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Old 10-30-2013, 02:19 PM   #141
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It may be me and my squeamishness, but my advice is to not attempt New River Inlet. It is unpredictable at best. Masonboro would be the first inlet leaving Beaufort Inlet that I would attempt.
I just looked at AC notes and it in fact doesn't sound like the inlet to use. I guess I should consider New River marinas only if I'm using ICW.

Thank you for reminder and bringing this up.
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Old 10-30-2013, 09:12 PM   #142
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What a great info!!! Thank you so much guys!

This opens number of options.

Ben, what a great link. I managed to find the fuel prices for SC also off that link. I need to get to know Cruiser's net better. What a great resource of info.

Dockside restaurant in Wrightsville, what a bargain compare to everything else in town.

Now I'm thinking that when departing from Oriental, if the seas are fine, I can jump out of the Beaufort Inlet heading south. If I need fuel sooner, I can jump in the New River inlet and get fuel in New River Marina and then either stay on ICW or go on the open again until Georgetown.

Now, I just need to find good place to fuel up in Charleston area and that would give me a pretty good idea on overall preliminary float plan.

P.S.

Based on what I see, Charleston seems to have higher fuel prices, just like Wrightsville. So, I guess I better fuel up right before I get closer to the area.
New River Inlet is dicey. Check prices at Jarrett Bay or Morehead City Yacht Basin, and go Beaufort Inlet to Masonboro. Reason - Masonboro has jetty protection, check google maps. An unprotected inlet without local knowledge is not worth risking your running gear for, but your call.
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Old 11-17-2013, 12:08 AM   #143
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I wanted to post an update to the thread and express my huge thanks to all who provided recommendations to make my trip successful.

My “delivery” trip is over and my boat is enjoying much warmer climate (compare to Northeast) in Charleston. We look forward for our upcoming visits to the area.

Quick stats:
Day 1: NJ to Ocean City, MD (ICW to AC then open ocean). 116NM
Day 2: OC to Norfolk (all open ocean). 119NM
Day 3: Norfolk to Alligator River Marina (via VA Cut). 70NM
Day 4: ARM to Morehead City (all ICW). 105NM
Day 5: MHC to Southport (all ICW). 88NM
Day 6: Southport to Charleston (ICW to Georgetown and then open ocean). 142NM

At the beginning of my trip I was always using daylight as my limiting factor, but later on I’ve changed my strategy. While keeping a close eye on the weather we had very windy conditions for few days and then slight break for couple of days with WNW winds 15-20kts. After that the wind was shifting to NE and was also around 15-20kts or greater. Looking at this breakdown I knew that I have very short time frame (only 2 days) to make it from NJ to Norfolk to avoid getting caught in NE winds. The 15-20kts WNW didn’t bother me too much as I know that hugging the shore I’ll have good protection and quartering seas.

The only concern was the Chesapeake Bay with WNW and 20+kts winds. Sure enough as I the land ended I lost my “shield” and as expected we began experiencing unpleasant conditions. It wasn’t too bad until we made the turn in to the shipping channel. The seas were building up in to steady 4’ers. The deeper we go in to the bay the heavier the seas got. So, about 60% in to the bay we had easily 4-6’ers with very short frequency at about 60 degrees to the stbd side. I’ve been in much worst conditions, so this was not that big of a deal. I’ve adjusted my speed to 15-16kts which was comfortable enough ride for my boat. To help the situation a little I’ve changed the angle to do slight tacking. It put me extra mile off course and slightly out of the channel (with plenty of depth) but with better angle (close to 45deg) it was better ride. Then, I was able to make sharper turn to port and my ride was much calmer.

All in all I was happy that I made the decision to do the run for those two days. As the NE winds rolled in I was in ICW which was just a breeze to navigate. The bridges and the Great Bridge lock were kind of fun to go though. I’ve met lots of “snowbirds” and it was interesting travelling in a caravan. But, my decision paid off even more when I heard that just a day or two later the GB lock broke down.

From Norfolk I was trawling at about 8.5kts, but knowing that Albemarle Sound can be not very pleasant and is full of the lobster pots I wanted to cross it before dark and call it the day at the Alligator River Marina.

The run from ARM to Morehead City was less exciting as there’s not much scenery until you get to Adam’s Creek area. But, it was still nice to see the surroundings presented by the nature, especially for the first time.

I originally planned to stop by Oriental, but I had a crew that needed to end the trip at Morehead City. After finding out that there are no lobster pots in the area I decided to keep going even after dark and maintain steady course at 8-9kts. It was interesting as I didn’t plan on navigating the confusing area with split channels in Newport River. But, it wasn’t a big deal. I just slowed down for a moment and made sure that I’m in the right channel of ICW. The biggest helper of course was my homework. I’ve plotted necessary section and marked all questionable and troubled spots on my plotter. I made waypoints here that the markers are confusing. So, with couple of quick scans with the search light I established visual with ICW channel and maintained my course with no issues.

After safely landing in MHC at around 7:30pm it put me slightly ahead of the schedule and I needed to review my options for the following day. So, instead of stopping in Wrightsville I decided to head on to Southport. As expected, I’ve encountered few shallow spots (one was very shallow, only 3’ of water), which are marked by Active Captain. From MHC southbound the ICW is much more scenic. There are only couple of bridges between MHC and Southport. The main thing was to time them right and be ready to deal with very strong current when approaching the bridges.

Since I was in ICW I took advantage and fueled up at New River marina. Since I decided to press on to Southport all I needed to do is to pass by the Snows Cut during the daylight. Then, it was wide open and not much difficult to navigate to Deep Point Marina. The channels are well marked, so I didn’t have an issue pulling in to the marina after dark.

The next day I was planning to head for Georgetown. The ICW by Myrtle Beach was very scenic with mansions on either side. Then there was Waccamaw River. Wow…that is something to see. Since I started my trip from closer point than originally intended I was passing Georgetown around 4:30pm. My crew was driving to meet me, so I’ve decided to press on another 60NM and make it all the way to my final destination, which was Charleston.

After cruising the ICW for few days I knew that there are some sections which might not be comfortable doing solo in the dark. So, I made the decision to head out in the ocean to have plenty of clear water. The wind wasn’t too bad and as the night rolled in I had about 3’ers quartering seas with NE 10+kts wind. There were few sections when I jumped on plane to make up a little time, just to make sure that I won’t arrive too late.

I’m glad I made the call, the navigation was much easier in the ocean than in ICW. Unfortunately, there was not a sole in the radar range, so cruising solo in the dark was interesting. The “smiley face” of the moon gave me some light for couple of hours, but then after it has set it was pitch black. I had no worries knowing that Charleston harbor is wide open and as expected the shipping channel was very well marked. After very exciting journey I pulled in to the marina at around 11:30pm. As expected, the current was whipping through, but with twin screw and bow thruster I did just fine.

It’s time to start exploring Charleston area.

Cheers,
Alex.
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Old 11-18-2013, 09:41 AM   #144
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Congratulations on a successful trip.
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Old 11-18-2013, 11:30 AM   #145
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I had no worries knowing that Charleston harbor is wide open and as expected the shipping channel was very well marked..
Glad that you didn't make the mistake some have made, of trying to get into the Charleston channel from the side rather than coming in at the sea buoy. That can spoil the whole trip! :-)

Enjoyed reading about the trip. Sure does bring back a lot of good memories.
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Old 11-18-2013, 11:48 AM   #146
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Glad that you didn't make the mistake some have made, of trying to get into the Charleston channel from the side rather than coming in at the sea buoy. That can spoil the whole trip! :-)

Enjoyed reading about the trip. Sure does bring back a lot of good memories.
Thank you.

I'm usually very conservative when it comes to approaching the inlets and harbor leading channels. I don't mind spending few extra minutes taking a wider turns. Underwater jetties is not what I wish to encounter. Depending where I come from I could cut the 1.5NM buoy by one or two, but I'm watching the charts and depths closely while still being very far out.

If there's something I should know better about the Charleston harbor approach, please let me know as I'll be using the channel on my trips.
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Old 11-18-2013, 12:10 PM   #147
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Thank you.

If there's something I should know better about the Charleston harbor approach, please let me know as I'll be using the channel on my trips.
Seems to me that you have it well in hand, so no advice to offer. It is just that the underwater jetties going out from Charleston Harbor go out for a long ways, and sometimes people who are unfamiliar with the area try to cut into the channel because they are in deep water and a long ways out. Then all at once they have shallow water and rocks!
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