ICW into South Carolina

We’re still moving south, not at a breakneck pace since the weather has been quite nice. We left Oriental Tuesday morning the 6th, and made a short run to Morehead City where we spent 2 nights. We won two free nights as a door prize at the Selene Rendezvous, and we had until the end of the year to take advantage of it. Morehead City Yacht Basin is a great stop, not as quaint as Beaufort across the river, but much easier to get in and out, the current Beaufort is notorious for is absent in the basin. They also have a loaner mini-van, $10 for two hours, and we took advantage of the van to re-stock a bit. The second day we rode bikes across the bridge to Beaufort to visit there. We were in shorts and tee’s, nice day. I can’t say I’d recommend the bridge crossing by bike, lots of traffic and a three-foot-wide walkway to ride on with traffic zipping close by! Keeps one focused!

We left Morehead City Thursday, and made a 4 hour run to Swansboro, a great stopover anchorage with great holding, easy dock access and a very quaint town to stroll with some interesting shops. Friday’s run took us to Wrightsville Beach where we anchored overnight, arriving early enough to visit Mott’s Channel seafood for some fresh shrimp, salmon, and Chilean sea bass. Delightful meal!

From Wrightsville Beach, we opted to stay inside and head towards Myrtle Beach. This section of the ICW transits two problem areas, Lockwood’s Folly and Shallotte Inlets, both notorious for shoaling. Our timing put us on the inlets very close to low tide, however neither area showed any less than 8 ft. of depth- 3 ft under our keel. A bit nail-biting, but no problems! Our stopover for the night is typically Calabash Creek, an anchorage with a dubious reputation for grounding. We opted instead to head to Lightkeeper’s Marina, just a few more miles past the inlet on Little River. Our first time there, it was a delightful stay, a large basin that is shared by Myrtle Beach Yacht club, and 3 other facilities. Lightkeeper’s is the least expensive at $1/ft. We enjoyed walking the grounds. As we dropped the trash in the dumpster, we were startled to interrupt a raccoon as he searched for some tasty morsels in the day’s accumulation. He calmly climbed out and went to the top of the six foot fence enclosing the dumpster, eying us and particularly the dogs, who were really interested in him. Molly wasn’t quite sure what to make, Sammy just wanted to roust the ‘coon!
Sunday the 11th took us a short 40 miles to Thoroughfare Creek, a deep cut off the Waccamaw River. We think this is one of the most scenic parts of the ICW, and Thoroughfare is a favorite anchorage. It’s adjacent to a nature preserve, and we arrived early enough to enjoy a long walk among the pines and live oaks where the silence is the most noticeable feature. The pups had a wonderful time sniffing and running. Monday morning we headed back to shore for another walk before up anchor and getting under way by 0800, bound for Price Creek.

We covered the 51 miles to Price Creek in time to head to the beach at Capers Island, an untouched barrier island that is a State Park. Wonderful beach walk, lots of Portuguese Man o’ war’s washed ashore, generally the result of a stiff on-shore blow. Part of the reason we kept “inside” for these couple of legs. Price Creek runs from a junction with the ICW then a few miles where it empties to the sea. The inlet is unusable for any but small fishing vessels in settled weather, so the creek is desolate after dark. Creepy but serene on a dark night!

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