Important November, 2012 Observations on the AICW/Shallotte Inlet Problem Stretch (Statute Mile 330)
Posted by Claiborne | Posted on 11-24-2012
This typically troublesome AICW Problem Stretch intersection required dredging twice in 2011 and, despite the initial success of those projects, it seems these waters are beginning to shoal again.
As we stated in an earlier posting concerning this AICW Problem Stretch (see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=99913), by reading between the tea leaves, it appears as if the AICW channel, as it passes behind Shallotte Inlet, is beginning to shoal on the ocean (southeastern) side. That is usually where shallowing begins at this intersection!
As part of our earlier posting on these troubled waters, we asked for additional input from the cruising community. Many have already responded, and the comments below from Captain Caldwell and Carpe Diem, TEND TO CONFIRM THAT BEST DEPTHS CAN CURRENTLY BE HELD BY FAVORING THE RED (MAINLAND) SIDE OF THE CHANNEL!
11/3/12 – to test the waters we decided to take the Red/Green pair of 80A & 81 at Shallotte Inlet right down the middle. We only draw 3 feet and it was high tide so we weren’t worried about grounding, and thought we could add to the information here. We found ONLY 7.5 feet at 4.7 feet above MLW (just after high tide) – again, right down the middle between the two. We would agree that red would be favored; we have two depth sounders on our catamaran (one in each hull) and the depth sounder on the red side was reading deeper than the depth sounder on the green side.
Went through today [11/5/2012] at high tide. Based on earlier comments, we stayed to the red side and saw nothing less than 12.8 feet. Dropping the 4+ feet for low tide, and it seems that our track would still give us more than 8 feet.
FOUND 2 1/2 FOOT OF WATER BESIDE GREEN BUOY EXITING SHALLOTTE INLET TO WATERWAY 10/3/12. SAW BARGE SPEND 20 MINUTES TRYING TO GET AROUND AND THRU CHANNEL.
We transited the Shallote Inlet crossing area at 1145 on 22 Nov 12, or approximately two hours after local low tide. Hugging R N 80A and R N 82 very closely, we saw a minimum of 12 feet. There has been an extended period of north winds, making it appear that the water level was below predicted levels. This is a purely subjective comment.
Local input: according to the locals we met the night before, the “real” pronunciation for the inlet is with a long O, to rhyme with “boat”. (sha-LOTE)
Richard B. Emerson
Nov 27,2012 – Shoal at Shallotte’s Inlet extends past the green can 81 towards the center of the channel. Favor the red marker, but go slow. We hit going southbound with a 5’5 draft. Tide extremely low.