Posted by Larry | Posted on 09-13-2012
Little Mud River is almost universally acknowledged to be the worst section of the entire AICW run from Norfolk, VA to Miami, FL. This “AICW Problem Stretch” lies some 21 statute miles north of Brunswick, Georgia. Earlier depth soundings from other cruisers have confirmed our recommendation to navigate this stretch at mid to high tide only.
Please note that we specifically do NOT recommend that anyone try the near low water passage described by Captain Ising below! We think he was very lucky!
I do not wish to encourage anyone to follow my lead, but today (13 Sep 2012) I found us arriving at Little Mud River (from the north) earlier than planned due to strong NE winds pushing our sailboat along, and decided to attempt the transit at 0.5 feet (predicted) above datum.
Following the magenta line on my C-MAP e-chart and noting the visible shoaling near the bends, I saw no less than 7.0 feet (near SM 655). It was not the most prudent decision, but I have nothing but a big lead keel that will touch bottom, and it never did.
Just FYI. It is not impossible at low tide, but certainly not advisable.
We ran the Little Mud at low low tide a couple of years ago; most likely a good foot below datum, and pushed our 6 foot keel’s bulb through 6-12″ of mud nearly the whole three miles, proving that even if you are on the bottom, which we definitely were, you can plow through the soft mud with just a little effort. At times we were only making between 2-3 knots with our 44hp Yanmar, but we kept on truckin until the water got deeper. Saw about 5.5ft on the sounder most of the way. Glad you made it safely.
Good to know Duane – a lot of reports of 4 foot water there, and I have to wonder if those reporting are even on the magenta line. Your experience parallels mine, although I did my last two passages close to mid tide rising and subtracted the height of the tide. Still, as Claiborne says, not advisable.
We went through there in August at low tide and had similar experience with our 4′ draft.
A word of caution on transiting Little Mud at low water. I would check my raw water strainers, (main & genset), after passing thru. For whatever that’s worth….