Please Note That Postings Below From Fellow Cruisers Are Listed in Chronological Order, Based on Publication Date
Yellow Background Denotes Navigation Alert Postings
Please Note That Postings Below From Fellow Cruisers Are Listed in Chronological Order, Based on Publication Date
Yellow Background Denotes Navigation Alert Postings
This leg of Jim and Peg Healy’s sojourn through South Carolina begins in the Waccamaw River, south to Winyah Bay, then turns west into Estherville Minim Creek and ends on Isle of Palms, home to CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, Isle of Palms Marina. Again, our sincere thanks to these very experienced cruisers for sharing their experiences and expertise with all of us.
The southbound minimally marked entrance to Minim Creek from Winyah Bay requires careful lookout or you will pass it, especially on an outgoing tide. And as a sidebar on Minim Creek, see Minim Creek Ferry.
Sanctuary and crew traveled south from Socastee, SC, on the Waccamaw, to Mt. Pleasant, SC, on Tuesday, 10/17/2017. Low tide in the region was early afternoon (13h30). The entrance to the Estherville-Minim Canal at Winyah Bay is very shoal for at least the first 1/2 mile. The Esterville-Minim Creek Canal and the Fourmile Creek Canal have both continued to shoal. We saw spots at 6-1/2 ft at 1/3 tide. READ MORE!
We managed – poor planning – to arrive at McClellanville at dead low tide (10/17/2017, 13h51, +0.1 ft above MLLW). Our depth sounder transducer is 30″ below the waterline, and it quits when it get’s to 2 to 2-1/2 ft above a soft bottom or weeds. Today, it quit. So, I don’t know how deep the water really is. What I do know is, Sanctuary draws 4-1/4 ft. What I learned for certain is, the bottom of the ICW around McClellanville is soft mud. I had slowed to just above idle, (never approach anything faster than you’d want to hit it). We never got stopped making way, but there were spots where I could feel the soft mud throwing the boat around. One of many times I really, really liked having a single engine boat with a prop and rudder protected by a beefy full keel. We never encountered anything hard; nothing that went “bump” along the hull. The stretch between G”35″ and R “48” is definitely the worst long stretch (4 miles) on the ICW at this point. Not bad when the tide is in, but 4 ft or less at low tide, and worse yet if celestial low tide. Southbound, check the tide station called “McClellanville, Jeremy Creek” before departing (or passing by) Georgetown. To stay clear of the McClellanville mud at MLLW, ditch out up above McClellanville and wait for a better tide if you’ll arrive at low and your boat draws more than 3 ft.
Those who have done this stretch of South Carolina ICW in the past know there are some very impressive, long docks extending from shore. Many show signs of very significant storm damage. Several that had nice multi-deck sun shelters top were tipped over and lying in the water (well, lying in the mud at low tide). Many of the docks and access-ways had decking missing, we assume from waves and high water lapping at them from beneath. We saw sunken floats and many pilings askew. We did not see any flotsam, but I would definitely keep a sharp lookout throughout the region. Crab pot floats are everywhere. In fast currents, floats bob underwater. Be on the lookout…
There has been generally more transient boat traffic than I expected this early in the season. Don’t know if that predicts more traffic later, or maybe they’ve all already come through, so slower later??? The big go-fast boats we’ve encountered have generally been gentlemen about passing, but it’s on you if you’re a slow boat to keep a sharp eye out astern for approaching, overtaking traffic.
Peg and Jim Healy aboard Sanctuary, currently at Rock Creek, Pasadena, MD
Monk 36 Hull #132
For a complete list of Sponsoring Marinas along this route, go to SC SSECN Sponsoring Marinas
Waterway construction can provide welcomed distraction as well as navigational concerns. Bill Murdoch sends beautiful photos of four bridge constructions/removals currently ongoing from Myrtle Beach to Miami. And “one picture is worth a thousand words!”
Thank you Bill!CLICK TO SEE PHOTOS!
Memorial bridge in Daytona is almost gone as well. It was a little confusing to figure out where we should pass through the construction work, but in the end we went through the old partially destroyed fendering system with no problem. (2/13/17)
Our confusion at the Daytona Memorial Bridge came from both a tool box and from the general state of disarray in the construction area. A Greenlee tool box seen end on looks quite like a green daymark.
This article by Audrey Hudson of the Myrtle Beach Online relates problems not only for communities along the Waterway, but for boaters as well. Along with debris, floating and submerged, air clearances at fixed bridges become concerns with the added water heights.
Waccamaw River crest to topple record that has stood since 1928
The Waccamaw River crested in Conway late Monday at 17.9 feet, toppling the record set in 1928 from the rain unleashed by Hurricane Okeechobee. Read More!
The river’s third-highest crest was set by Hurricane Floyd in 1999, and last year’s record rainstorm is now fourth.
The slow-moving river took nine days to hit the mark following Hurricane Matthew, and officials say it could take just as long for the water to finally recede back to moderate flood stage levels.
Residents near Conway started preparing for the coming flood the morning after Hurricane Matthew hit, and roads were cut off by water the following Monday.
Residents in areas that have never flooded before along the Intracoastal Waterway and in Bucksport were evacuated days later as the water crept to the crest.
The Intracoastal Waterway was at 19.09 feet over flood stage by Monday.
The code red emergency call system was activated Saturday to alert Socastee residents by phone about the rising waterway, and a voluntary evacuation was urged.
Bucksport residents — at risk from the Intracoastal Waterway, Waccamaw and Little Pee Dee River flooding — were alerted on Friday, said Brooke Holden, communications specialist for Horry County Emergency Management.
“We wanted to make sure those people knew that if they wanted to leave or felt the need to leave, now was the time to go,” Holden said.
There are seven shelters still operating in Horry County for residents who have evacuated flooded areas: at Aynor High School, Conway High School, Green Sea Floyds Middle and High schools, Loris High School, North Myrtle Beach High, Palmetto Bay Elementary School and Whittemore Park Middle School, according to the Emergency Operations Center.
“People need to know there is still somewhere for them to go,” Holden said.
With more than 100 roads closed throughout the county due to flooding and the Waccamaw River just hitting its peak, it will be several days before local, state and federal officials can access the areas to assess the damage and finalize requests for federal assistance from FEMA.
“Just like last year, it’s going to be a waiting process,” Holden said.
Once the river crests, it takes the crawling Waccamaw days, sometimes more than a week, to recede to the point that homeowners can access their property and assessments can be made.
Those assessments must be made before FEMA determines whether to grant the state’s request that Horry County be declared an emergency area.
“It’s a process that has to go to the White House for the president to approve,” said Derrec Becker, public information officer with the state Emergency Management Division.
“Horry County is still in response mode with the oncoming flood. Because it’s an ongoing emergency situation, we are focused on life and safety first, and then recovery,” Becker said.
Audrey Hudson: 843-444-1765, @AudreyHudson
Read more here: http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/news/local/article108738657.html#storylink=cpy
Author Corinne Kanter has these suggestions to make your culinary summer delightful and delicious! Bucksport Marina, A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS NET SPONSOR!, lies south of Waterway marker #36, along the western shores of the beautiful Waccamaw River. As well as making sausage, Bucksport is hosting one more drag boat race this summer in September, as well as a reduced dockage rate for SSECN readers.
If you are inside and near Bucksport Marina, pickup Bucksport Sausage.
Need more helpful hints, you should carry the cookbook CRUISING KISS, keep it simple Sailor? Stupid? or really SYSTEM.
Have a great race. Cook with KISS.
PS. If you would like a autograph copy order direct or get it on Amazon. Corinne had the column in Multihull Magazine out of Quicy, Mass. titled Corinne’s Culinary Corner.
Particular attention needs to be paid to the Waterway through the Waccamaw River south of the “Rockpile” in Myrtle Beach. Concerned cruisers should call one of SSECN’s two SPONSORS in that area, Bucksport Marina, 843-397-5566 or Osprey Marina, 843-215-5353 for the latest conditions which are changing constantly at this date.
Horry County map shows projected river flooding locations in Conway, Myrtle Beach areas
With the Waccamaw River expected to crest several feet above flood stage later this week, Horry County has published a map of areas along the Waccamaw River that could potentially flood.
The map is based on river predictions made by the National Weather Service in Wilmington, N.C.
Food stage for the river is 11 feet, but as of Monday the river already stood at 14.5 feet. It’s forecast to reach 16.1 feet on Thursday, and remain at 16 feet or higher through Friday.
For a street by street perspective, you can view a high-resolution of the flood map on the Horry County Government website by clicking here.
Dark blue areas on the map are estimated at 16 feet and the green areas are estimated at Hurricane Floyd (1999) record levels, which were 17.8 ft.
Although the county map shows flooding mostly along the Waccamaw River, it also predicts flooding in the Socastee and Forestbrook communities along the Intracoastal Waterway between the Fantasy Harbour Bridge and the waterway’s junction with the Waccamaw River south of S.C. 544.
Flooding is particularly likely on both sides of the Intracoastal waterway in Forestbrook area, as well as the Socastee swamp, a tributary of the waterway that divides the Forestbrook and Arrowhead communities.
Horry County police, along with members of the National Guard, will set up 14 checkpoints along the Waccamaw River to provide security for those property owners and assist the community with any concerns or issues they may encounter, said Horry County spokeswoman Lisa Bourcier.
Boat patrol units will be provided by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources to assist with security of those flooded properties, Bourcier said.
Horry County Fire-Rescue will continue to have a presence in those flooded areas and will assist residents who chose to evacuate from their homes.
Osprey Marina lies at the southern foot of AICW section known officially as the Pine Island Cut (a. k. a. “the Rock Pile”), just as the Waterway sweeps south into beautiful Waccamaw River. Osprey Marina is one of the finest marinas you will ever discover, and these good folks are A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!
Arrived for fuel and to get tucked in for the weekend or until the circulation in the Atlantic has cleared the area. Topped off the tanks and while just holding the nozzle was talking to Miles. We both have the gout word in common. Once we were fueled and docked Miles said he would drive us to the clinic so I could get some medication. Thank You, Thank You Miles. I think I’m on the mend.
As always Osprey has been great taking care of us.
Day three and the rain is still falling in large quantities. So to pass the morning we gather for free coffee and snacks and conversation. Watching the bad weather shifting south, not good for anyone traveling south. I think we will stay a while longer.
10/5/15 Monday. It is Monday and all the water is high, so anyone between Southport area and Charleston area, if you are in a spot you can stay, stay where you are it is not safe on the ICW with all the trash floating in the water. Be safe. We are talking to others in the Marina and we are all staying put for now.
Phil and Sandy Herl
Skipper Winter does indeed complement an earlier posting by Jim and Peg Healy, http://cruisersnet.net/?p=138583. Our thanks to John and Sue for this detailed narrative of their recent trip upriver to Conway. The upper portion of the Waccamaw River departs the Waterway at statute mile 375.
To hopefully complement Sanctuary’s posting, we just finished going to Conway and made the following notes. One can take these and mark the Healy’s maps, and add milage to them. the distances are not off more than a tenth at each junction: From ICW MM 375 just south of ICW marker “27A”:
This is the last posting on any web sites that I have seen with any detail. We traveled this river this week and it is still a beautiful trip and well worth the extra time. It is even more beautiful than the lower Waccamaw. First, the Corps of Engineers have removed all markers above “R4”, and as such, there are a few spots that are confusing as to where to turn. Lastly, different postings on various web states the distance to downtown Conway anywhere from 12 to 16 miles without stating whether they are nautical or statute miles. Reset your odometer to “0” for the following information. We use statute miles. From “G1”, the entrance marker, it is 14.3 miles to the last bridge (you do not want to go under that in a larger boat) and about 14 miles to the marina entrance basin. Just as Sanctuary recommends, go to the bridge to dock since it is an easy walk to town. The two floating docks are in decent shape, but the cleats are still a little loose, but there is no traffic or winds to bother you and if there was a huge blow, there are alternatives to tie up soundly – easy. The electric is still there but still no water. Call the marina for space (room for a 60’ boat at each dock, maybe longer). Also, repeating, when going into a curve, stay to the outside where the water is deeper. We entered at dead low tide (on purpose) so as to make better notes. The NOAA charts that end just above “R4” are accurate. We saw 11-13’ at “G1” and then before the first curve, 7.9’. After the first curve, it deepened to 9.0’ Just prior to the second curve, briefly 5.9’, but we were too much inside on the curve. Coming back down, we had over 7.5’. Hug “R2”. First curve after “R2” was 8.3’. From here you will see depths well over 20’ in places. Just prior to “G3”, which is 1.9 miles in, 6.5’ and quickly deepens to 30’. MM 2.1 you’ll see many stumps on the RDB, but 8.1 feet as charted. MM 3.0 (“R4”) stay left at these intersections. MM 4.3, there are power lines that we do not know the height, but any motor boat will have no problems, but sailboats may (this statement applies to all power lines mentioned). They all appear to be well over 45′, but who knows. MM 4.7 at a private dock, make a left turn (it’s not obvious). MM 5.2 shallows to 8.6’ briefly. At MM 5.9, make a sharp left. MM 6.1, there are some nice homes to see, watch your wake. MM 6.9, favor RDB (starboard) for deeper water (7.5’, otherwise 6.0’). MM 7.6 some more homes. MM 9.4 is interesting. There is an upside down arrow sign that has the word “only” upside down on it. Do not think this sign is upside down, it’s not. Whoever put it up, obviously did not have the correct sign. Make a sharp left here (yes, to port). If you go right, you hit bottom (we know – LOL). MM 10.0, another left turn where there is yet another upside down “only” sign. MM 10.4-11.0, shallows to 7.4’ (this is where the river gets a little wider, so it makes sense the water would be shallower). MM 11.1 favor RDB where you get over 11’. Center is as low as 5.2’. MM 11.6, turn left. MM 12.1 is 6.6’ and there might be a very interesting river boat moored there. MM12.3, turn left at homes and docks. MM 13.2, overhead power lines. As you get to a high bridge, you are entering Conway. From here on in, it is no wake. You will see to your left the entrance to the marina basin around MM 13.9. Go past this to the floating docks on your left. They are obvious, just before the bridge. Call the marina for docking, but if no answer, don’t panic. If you are there just for a few hours, docking is free. The river walk is beautiful, and many great places to eat and shop. See the college (Coastal Carolina) – it is also very nice. One could easily stay here for a few days, so if the weather is not so good, and you have stopped at Georgetown enough, then this is the place for you. It takes about 2.5 hours (max) to do the river one way on a trawler.
Sue and John Winter on Just Relax (MTOA, Golden Loopers, AIWA members)
We get a lot of requests for assistance on various aspects of boating and navigation, but this question is certainly one for the books. So come on all you noble Southern Sausage Chefs, lets hear your method of cooking the famous Bucksport Sausage! Bucksport Marina, A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS NET SPONSOR, is located south of Waterway marker #36, along the western shores of the beautiful Waccamaw River.
My son Jeff Meyer brought me a Bucksport sausage and I have never seen one like it before.
I have no idea how to cook it. Where can I find directions, I need help.
School is in session for all ages and all places, even islands! But this “school bus” is one you may not know about, so Watch Your Wake! Sandy Island is the name of a small unincorporated community in Georgetown County, South Carolina. This article by Erin MacPherson is from WPDE.com.
Sandy Island gets new school bus boat
by Erin MacPherson
Posted: 08.05.2015 at 6:11 PM
For years, the Sandy Island community and Georgetown County School officials have wanted a new school boat to get students who live on the island to and from school. The boat they were using was from 1964. And now, they have a new one. “It transports students just like a bus from Sandy Island to the mainland and then we put them on a bus and take them to school,” said Dr. Randy Dozier, Georgetown County Superintendent.
The New Prince Washington is the state’s only school boat.
Dr. Dozier says the boat they used before this one was outdated.
“It was fairly slow, not as accessible and harder to operate. We wanted to bring it up to speed and make it safer more modern. Now we have a boat specifically for that and it’s brand new,” said Dozier.
Dozier says the school board understood how important this boat is for the students on Sandy Island.
“I have ridden on the old boat; it’s not a satisfactory trip. It’s a safe trip but it’s just crowded and old. This new boat is so much better and I can’t wait to ride on it,” said Richard Kerr, a trustee with the Georgetown County School Board.
But getting this new boat wasn’t an easy task. Dozier says it’s all thanks to State Superintendent Molly Spearman.
“This is owned by the state department much like a school bus. They maintain it. We provide the pilot, they provide the base salary, and we supplement that,” said Dozier.
Tuesday, the boat passed the Coast Guard’s inspection.
It seats 12 people, has a place for the pilot and co-pilot, and it has tie downs for wheelchairs.
Dozier says it can safely fit 16 people and has plenty of life jackets for all passengers.
“It looks great and meets all specifications,” said Dozier.
The New Prince Washington will have its first launch on the first day of school.
There’s no word yet on what they’re going to do with the old school boat.
In another of the ways that these good folks show concern for their boating visitors, Bucksport Marina is offering a docking discount during storm conditions. And what a great place to be hunkered down! Bucksport Marina, A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS NET SPONSOR, lies south of Waterway marker #36, along the western shores of the beautiful Waccamaw River..
Special for Cruisers.net readers.
Mention this ad and get .75 cent / foot docking during tropical storm conditions when mentioning you saw this on Cruisers.net
We are five mile off of the coast and are considered safe harbor!
Jeffrey A Weeks
Bucksport Marina, A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS NET SPONSOR!, lies south of Waterway marker #36, along the western shores of the beautiful Waccamaw River. This generous free meal is typical of the concern always shown for their boating visitors at this unique and fine marina. Plus a reduced rate for SSECN readers.
The Grand Opening of Captains Seaweeds Restaurant & Tiki Bar presents a Special Thanksgiving Day Meal!!
The meal is free which will be Turkey and all of the trimmings.
The Bar will be open for business. (Come Meet The New Bartender and Staff)
This is a new beginning for Captain Seaweeds, Under new and energized ownership.
Please checkout the New Menu and The Hours of Operation that will be Consistent with Customers needs.
Reduced Fall and Winter Campground Rates are in effect.
Many New and Exciting Activities and Events are being planned.
Examples but not limited to are:
Competition Volleyball Tournaments, Putt Putt Tournaments, Drag Boat Races, Wakeboard Tournaments, Pool Tournaments, Concerts, Bike Swap Meets, Watercraft Rentals, Kayaking and Tours, Jet Skiis, Air Hockey, Darts, Dancing, Corn Hole, Horse Shoes, Classic Cars Shows, Corvette Shows, Fishing Tournaments, Football/Basketball/ Sports Parties and Socials, Weddings and Receptions, Birthday Parties
A new Website is almost up and running with constant updates (www.bucksportplantation.com)
We offer boat and watercraft storage ($75 MONTHLY)
Plus a special rate of $1.00 per foot per night if you say you saw this posted on Cruisers Net.
We offer long and short term Wet storage as well.
Reduced RV REPAIR rates for our customers
Watercraft Mechanic services are now available as well for our customers.
Please call for more information or for Reservations!!
Bucksport Plantation Marina & RV resort
Many thanks to Skippers Lunsford for providing very recent reports from six shoaling areas between Myrtle Beach and Beaufort. Three of these areas have been designated SSECN Problem Stretches and their descriptions are listed below.
For a recent report on McClellanville, see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=144354
For a 2013 ACOE survey of area north of Ben Sawyer Bridge, see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=125717
For a 12/2013 report on Ashepoo-Coosaw Cutoff, see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=129101
For an alternative to Ashepoo-Coosaw Cutoff, see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=134342
Hi there. We just came through this area in the last week, a bit ahead of the pack, so thought we’d pass on what we found at the traditional trouble spots to help those who come behind us (a copy of what we posted on a couple of Facebook groups). Thanx for all you do.
Dan and Jaye Lunsford
SM 349-352 The Rockpile: This stretch has numerous rock ledges on the sides of the channel so its important to stay in the middle. Not quite as scary as it sounds, but its the first time on the journey that the ICW is anything but mud if you do make a mistake. The ledges are very easy to see at low tide, and there is plenty of water depth even at the lowest tide. On weekends it can be crowded with power boats who may want to pass you if you are a slower sailboat and there really isn’t a lot of room to move over.
SM 430-435 McClellanville: Time the tides here if at all possible. If you’re really motivated you can tiptoe your way through; we saw 6′ MLLW, but so much simpler to just give it a couple of hours.
SM 460 shoals before Ben Sawyer bridge: 4′ MLLW, so its really important to time the tides here. Favor the north side of the channel from before G117A to G119.
SM 471 Wappoo Creek Bridge: This operator is REALLY a stickler for time; bridge is closed during rush hour opens every 1/2 hour during the middle of the day (check the complex operating schedule) but if you aren’t waiting at the bridge before the opening, the operator will not hold even a moment but will make you wait for the next one.
SM 501-504 Watts Cut: Although not listed as a traditional trouble spot, there are numerous shoals to 6′ MLLW along this reach. In a slow sailboat it’s hard to time the tides to have water here, and also water at the next trouble spot.
SM 517 Ashepoo-Coosaw Cutoff: Stay at least a couple of boat lengths off G177 at the entry (“square the corner”) for 10′ MLLW. At the exit, R184 was reported destroyed; a new temporary drop aid (floating can) was placed there on Friday — we met the Coast Guard small boat that was doing the work on their way back. Slightly favor that NW side between R184 and G185, but time the tides if necessary, we saw 5′ MLLW here briefly.
Bucksport Marina, A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS NET SPONSOR!, lies south of Waterway marker #36, along the western shores of the beautiful Waccamaw River. This reduced rate is good news for all you Snowbirds, especially at this unique and fine marina.
Jeff Weeks, the new marina manager of Bucksport Marina, is offering readers of the Cruisers’ Net a special dockage rate of $1.00 dollar per foot if the skipper says he saw it on SSECN.
Jeff can be reached at email@example.com or (843) 397-5566.
Many good words about newly renovated (and under new ownership) Bucksport Marina and their on-site restaurant, continue to be recorded here on the Cruisers’ Net! And, of course, these good people are a SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS NET SPONSOR! PLEASE patronize them and all our other sponsors whenever possible! Bucksport Marina lies south of marker #36, along the western shores of the AICW/Waccamaw River.
We stayed 5/30/14 on our way south. Jeff Weeks the marina manager was very helpful and we were pleased with our stay. We will stop in again.
This wonderful article by long-time cruisers and long-time friends, Peg and Jim Healy, is from their blog “Cruising Aboard Monk 36 Trawler Sanctuary, Cruising Adventures in Another Life.”
Also see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=132447 for an earlier discussion of the Upper Waccamaw by the Healys.
Back on 12/24/13, the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net (along with many other nautical publications) made the sad announcement that the USCG would be removing all aids to navigation on the upper portion of the Waccamaw River, abandoned by the AICW (see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=130563). As SSECN Senior Editor, Captain Larry Dorminy, commented at that time, “While depths in the Upper Waccamaw are reported to be good, the removal of these daybeacons and buoys will certainly make this side trip upstream to Conway, SC more difficult.”
Then, HAPPILY, we received the note below from veteran cruisers, Captains Jim and Peg Healy:
When Sanctuary and crew made the side trip to Conway, SC, in October, 2013, the lateral daymarks in the river were in good condition. With the USCG announcing plans to permanently discontinue the daymarks on the upper Waccamaw, there are very few reliable sources of navigation guidance for cruisers, and particularly first-time/less-experienced cruisers. There are some large tributaries and embayments that intersect the river. Some are large enough to be confusing to those not familiar with the area.
As you know, there are no NOAA charts of the upper Waccamaw that cover the upper river. So, I superimposed Sanctuary’s GPS track on a road map of the area. I hope this will be useful in portraying the through-route northbound into Conway.
Peg and Jim Healy aboard Sanctuary
Jim and Peg are quite correct. Even though I’ve made this side-trip at least a dozen times over the years, without the various markers, I can easily see my tiny mind becoming confused at some of the forks along the way. Jim and Peg have done the cruising community a tremendous favor by providing the cartographical aids, linked below.
A word of WARNING – these “maps” are NOT nautical charts, and cannot be relied upon to always keep you to good depths. Sidewaters off the main, upper Waccamaw River chanel are almost uniformly shallow, so all cruisers should undertake this sidetrip with the full knowledge that they are embarking on a somewhat chancy sojourn. In other words, cruise the upper Waccamaw at your own risk.
With that being said, what we have done is blow up Jim and Peg’s maps to a level that cruisers will hopefully find useful, and divided these graphics into four parts. Part 1 depicts the southernmost section of the upper Waccamaw, with the subsequent parts moving farther north with Part 4 leading all the way to Conway, SC, and their friendly city marina.
Like Jim and Peg, we hope everyone finds these maps useful!
Agree, these maps are better than nothing but what a shame the CG is removing the markers. This is a great little side trip off the waterway that we have done a couple of times in the last 25 years. And…there are a couple of places where you can go wrong if not for a day marker. Caution is the word and I think fewer boaters without local knowledge will be going to Conway going forward.
Several of our fellow cruisers have reported on the pleasant upstream trip on the Upper Waccamaw to Conway, SC. See http://cruisersnet.net/?p=126674 and http://cruisersnet.net/?p=128632. The “uncharted” Upper Waacamaw departs the Waterway at statute mile 375 and, until now, has been well marked off-chart by aids #5-#16. While depths in the Upper Waccamaw are reported to be good, the removal of these daybeacons and buoys will certainly make this side trip more difficult. Our Congress at work!
SOUTH CAROLINA – AICW – WACCAMAW RIVER
The following changes will be made to the aids to navigation system in the Waccamaw River.
All Waccamaw River Daybeacons and Buoys from Daybeacon 5 (LLNR 33780) to Daybeacon 16 (LLNR 33810) will be permanently discontinued. There are seven aids to navigation that will be removed. This action is scheduled to start the week of the 17th of February 2014. Chart 11534 LNM: 51/13
Instead of removing Aids to Navigation, we ought to remove “Aides to Congress”
Departing the Waterway at statute mile 375, four miles south of the Socastee Bridge, this “off-road” venture on the lovely, upper section of the Waccamaw River to the city of Conway, SC has pleased many cruisers and has proven to be a worthy side trip. And now Captain Thomason adds knowledge of a quiet, safe anchorage between Conway and the Waterway. This is very good news indeed, as, prior to this posting, we knew of no other place to spend the evening once the confines of the AICW were left behind, than to continue upstream to the city Marina at Conway. Now, there is a FREE alternative!
Unfortunately, this upper section of the Waccamaw is not covered on any NOAA chart, so we must relay on Captain Thomason’s description below to find this anchor down spot. However, using the magic of “Google Earth,” we have isolated a satellite image of this body of water, which you will see on the upper, right corner of this posting!
Has anyone else anchored on Cox Lake??? If so, we want to hear from you. Please share your experiences by making use of the “Comment” function at the end of this posting. We can’t wait to hear from you!
Cox Lake is a body of water north east of R marker 16 (approximate location N33 47 683, W 079 03 102). Depart the marked route just south of R 16, proceed through the obvious opening to the lake. Depths going in are in the 7-9 ft range. We like to anchor directly across from the opening at the mouth of a wide cove, past a large dock to starboard in 12 to 14 ft of water or deeper in to the cove for shallower depths (10 ft or less). The deepest into the cove we have anchored is N33 47 856, W 079 03 102. Cox Lake is known to locals who sometimes anchor here to party but that’s only happened once for us (and they left at night). Other than the one dock, the shores are natural cypress. At one point there were a couple of very small homemade “houseboats” on the north side of the lake but they have been gone the last two times we anchored. The anchorage is not affected by wakes from boats on the river. A nice spot to pass a quiet night. Hope this helps!
Cox Lake is approximately two and a half miles from Conway City Marina.
Departing the Waterway at statute mile 375, four miles south of the Socastee Bridge, this “off-road” venture on the lovely, upper section of the Waccamaw River, abandoned by the AICW, has pleased many cruisers and has proven to be a worthy side trip.
One fixed bridge does lie between the AICW and Conway. We have never found a published vertical clearance for this span, but it has always appeared to us to be 30 feet or so. Clearly, the wonderful side cruise to Conway is off limits for most sailcraft.
The wonderful review below was sent to us by our good friends Peg and Jim Healy
Sanctuary and crew made our first visit to Conway, SC, on the Upper Waccamaw River, on October 29 and 30, 2013. On the advice of the dockmaster at Osprey Marina, we departed the ICW at Enterprise Landing, at daymark G”1.” The channel in that area is narrow, and shoals to 7-1/2 feet for a short distance. Once past that area, the river widens and become a magnificent cypress swamp meandering stream. Navigation planning was only slightly more complicated than usual. “Standard” NOAA charts do not cover the upper Waccamaw. The rule is, as always when upbound, “red, right, returning.” The river is adequately marked with clearly visible daymarks. Navigation is straight forward. We stayed to the middle of the river on longer, straighter stretches, and favored the outside radius of turns and switchbacks. From the ICW at Enterprise Landing to Conway, there are three shoal areas: first, just above G”1,” second, in the vicinity of R”12,” and third, in the vicinity of R”16.” We never saw less than 7-1/2 feet in any of these areas. Tidal ebb and flood currents are insignificant for cruising boats.
We stayed at the Conway City Marina. The marina “basin” is on the west shore of the marina. The entrance is on a curve in the river. The tidal range here is about 18″ – 24.” Reports of shoaling across the marina entrance are correct. Local guidance is to favor the green center-quarter when entering and leaving the marina basin. We were in the red-center quarter upon arrival, and even though we arrived virtually at high tide, we plowed through soft mud in the area of the entrance. The second day of our visit, we relocated to another dock at high tide. By favoring the green center-quarter, we cleared the shoaling in about 5-1/2 feet of water. There is stone rip rap on both the green and red outside-quarters of the entrance, so caution and slow speed is advised.
The Conway City Marina is not a transient destination. As first-timers to the area, we had excellent telephone support from the attendant, and we were certainly made welcome. There is no docking assistance provided. The marina offers three docking locations. One is a floating face dock inside the marina entrance. There is room on that dock for 2, 40′ cruising boats. There is also a small resident river tour boat on the north end of that dock. Outside the marina, 1/4 mile upstream on the west shore, there are two 40′ floating docks immediately below the SC Rt. 905 road bridge. These docks are part of an extensive and beautiful River Walk system. All of the docks have 30A and 50A power. None have potable water. The docks themselves are aging, and in a generally dilapidated state of repair. Cleats on the in-river docks are loose and somewhat small for cruising boats. That said, the in-river docks do have two obvious advantages: first, approach depths are better, and second, the walk to the town is much shorter and easier. It is a very long walk to anywhere from the dock located in the marina entrance channel.
The City of Conway is the Horry County Seat. There is A LOT of government here; a lot, including a large jail complex and the county courthouse. Discount coupons (“Discover Conway Downtown Shopping Card”) for visitors are available at the Visitor’s Center, 903 3rd Ave; (843) 248-1700. Get several cards, because you give up the coupon when you use them. History and architecture buffs will enjoy the city. There is a historic downtown walking trail. The locals are friendly. There are several good restaurant choices Grocery shopping and the post office are not within what I consider to be walkable distance. Despite the limitations, this river trip is exquisite. It is unique, beautiful and well worth the effort.
Peg and Jim Healy aboard Sanctuary
Currently at Rock Creek, Pasadena, MD
We go to Conway every spring and fall when passing through the area. A nice alternative to overnighting at a dock @ $1.00 per foot is to anchor in Cox Lake, behind R 16. Good depths and plenty of room. From there it is a half hour run up-river to one of the free docks on the river. Spend the day in Conway and return to Cox Lake for the night (or run back down the river and anchor before getting to Enterprise Landing.