New Report from Hell Gate, AICW Problem Stretch, Statute Mile 602
The AICW follows the narrow, man-made canal known as Hell Gate between the Vernon and Ogeechee Rivers. These waters have been an “AICW Problem Stretch” for years.
I transited Hell gate on 6/22/13 enroute from Thunderbolt Marine to my home at Ft McAllister on the Ogeechee River. I have made this passage many times in the past as I’m a “local” and it is part of my cruising area. I have a Bristol 29.9 CB which only draws 3.5 feet, so I was not concerned at transiting at low tide. However, this time I was mistaken. I made the passage at 1500 hours which by my estimate was low slack water. Tide tables indicated a very low -0.9 tide. I always follow the same “established route” on my GPS, so I know that I am always on a route that has been successful in past. As I traveled south between G89 and temp R90 my depth sounder went from 5 feet to 3 feet and I slowed from 6 knots to 3 knots. I estimate that I was plowing a furrow for 200 feet or so, before I started to get more water under my keel. Fortunately, I didn’t go hard aground as the bottom was obviously silt and loose sand. Everywhere else on that trip through Hell Gate the minimum depth that I saw was about 5 feet. Hope this post helps some cruisers.