevalent the marks will be floating marks, not permanent, so keep a close eye out in those places.

You'll meet a lot of nice people along the way, so it can be a very pleasant trip.

What are you going to use for charts and navigation?

Fair winds,

Jeanne
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Old 01-16-2011, 11:40 AM   #5
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Jeanne,

Thank you so much for your reply. I'm not new to the ICW in North Carolina as I grew up boating here. You're right, keeping track of those reds and greens is a continuing challenge for me! We've got some in the sound here that turn corners around some of the islands, and you've got to figure out if you're coming or going to sea.

Michael will bring Sea Venture up past Florida, as we know there aren't any bridges that can handle us. We've got all sorts of charts, chartlets, guide books, and C-Map for use on our trip, and I've been downloading data concerning updates and dredging equipment. I was wondering, from anecdotal experience, about the advanced shoaling in Georgia and the Carolinas as far as Beaufort, NC, where we live.

We're looking forward to the slow journey because my 83-year-old mama will be along. We've had to change plans so that I can take care of her, but traveling on Sea Venture is one of her favorite things to do. We bought Sea Venture when I was taking care of her older sister for those nine years, so we're ready for the additional crew...but it will have to be in calmish waters or near enough to a hidey-hole to make the trip safe for an elderly person. Fortunately, Mama, like my aunt before her, has been sailing all her life. Right now, her favorite topic of conversation is the proposed trip through the Panama Canal, where we will rendezvous with Sea Venture for a week or so. Enjoying the Caribbean will have to come at a later date.
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Old 01-16-2011, 11:44 AM   #6
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What a great link, Jeanne, for the AICW! I really appreciate it.
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Old 01-20-2011, 05:47 PM   #7
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"MANXWITCH" 365 PEARSON PILOTHOUSE DRAFT 4.7

Hi Returned from a trip Annapolis / Abacos last fall . Used IWC only going south to Jupiter/West End. Jumped out twice on return (north) 6 month trip. Obviously no problem with my draught. As I use a Navman as secondary nav tool jumping across rivers without a cross check like a Electronic chart a must. Although very well marked river jumps can be a worry. Silt buildup will be greatest at the many inlets . Beware with your draugh very few oportunities to jump out for short hops going north .Greetings.Glenn
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Old 01-20-2011, 06:46 PM   #8
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Thanks for your input, Glenn.
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Old 01-21-2011, 01:27 PM   #9
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Just remembered a source that might be helpful - it's the Waterway Cruising Guide, and they have navigation updates - I didn't know of this when we were last traversing the ICW, or I probably would have had provided some input. However, it's worthwhile.

WATERWAY CRUISING GUIDE, NAVIGATION UPDATES
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Old 01-22-2011, 12:49 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by JeanneP View Post

Just remembered a source that might be helpful - it's the Waterway Cruising Guide, and they have navigation updates - I didn't know of this when we were last traversing the ICW, or I probably would have had provided some input. However, it's worthwhile.

WATERWAY CRUISING GUIDE, NAVIGATION UPDATES
Thanks, Jeanne. That's one of the bookmarks I've been using. It is an excellent resource.
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