Southbound ICW

Our 2018 summer was mostly unremarkable, the bulk of our time spent at our “home” base at Stansbury, tending to aging parents, enjoying crabs from Frank’s crab outings, lots of dog swimming, Mexican Train, and enjoyable times with good friends. We planned to depart Sept. 15, much earlier than our typical end of October departure, but delayed our departure date due to hurricane Florence, knowing that the areas we’d be traversing would likely experience damage given the dire forecasts. That indeed turned out to be the case, and there were travel problems. So we ended up slipping lines on Sept. 25. Although there were some problem areas due to Florence, in particular the Socastee swing bridge that was out of commission for several weeks. We were blessed with favorable weather and were able to make several ocean runs and bypass those problem areas.

Of the areas we typically transit, North Carolina was hardest hit, particularly New Bern and Oriental. Our original plans considered a stop in New Bern, but with one marina destroyed and another sustaining significant damage, we put off any thoughts of a visit. We did stop in Oriental; the public dock sustained only minor damage, however most of the structures in town had damage on the first floor. The curbs were stacked with brush and construction debris awaiting disposal. It was quite a mess.

As if Florence wasn’t enough, as we made our way south we watched as Michael developed. Although hurricane warnings weren’t issued for our area, there’s never a clear-cut prediction. Understandably, contingency planning parallels our daily travel plans in those circumstances. As the storm progressed, we decided to stay put at Beaufort, SC. Our stopover began on a mooring ball, but we opted to move to the marina. It would enable us to stow the dinghy and have shore access for the dogs rather than try to dinghy to shore in gale conditions. The latest predictions were for gale storms for our area, so we doubled up on lines, fenders, and taped up the pilothouse doors. Storm ready. We had some 40-50 kt gusts, lots of rain, and the Beaufort River got pretty snotty, but we were secure. No storm-related damage, and the storm passed without any significant local impact. On to Savannah.

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