Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Slowing Down

Our previous impression of the ICW through Georgia

aCappella draws nearly 6 feet so cruising through parts of the ICW are challenging. We need to depend on tide to get us through numerous shoal areas, carefully planning our departure time and the speed we travel. So we've fallen into the habit in recent years of just heading offshore for certain portions.

Cruising offshore definitely has its charms. On a really good day you glide along on autopilot enjoying the beauty. The person not on watch can read or nap or more likely work on ActiveCaptain data. And we can cover quite a lot of distance quickly. But when NOAA lies (excuse me, when predictions don't prove to match reality) it can be anything but fun.

The last time we cruised the ICW all the way through Georgia and South Carolina was 2005. This cruise we planned on doing another hop from Fernandina Beach, FL to Charleston, SC, an approximately 20 hour overnight. You know from our April 20th post that on our first attempt we didn't even make it out of the inlet. On our second, 5 days later, we found the "predictions didn't match reality" so we bailed out at Brunswick, Georgia and spent the next week traveling the ICW, stopping at ActiveCaptain Sponsors along the way.

Morningstar Golden Isles

First, we stopped at Morningstar Marina Golden Isles. They have a fantastic, long, face dock. It's the perfect thing for entering and leaving easily. We ran into some fellow MTOA'ers and got to meet Harbormaster Chris and Dockmaster Chick, both true professionals. We had a great dinner at the Coastal Kitchen at the top of the dock. And in the morning we found muffins and a newspaper on the back deck. We still can't figure out how they managed to elude our crackerjack security team.

How'd they get through our security?

We then spent a night at anchor so we could time the tide to go to Isle of Hope Marina. What a quaint and beautiful town.

Isle of Hope Marina - another long, easy face dock for transients

The marina facilities at Isle of Hope are great. They have a loaner car so off to the grocery store we went and even mailed some hats. We just happened to arrive on the night of the weekly boaters' potluck supper. We met tons of other boaters and ate really good food. Dyna and Dylan got to have a play-date with the other boat dogs and Dylan met his new love Tillie - see the previous post.

Beaufort, SC - a wonderful place to explore

Our next stop was the Downtown Marina of Beaufort. Beaufort, SC is a town we had visited previously and loved. If anything it was even better than we remembered. Another long face dock for easy access. We met up with several other boaters for a terrific dinner at Emily's where the waitress exuded southern hospitality. Dylan had another tryst with Tillie. We loved just strolling through the town.

Charleston Harbor Marina - Wow

We finally made it to Charleston on Saturday, a week "late." We're staying at the Charleston Harbor Marina which is a beautiful resort marina. Every boater deserves a little pampering now and then. Of course, we love Charleston and have been here many times. But the Charleston Harbor Marina is a real step up from the others. A beautiful pool, whirlpool, nice grounds to walk on, and easy access to Charleston with their free shuttle or the inexpensive water taxi. We've been having a great time.

We left each place with the feeling that we wished we would have stayed longer. So we've been asking ourselves. What's the hurry? Moving inside is fine with the right information - thank you ActiveCaptain contributors - and a small amount of patience. We're rewarded with many wonderful destinations and fun times with other boaters.

So while offshore still has it's charms, we'll also be planning more travels "inside" with longer stops and more destinations. Hey, when you're on your boat, it's all good!


Dave Gibson said...

As Pam likes to say, home is where the boat is. And it's a good thing you were able to leave when you did. Isle of Hope Marina is like the Hotel California. You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave. We were only going to stay for a couple of days. That was almost three months ago. :)

Unknown said...

We're just 30 days from our boat dream. We'll be on Long Island Sound this Summer, the Chesapeake this Fall, Florida and the Keys next winter and back North in the Spring.I sure hope we end up anchored together someday.
Fair winds & Smooth sailing,
Elaine and Lawrence Leonard S/V Elle & I

autoteacher. said...

I am sorry you did not stop at the best kept secret on the ICW, Jekyll Harbor Marina. don't tell anyone about it. We want to have it all to ourselves. Isle of Hope is nice and Golden Isles is first class but Jekyll has no equal in the barrier islands, only rivaled by Cumberland island to the south for quiet, laid back remote charm.

Rossland said...

Love that picture of the Georgia ICW.
We have been up and down the ICW 6 times now, and we find it is not scary at all. We draw 4.5 feet, and there is only one place where we can not pass at low tide (Little Mud River). But the tide there is 8 to 9 feet, so even if we were to arrive at low tide, we would only have to wait an hour or two to have adequate depth. Besides, nearly all the ICW is soft mud, so we don't get too excited when we do touch bottom (Notice that I said "when" and not "if")

Summer Wind said...

Glad to see your slowing down to smell the 'roses',muffins or Georgia, SC mud. We love the intracoastal waterway. There are excellent marinas, and gunk holes. Enjoy!