The principal Beaufort waterfront on Taylor Creek can be approached via four different channels. Ten years ago, or so, most AICW cruisers left the Waterway at marker #35 and tracked their way southeast and then south on the so-called Gallants Channel to Taylor Creek. DON’T DO THIS NOW! This route is now impassable. Serious shoaling southeast of the AICW’s marker #35 is waiting to say hello to your keel.
The northern leg of the Russell Slue Channel, which runs south-southeast from the AICW’s marker #29, is now far more reliable for southbound vessels. Though this passage would benefit from a few additional aids to navigation, it is much deeper than the old Gallants cut.
Northbound AICW travelers might choose to make use of the deep cut leading from Beaufort Inlet to Taylor Creek north of flashing buoy #21 and immediately southeast of the charted Morehead City Turning Basin. This reliable route is not blocked by any bridges and should probably get the nod if your vessel draws better than 5 feet.
Another choice for northbound ICW captains piloting shallow draft craft is the marked southerly portion of the Russell Slue Channel. Several aids to navigation lead cruisers northeast immediately north of the fixed, high-rise U.S. 70 bridge. The intersection of this southerly leg of the Russell Slue Channel and Gallants Channel seems to be shoaling.