Up before sunrise this morning so as to be ready to cast off at first light. About 1.5 hours ahead, at ICW speed, was an ICW section known as Minim Creek. Very shallow and shoaling. In one section, the channel is 23’ wide extreme Shallow on either side. Then about 10 miles beyond that is McClellanville where there is another couple of miles of extremely shallow water. Both areas at low tide are shallow enough that I could bottom out. Absolute low tide in those two areas would be between noon and 12:30pm. So an early start was called for meaning I should go through those areas between 9 and 10:30 am – mid falling tide.
This was planning and math done by many. By dawn, I joined about a dozen boats leaving Harbor Walk and heading south. Lots of radio chatter! By the time I reached Minim my depth sounder ‘froze’ showing a constant reading of 21.2’ and I couldn’t get it back on line. So I was unable to “see” the depth for the remainder of the day. In addition, there was a dredge halfway through Minim with attendant tugs and lots of floating dredge pipes. As I was first, I contacted the dredge for safe passing directions. The flotilla made it through the hazards and shallows and emerged unscathed on the south side😎. Outside of that it was a perfect sunny travel day. Altogether it was a 50 nm day and I am now almost 460 statute miles south of Norfolk VA and 680 statute miles south of Baltimore.
The goal for the day was to reach Isle of Palms – about 15 nm north of Charleston. Though close and my next stop, I didn’t want to handle the large commercial Charleston harbor in a breezier afternoon and when I was tired. As it was, Isle of Palms was a busy little harbor with frequent ferry traffic and lots and lots of fishing boats. And there was a good strong current running contrary to a rising breeze so backing into my slip next to the 3 wide boat launching ramp and boats around like gnats was challenging. Besides boat launchings constantly next to me, on the far side of the launch is a popular restaurant with boat tie ups and the slip next to me is occupied by a charter cruise boat. Including the sunset cruise tonight, it has been out three times since I’ve been here. Also further down the docks is a ferry service to a nearby tourist island. So there’s no lack of people or boat watching.