Posted by Larry Dorminy | Posted on 06-25-2012
This discussion deals with the choice all of us have made and Captain Fendel asks some good questions of those of you have made the choice.
I’ve never been to coastal Florida and never boated it. I’m exploring loop-capable boats and have found one that is very seaworthy and could handle pretty much anything “outside” would throw at it short of serious storms, but I also know that some parts of the ICW are pretty and some are just pretty congested. From those who know, may I ask this question: IF you had to pick sections to go “outside” vs. “inside” and/or dont-miss sections of the inside, which areas would you go which way past? I’ll also mention that we think pretty/interesting houses and architecture are “scenic” as well as nature spots. SO….suggestions, experienced ICW-ers? Thanks!
We stay inside all the way from the Chesapeake to the keys. As ex sailors we do not like the motion of serendipity offshore. But the big reason is that we like seeing all of the houses and shoreline residences of the ICW. Southern Florida has some of the most ostentatious houses. If you are in to the architecture it is really worth seeing. Carole had fun counting the columns (that we could see) on the houses as we passed by. One had 42 columns!
The drawback is bridges. We did not find many we could not get under as Seredipity only has a 17′ air draft. We are also not in any hurry and found it to be be a pleasant trip through the canal section. Yes there can be lots of boats and yes there are some muscle boats (heads?) that fly through there. But think of the pleasure you will get when you pass them as they are getting a ticket from the marine police. If you do go outside use only class “A” inlets. The smaller inlets in Florida are tricky and can be very dangerous. Have fun, take your time and stay safe.
Mitch & Carole on Serendipity in Norfolk
There are pluses to both the inside and outside, You will probably find You will like a mixture of both. We did some on the inside going down and then did the same stretch on the outside on the way back. Trying to enjoy both sides of a beautiful stretch of water. The weekends would be the worse time to travel on the inside, because of the increased traffic. But there is so much to do and see…..You won’t be able to see it all with one trip…..so just enjoy and plan to return often. We did skip the Great state of Georgia, and we like running the outside from either Beaufort or Charleston to St Marys inlet, mainly because of so much switch backing through Ga. But even though there is lots to see along the inside, The outside has much to see too…….the large schools of bottle nose dolphins, the flying fish, the Deep Deep blue water…..the sky lites up like Christmas at nite, and the rocking and rolling of the sea, and the feeling of being all alone(well You and Your mate) and imagining You are one of the first explorers and seeing through there eyes. Many do stay to the inside around Hatteras, it’s not called the grave yard of the alantic for no reason. Enjoy Your trip, plan as much time for it as You can, there will be spots that You will stop for just a nite and find Yourself finally leaving 1/2 a month or so later, just because You will enjoy it so much. Those spots differ for all of us, but no doubt You will find Yours! You will hear about places that are not boater friendly, we passed through a lot of those places and did not find the same, not that we were any different or any different of a boat, but sometimes a little common sense, and choosing an anchorage that isn’t always right in the middle of someone elses view that they paid millions for and treating others the way we would want to be treated, goes a long ways. So, it’s like a sailor once told me, most of us tell tales, and each time we add a little bit to it, it’s Your job to figure out whats truth and what’s tale, good luck with that. And enjoy all the good tales, both the ones heard and the ones told!
Clay & Mary S/V Gemini
Do it according to the weather. When the winds are favorable offshore runs can be pleasant and quick–when the weather is against you, the inside is the way to go. Use only the major all-weather inlets and you will be happier. Having said that, my very favorite stretch, which I always do on the inside, is Mile 0 to 205, from Norfolk down to Beaufort. I also consider Charleston, Beaufort, SC, and Cumberland Island to be must-see places, but there are many other wonderful areas.
John is a noted maritime author and experienced cruiser: