Wednesday, April 17, 2019

McClellanville to North Myrtle Beach

Looooong day. There's a storm coming on Friday. This way, it's a very short day Thursday and we can hunker down for the next Spring blow.

Russ did want to add another statistic to our metrics: The number of deer flys we kill. Right now the count is 7.

You can't have a long day without some interesting stories to tell. When we started off around 7:15 am the morning was cool and misty, making the travel quiet and peaceful. Russ set up a space heater to help keep our feet warm, which worked wonderfully.

Right away we went through what we believe to be our last shallow section. Leaving early also had the benefit of a high tide, which made that trivial. 

We had a couple of dolphin hitchhikers. They don't stay long, but they're still awesome to watch.
Misty morning

By 10 am the sun was out and temps got moderate, mid-70s. We took turns getting some excercise in as we wandered through the section called Waccamaw River. Wide, twisty, and lined with cypress trees most loopers think this is the prettiest part of the ICW. We'd have to agree.

Russ at the helm, we used the auto-pilot. We had our speed up a bit, trying to shorten the day just a little, running about about 9.5 knots. Now, you'd think the auto-pilot would take our speed into consideration, but on a particular turn it seemed sluggish. Russ decided to steer himself and reached to turn off the auto-pilot. Instead, he knocked the controls out of their cradle. Then he quickly reached for that, and knocked the throttle into high speed. At this point I lept from my seat and slammed the throttle down. There was a loud thunk as we came to a slow stop, just a few feet from the bank.

No, we didn't run aground (at least we don't think so). Given the trees we believe we kicked up a log that bumped into the hull. We could navigate (and if you run aground typically you can't -- sadly we know this from experience) so we managed to turn her back into deep waters and continue. We checked all the hull compartments, though, just to make sure we didn't puncture anything. 

One of two swing bridges we passed through.
That's As You Wish ahead of us.
Nerves rattled, Russ insisted on piloting for a while, kind of a "get back on the horse" thing. We emerged from the river unscathed.

We had to call for a couple of swing bridges to open for us. It seems like such an outdated technology, kind of a "days gone by" thing.

When we attended the looper-con in Fort Myers, the man who talked about this section of the trip warned the room about "The Rock Pile." Sounds ominous, don't it? Just past Barefoot Landing they had to blast the channel from rock. It's deep enough, but fairly narrow. Wander too far and you won't be hitting soft sand or mud. You'll be hitting rock.

Russ let me pilot that part. That was a shame, too, because it wasn't a big deal at all. If there hadn't been such hoopla made over it, we wouldn't have thought a thing about it. All day I was amping up for "The Rock Pile," which was the last part to navigate before our marina, I fretted over how tired I'd be by then, and ... nada. Nothing. Just no big.

We caught up to As You Wish (who got off the mud yesterday and passed us last night). Both of us headed for the same marina, the Myrtle Beach Yacht Club. We followed her to the fuel dock where we tanked up, then I parked Cat-n-Dogs on a T-head nearby. By the time we sat down to eat dinner, it was 6:30.

The plan is another early start tomorrow, but travel a very short day. We hope to be in Southport, North Carolina, by noon... and get ready for the next storm.

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