Once the weather cleared in Charleston, we started making some good progress up the ICW. We had a deadline – we needed to be in Wrightsville Beach by Saturday the 10th – so there would be no dawdling!
Sullivan’s Island – Minim Creek
Largely an uneventful day, although it felt a bit weird to be back on the road after so many days tied up. We made some great time, and were tempted to try to make the remaining 12 miles to Georgetown, but we figured our luck with the current was bound to run out, so we anchored in Minim Creek. Note to any of our readers who may be doing the ICW – we advise that you stick to the East side of the creek! Our first attempts to drop the hook on the less crowded/more exposed west side were to no avail – too much wind pushing us too close to the banks – so we sucked it up and went back over to the east side where there were already about 4 power boats at anchor, but there was more room and a bit less wind.
Minim Creek – Waccamaw River
We were told by our friends Shannan and Leigh that we were in for a lot of pretty on the ICW, and they were not wrong! It was our favorite scenery, and our favorite anchorage, of the entire trip. We plopped ourselves down the road from the Osprey Creek Marina, where they were staying while waiting for Leigh’s sister to arrive in Myrtle Beach, and once again we were so appreciative of their hospitality. Also, GOATS!
Waccamaw River – Calabash Creek (Myrtle Beach)
We conquered the “Ditch”! And the “Rock Pile”! The Ditch is one of the notorious stretches of the ICW – straight, long, and narrow. Thankfully, we had the current going with us, so we were cranking along at 6-7 knots. We had our earliest stop time on a regular day yet – we were “BIH” (Beer In Hand) by 1:30 PM. However, it was a very shallow, very narrow anchorage, and the only one between south of Myrtle Beach until Southport, NC, and so we had lots of company, and it was a bit nerve wracking. After a few hours, we decided to take a chance leaving the boat at anchor and dinghy over to dinner in Calabash. We had some good seafood at The Dockside Seafood House, and more importantly, our bartender/waitress Stephanie was a dead ringer for Arlene from True Blood, but even sweeter. If you’re ever there, be sure to ask for her!
Calabash – Carolina Beach
As the day started out, we were averaging 6 knots and I was really optimistic that we might actually make Wrightsville Beach with a full day to tie up at a marina and ready the boat for Brian’s dad. However, the Cape Fear River decided to deal us a big f-you with 3 knots of current on the nose, dropping our speed from 6.5 knots to 1.8. I had a mini meltdown, as it’s still going to take me a while to get used to having to roll with the punches when it comes to that sort of thing. It all turned out just fine, as we picked up a mooring ball in Carolina Beach for $20 and were able to dinghy to a few lovely pints of Guinness.
Carolina Beach – Wrightsville Beach
Oh, I’m sorry, this was our shortest trip yet! 15 miles in 2 hours, I tried (and failed) to dock – although I didn’t run us aground this time – but we got tied up at the Seapath Yacht Club, fueled up, pumped out, and the boat cleaned up for Brian’s Dad’s arrival. Great marina – a courtesy car so we could provision at Harris Teater, great showers, and laundry. Alan arrived late that night!
Wrightsville Beach – Mile Hammock Bay (Camp Lejeune)
Here we are at anchor on our first night with First Mate Alan Vaughan! A good day today, and great speed (averaging 6-7 knots). We did miss a bridge opening and had to hover for an hour, and then we found that the starboard engine’s fan belt busted, but we still got to anchor by 3:30. The plan is to keep chugging towards Norfolk and get Alan back there by 18th for his flight home. We’ll check in again by then!