Ttwo 50 mile days, two quaint anchorages and two close calls. The team is getting better!
Navigating the ICW is beautiful but its harder than sailing. Hand steering through narrow channels; constantly watching depths; power boaters that pull big wakes…its all truly and experience you must do at least once!
The mileage isn’t really much different than “outside” but the work surely is. Hand steering (not much use for the auto-pilot) takes my attention most of the trip. I had many thoughts of how just sailing would be easier!
We stayed at the dock overnight in Coinjock but arrived after dark due to bridge delays and I couldn’t remember how to set the chart plotter to night mode so we went manual for about a mile to preserve my night vision – it turned out ok. Our second anchorage in Bonner Bay is a very natural setting we shared with one other boat – just beautiful!
Two close calls on this stretch of the ICW. The first was a hung anchor. Dropped it prematurely in a snag area and had to work at it for a while to free it up. The second was the Wilkerson Bridge. We have a mast that is 63.5 feet tall. Most ICW fixed bridges are 65 ft. The Wilkerson Bridge is 64 feet – we scraped through by a whisker as we got lucky with the local water levels (they were not high)…it was close!
SO – what were the lessons learned? Don’t get into the habit of staring at the chart plotter. Electronics are awesome!…but they can be distracting and one may tend to depend on them too much. My most significant observation is eyes and ears are the first tools to trust…then you can look at the chart plotter…and look behind you frequently! I was surprised by at least three BIG power yachts that just snuck up to pass without so much as a radio call or a horn to signal on which side they will wake you – rude…but reality. Additionally I re-blued teachings from my instructor Captains…Watch the wave action; ripples in the shallows; color of the water. Watch what the clouds are doing aloft and read the wind on your face. Then look at the chart plotter.
After these few days in transit – we are settling into a routine. Still lots of opportunities to practice everything on our training list. Next stop – Oriental NC. We are looking forward to exploring this little sailing town!