Long day fighting the tides

Charleston SC, ICW
Position:32 45.238N, 080 00.670W
Posted by Bill

We left at 6 AM this morning so that we could get through the Ladies Island Swing Bridge before 6:30. The bridge is closed on weekdays from 6:30 to 9 to accommodate rush hour traffic, and if we waited until after the restricted hours we would 1) not make our destination by dark, and 2) not be able to time the tides to get through the 6 major shoal areas we have to deal with. So, up before the sun and through the bridge we went. We were treated to a nice sunrise:

It was a long day of winding rivers and strong currents that pushed and pulled the boat all over the place, so you had to pay attention or you got in trouble. We had good water depth from the tide until we hit the last shoal area, the Dawho River. Of the 3 boats, we have the deepest draft of 5.5 feet. At the Dawho River a catamaran sail boat that draws 3.75 feet ran aground in front of us. We were in the lead and after asking if they needed assistance, they told us to stay closer to the red buoys than the green to get deeper water. We did and ended up dragging through the mud for about 50 yards, but all 3 of us made it out of the shoal area. We were at dead low tide and most of the 40 minutes of traversing the area we had less than a foot of water beneath us. A couple of boats passed us going south and we heard them on the marine radio saying they had also gone aground.

There are lots of homes with long docks along these rivers, but I think these were the longest I have seen:
I can’t imagine paying for this to be built and for it to be maintained.

We didn’t have enough daylight to get into Charleston, so we took a slip at St Johns Yacht Harbor west of Charleston. As we were getting close to Charleston, we heard about a sailboat that caught on fire, anchored across from the city marina. We listened to the drama unfold on the marine radio as it exploded and sunk. Thankfully no one was on board, and no one was hurt.

It was a long day…several long days this last week, and I am exhausted. Tomorrow we will go into Charleston for a few days and then make the final push to Southport NC, where we plan to dock for the summer months. Southport has long been one of our target areas to some day live, and we want to experience living there for a few months to get a feel for it. This is a good way to do that. We need to get into Southport before Memorial Day weekend to make sure we get our slip there, and we are also meeting kids and grand kids for a week at the beach there, so we will continue the long days to make our schedule.

Stono River anchorage just outside our marina:

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