Posted by Larry | Posted on 04-08-2013
The “AICW Problem Stretch” at the intersection of northern Fields Cut and Wright River was dredged three years ago and was more or less clear through the end of 2012. However, as Captain Colburn relates from personal experience, shoaling is once again beginning to occur.
This posting at first created quite a ruckus here at the SSECN, as Captain Colburn originally recommended favoring the “red” side of the channel. Heretofore, the shoaling at the northern end of Fields Cut, always seemed to build from the northwest side of the passage, between the northern mouth of Fields Cut, and marker #48. We wondered if the new shoaling was coming in from the southeast, rather than its traditional direction from the NW, and sent out a special “Alert” soliciting more information from the cruising community.
SHORTLY AFTER ISSUING THIS SPECIAL ALERT BASED ON CAPTAIN COLBURN’S ORIGINAL RECOMMENDATION TO FAVOR THE “RED” SIDE OF THE CHANNEL, WE RECEIVED THE FOLLOWING CLARIFICATION, AND HAVE CHANGED HER ORIGINAL TEXT ACCORDINGLY!!!
Yikes! What was I thinking??
I can’t say I’m sorry enough, but I meant to favor the GREEN side of the channel. Please amend my recent report on the intersection of the Fields Cut north end with the Wright River.
April 7, 3:30PM
North end of Fields Cut — stay way over on the GREEN side of the channel coming out of the cut (northbound).
After spending the last hour or so aground in the center of the channel at low tide, I could recommend staying close to the [GREEN] side of the channel. A sail boat was also aground with us. We waited for the tide to come up and both freed ourselves under our own power.
I transited Field’s Cut in late Jan. 2013 and found the shoal dead in the middle of the channel on the north side. I was pulled off by Boat U.S. Savannah, very expertly may I say. We entered the cut right in the middle of the channel and about 100 yards or so, ran aground. The tide was ebbing, but not dead low.
We were on the bar about 30 minutes before a boat passed us near the south side of the channel and shouted the deep water is to the “green ” side.
Unfortunately, we discovered a fuel leak from a corroded injector and had the Boat U.S. captain take us to Thunderbolt Marina where we spent 2 weeks getting it and one other injector fixed.
Instead of continuing on south, we decided to return to Charleston, SC and lick our wounds.
On the way back north, we paid particular attention to Field’s Cut and stayed on the “green” side and had no problem.
Our Boat US captain said a new shoal had been forming for a couple of months.
Then northwest side of the channel is not the side to transit. There is some deep water on that side of the shoal,but finding it may be difficult.
Captain Phil Mullins
Isle of Palms, SC
We were the sailboat aground at the north end of Fields Cut during low tide April 7, 2013. We had followed the advice to favor the red side and ran aground. The trawler that ran aground with us was close to the center of the channel, on the magenta line. The deepest water was while hugging the green side of the north end of the channel and going close to G47 going into the Wright River. We were traveling northbound.
AllEZ! MT50 with 5 ft draft. Transited Hells Gate on 4-14-13 at 2 hours into a rising tide. Transit time 4 minutes.
Water 8-10 ft. (5 ft under our keel) Fields Cut Transited on 4-14-13 @ 12:25 Noon Entered from South going North
5 ft draft we had 10 feet under the keel. We were 1 hour into a falling tide. Just stay in the middle and do some
cruise planning. Follow you Depth sounder. No Drama, just planning.
We just passed thru Fields Cut on 4/19/2013 and found no problems. We carried over 10 feet MLW for the entire cut. As a point of interest we changed sides (going north favoring Red to favoring Green) at about 32 04.611N and 080 56.836W.
Here are my GPS tracks going and coming last December. My draft is only 4′-3″ but I start paying attention whenever the depth gets under 8. I don’t remember any particular concern on either transit. There are lots of other stretches that seemed worse.