NC Cruising News — AICW, Southport to Calabash (Statute Mile 309 to 343)
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
Southport is home to CRUISERS NET SPONSOR, Southport Marina, located just west of the Cape Fear River along the northern banks of the Waterway hard by flashing daybeacon #2A.
Experienced cruisers, Jim and Peg Healy, continue to generously share their observations and advice as they make their way south for the winter, making good time with this 62 mile leg. Thank you Jim and Peg!
Today is Monday, 10/22/2018. Sanctuary and crew departed Southport at 06h40, traveled tp Socastee, and arrived at 15h30.
We arrived at Lockwood’s Folly at 08h15, where the tide was +3.84 ft, falling, from a 4.5 ft high. I had programmed a route through the Folly using the waypoints provided by Hank Pomeranz. The route is perfect, and I recommend it to others. The least water we saw was crossing the bar between waypoint1 and waypoint2 at 9.5, so (9.5-3.8)=5.67 ft MLW. The marker are in the correct places, and without the autopilot, simply follow the markers. There is a strong ebb current in the area, and it is easy to get set off the planned line. Following is a screenshot of the affair:
Shallotte’s Inlet was unremarkable. One green marker has been moved toward the red side, but simple follow the markers in the water for safe passage.
We found a very strong ahead current from the Calabash Crossroads all the way to Socastee. That is obviously stronger for the huge volume of water still draining from that local watershed. There was virtually no flotsam in the waterway. The Socastee Swing Bridge was operating, but at dramatocally slower speed than normal. The bridge tender said the bridge was in “maintenance mode.” Not sure what the implications are, but it took a long time for the bridge to swing open, and it was still swinging closed when we rounded the bend and couldn’t see it any more.
Cruisers should transit the area above the Socastee Swing Bridge at “slow speed, minimum wake.” The staining on the trees and buildings is heart breaking. The older homes built on ground slabs have staining above the level of the bottoms of their living room windows and half way up their garage doors.. Certainly, many homes are uninhabitable today, and it will take months for these folks to recover. Many docks are damaged or destroyed. Cruisers must ensure that their wakes do not add to their already severe difficulties.
Peg and Jim Healy aboard Sanctuary, currently at Charlotte Harbor, Punta Gorda, FL
Monk 36 Hull #132
Our sincerest thanks to Tom Hale for sharing this detailed look at Waterway conditions along the North Carolina coast as fellow cruisers prepare for the Fall migration.
For the past 5 years I have been monitoring the ICW. My drive is largely enlightened self-interest. We transit the ICW route every year. Over time, we have developed a small group of like minded travelers with whom we have shared notes and observations. The sources I have come to rely on are the USCG Districts 5 and 7 weekly Notice to Mariners, and the USACE Wilmington NC and Charleston SC, district web pages. I also have learned a lot from, and shared content with Hank Pomeranz of Southport SC, Bob Sherer (AKA bob4230 and a small fleet of experienced cruises who transit the ICW and the ocean inlets on a regular basis. My notes and observations following Florence have been posted on the SAIL Magazine Secrets of the ICW Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/SailTheICW/ ) ) and on SAILfeed at (https://www.sailfeed.com/writers/icw-snowbird-rally/)
North Carolina ICW Inlet Crossing Updates 10/19/2018
In the days following the passage of hurricane Florence, the USACE Wilmington District survey crews were out on the ICW surveying the waters and collecting data. In just a matter of weeks all of the most critical sections of the NC ICW were resurveyed and the survey content was made available on the USACE Wilmington website ( https://www.saw.usace.army.mil/Missions/Navigation/Hydrographic-Surveys/AIWW/CFRLR/) . The overall impression is that the ICW route is passable, although it is shoaled in some places and narrowed along much of its length, particularly in the known trouble spots. The USACE provided waypoints for transiting the trouble spots. Any cruiser venturing through this section of the ICW should have access to the above website and should study the route and the waypoints. One extremely important component of the USACE surveys is that they precisely place the ATONS as they were located at the time of the survey. Your charts will not necessarily be accurate in this regard.
A month after Florence, hurricane Michael transited this area. As of 10/19/2018 I have not found any subsequent USACE surveys. The foregoing information is based upon the post Florence surveys with anecdotal observations and input from cruisers who have transited post Michael .
The following screen shots show the USACE surveys post Florence, displayed on NOAA charts. I placed the waypoints where they seemed most appropriate given the survey data. They are similar to where the USACE survey waypoints are placed. There are no new surveys after the passage of Michael: the ICW channel may have changed!
There were three areas which particularly caught my attention after Florence and which have been further defined by subsequent vessel transits post Michael.
New River Inlet crossing – Comments from cruisers post Michael say “square off the corner” at way point 2. Do not round off that corner. It appears that there has been additional shoaling as a result of hurricane Michael. Watch out for the shoals at waypoint 5. The channel through here is narrow. There is about 3.5 feet of tide in Lockwoods Folly . It is strongly advised that if you draw 4 feet or more, enter on a rising tide .
2. STM 320 – Just about one mile east of Lockwoods Folly and immediately west of R36 there is a shoal encroaching on the red side of the channel. Stay centered. If the depth finder starts to 2. indicate shallow water, try sliding a bit towards the south “green” side of the channel right here.
3. Lockwoods Folly – The USACE surveys have placed the ATONS in new locations. You MUST have access to this information. The Surveys are available as PDFs. As of 10/19/2018 cruisers have reported that the ATONs were in agreement with the USACE charts. In particular, notice G47! Reports post Michael indicate that between R46 and R46B there may be additional shoaling Similar reports have come in between R48 and R48B.
An additional means to view the USACE surveys is in Google Earth.
1. Open Google Earth
2. Open USACE Wilmington District Web Page
3. Find the inlet crossing of interest. Let’s choose, New River Inlet Crossing.
4. Click on the KMZ link and a KMZ file will be downloaded.
5. Click on the downloaded file and it will open in Google Earth. Voila.
6. The KMZ file does not have the ATONS. However, you can create a path through the inlet crossing and manually enter the latitude and longitude of the waypoints.
Our thanks to Bill Parlatore for permitting Cruisers Net to post articles from his excellent blog, Following Seas.
Monday Minute – More Reason to Stop in Southport, NC!
Announcing the start of the highly anticipated Daily Navigation and Weather Briefs at the Dock, conducted each day at Southport Marina in Southport, North Carolina.
Once again, Hank Pomeranz of Carolina Yacht Service, Zimmerman Marine and Southport Marina, A CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, are teaming up to offer FREE weather and navigation daily briefings for the Fall Migration. A big thank you to Hank and his hard-working colleagues for this invaluable service to southbound cruisers!
This is an open invitation to join me and your fellow cruisers at Southport Marina in Southport, NC for our free nightly ICW Navigation and Weather briefings – one of the most unique offerings on the entire ICW. This fall, we are celebrating our 10th transient season.
Every night, from 16 October through 15 December at 6 PM (except for Thanksgiving Day), I concentrate the evening briefs on navigating the ICW from Southport to Savannah, GA and provide an in depth discussion of both coastal and ICW route weather.
Briefs are updated every day and Southport Marina provides a high quality color printout of the entire navigation brief for you to take back to your boat. Several members of this forum have attended over the past 5 years and continue to stop at Southport for the express purpose of attending the nightly brief.
This service is provided as a courtesy of Southport Marina, Zimmerman Marine and Carolina Yacht Care. We look forward to seeing old friends and making new ones.
Our thanks to Hank Pomeranz of Carolina Yacht Care for this onsite report from Lockwoods Folly Inlet/AICW intersection, a Cruisers’ Net Problem Stretch. The intersection of the Waterway and Lockwoods Folly has been a Problem Stretch for years and requires almost annual dredging. As Hank agrees, Cruisers Net recommends mid-high rising tide for passgae.
Good morning gentlemen,
Finally got the Whaler up and running and had a chance to go down to Lockwoods Folly Inlet yesterday. As I imagine you’re aware, USACE completed a post-Florence survey. A few points – see attached image:
1. Buoys shown are on station.
2. My own sounding corroborate the depths shown on the survey chart.
3. The USACE suggested Waypoints work BUT you will note that the route brings you “under” G47. That is – you take G47 to your starboard Southbound – along with the Reds. The difficulty I found is lack of a reference point to port and, with the shoal so close to port, there is very little room for error. I would be particularly concerned about following that route on a strong ebb when you are being sucked towards the inlet. The black solid line is an alternative. That is not to say there’s deeper water there but, in my pea-brain, it was easier to follow the channel around – keeping the G47 to port.
4. It is shoal around R48 as the survey suggests. USACE AIWW Waypoint 5 is a good target to clear the shoal at R48 before turning.
5. For all but the shallowest draft vessels, I suggest a mid and rising tidal passage.
Finally, there are two fixed bridges between Southport and Lockwoods Folly – MM 312 and MM 317. I went through at High tide and neither was less than 65’
Feel free to use any of this to help get the word out.
P.S. I plan on taking the sailboat up to Wrightsville this weekend. If I do, I will report on Snow’s Cut, Carolina Beach crossing, etc.
This non-ICW buoy is on the east side of the Cape Fear River channel, just south of the channel’s intersection with the Waterway at Southport, NC.
2. SEC NC BNM 340-18
3. NORTH CAROLINA – CAPE FEAR RIVER (CHART 11537) CAPE FEAR RIVER CHANNEL LIGHTED BUOY 18 (LLNR 30470) REPORTED EXTINGUSHED.
These uncharted inlet buoys are east of the inlet and the Waterway. A pin has been inserted in Chartview to indicate buoy 6 on the east side of the inlet channel.
1. THE FOLLOWING AIDS TO NAVIGATION HAVE BEEN RELOCATED.
A. LOCKWOODS FOLLY INLET BUOY 6 (LLNR 31030) RELOCATED TO APPROX POSIT 33-54-46.625N; 078-14-19.681W.
B. LOCKWOODS FOLLY INLET BUOY 7 (LLNR 31035) RELOCATED TO APPROX POSIT 33-54-55.126N; 078-14-18.929W.
These uncharted inlet buoys are east of the inlet and the Waterway. A pin has been inserted in Chartview to indicate buoy 1 on the west side of the inlet channel.
SUBJ:SAFETY BROADCAST NOTICE TO MARINER
NC-MYRTLE GROVE SOUND TO CASINO CREEK (Chart 11534)
1. THE FOLLOWING AIDS TO NAVIGATION HAVE BEEN RELOCATED TO MARK BEST WATER.
A. LOCKWOODS FOLLY INLET BUOY 1 (LLNR 31010) RELOCATED TO POSITION 33-54-24.438N 078-14-30.052W (33°54.4073N / 078°14.5009W, 33.906788 / -78.241681) .
B. LOCKWOODS FOLLY INLET BUOY 2 (LLNR 31015) RELOCATED TO POSITION 33-54-22.469N 078-14-24.794W (33°54.3745N / 078°14.4133W, 33.906241 / -78.240221) .
Zimmerman Marine is part of the excellent facilities of Southport Marina, a much valued CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR. These fine organizations lie just west of the Cape Fear River along the northern banks of the Waterway hard by flashing daybeacon #2A. Our thanks to Chris for these kind words.
For more information, visit www.zimmermanmarine.com.
Outstanding service at Zimmerman Marine. These guys know their stuff. They are helpful and great problem solvers. Manager Steve Wallace runs a great shop. CJ outstanding. We will come back here for sure. PS – don’t miss the weather briefing at 1800. Hank is awesome.
Oak Island – Fort Caswell Bridge has a fixed vertical clearance of 65ft and crosses the Waterway south of Southport, NC. The closures reported below are on the roadway and should not affect navigation, except for the caution required and recommended, during repairs to the roadway above the water when passing under this fixed bridge.
OAK ISLAND BRIDGE TO CLOSE FOR SEVERAL MONTHS FOR REPAIRS from WWaytv3.com
Skipper Jim Lea offers an offshore route to avoid two Waterway Problem Stretches in NC. And Jim mentions Bald Head Island Marina, A CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!
The best way to get through this area is to avoid it altogether by exiting the ICW via the Little River Inlet and enjoying a short relaxing sail across Long Bay to re-enter via the Cape Fear River. In eight trips up and down the ICW we have always done this outside hop. In addition, there is a beautiful anchorage off Bird Island at the mouth of the Little River Inlet, avoiding the usually crowded anchorage in Calabash Creek.
At the mouth of the Cape Fear River, the marina at Bald Head Island is an excellent stop.
The intersection of Shallotte Inlet and the Waterway has been an infamous Problem Stretch for years, but these observations and detailed report from experienced cruiser, Tom Hale, will help you plan for your passage through this Problem Stretch.
The real NC trouble spot according to the USACE survey of February 18 is in Shallotte inlet. They are reporting depths in the 4-6 foot range according to the survey, and that is what we found in November. That channel is very narrow, perhaps as narrow as 30′. When transiting Shallotte it is wise to time your transit on a rising tide to get the extra water level help. Please see Shallotte Survey for more detail.
There is a SAIL Magazine Secrets of the ICW FB page which has a lot of charts and tracks for dealing with the known trouble spots along the Atlantic ICW.
Tom Hale – reprinted with permission from AGLCA’s Forum
The intersection of the Waterway and Lockwoods Folly has been a Problem Stretch for years and requires almost annual dredging. Our thanks to our Looper friends, Sandra Kay and Nelson, for this good depth report posted on AGLCA’s Forum.
Passed northbound through Lockwood Folly on the north end of Holden Beach (ICW 320) at mid tide this morning. Channel is well marked. Least depth was 9 feet. Also notice a Corp of Engineers mv Currituck staying over night at Holden Beach dolphins. Apparently they’ve been checking the channel depths and markers both north and south of this location. However with each winter storm this could quickly change. Three southbound sailboats inquired and were happy to learn about the good depth, as they were approaching this notorious area subject to drifting shoal.
The intersection of Shalotte Inlet and the Waterway has been an infamous Problem Stretch for years and mid to high tide is still recommended for safe passage.
SEC NC BNM 049-18
NORTH CAROLINA – MYRTLE GROVE SOUND TO LITTLE RIVER (CHART 11534) MARINERS ARE ADVISED OF SHOALING IVO OF CAPE FEAR RIVER – LITTLE RIVER BUOY 80A (LLNR 40337 [33°54.4821N / 078°23.0209W, 33.908035 / -78.383681]) AND CAPE FEAR RIVER – LITTLE RIVER BUOY 82 (LLNR 40345 [33°54.3353N / 078°23.2129W, 33.905588 / -78.386882]). DEPTHS AS LOW AS 3FT WERE OBSERVED IN THE ICW CHANNEL AT MLW IN POSITION 33-54’25.55″N 078-23’4.41″W. SHOALING IS ACROSS ENTIRE CHANNEL.
Comments are invited at a public hearing, Feb 5, 5:00 PM, Sunset Beach Town Hall.
No-wake zone proposed for Intracoastal Waterway at Sunset Beach
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is seeking public comment on a proposed no-wake zone along the Intracoastal Waterway in Sunset Beach.
The proposed no-wake zone would extend shore to shore, from 150 yards east of the Sunset Beach bridge to 50 yards west of the bridge.
CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL ARTICLE from StarNewsOnline.com
Zimmerman Marine is part of the excellent facilities of Southport Marina, a much valued CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR. These fine organizations lie just west of the Cape Fear River along the northern banks of the Waterway hard by flashing daybeacon #2A.
For more information, visit www.zimmermanmarine.com.Our thanks to Vicki Lathom for these words of recommendation.
The company is Zimmerman Marine and has a wide-spread reputation for being among the best. Someone told me if I ever needed repairs to go to Zimmerman Marine, which has five locations. Amazing that my accident happened right at a Zimmerman Marine base at Southport Marina, NC. Tell anyone that this is a very polished and professional company. They made a difficult situation much easier and it’s obvious that the company is trusted by the insurance industry.
The intersection of Shallotte Inlet and the Waterway has been an infamous Problem Stretch for years, but this detailed report and advice from experienced cruiser, Tom Hale, will help you plan for your passage through this Problem Stretch.
Shallotte Inlet. This is hairy. The channel is narrow, probably less than 40 feet wide in the trouble area, and shallow. We transited today about 2 hours before low water. We had +1.8 feet above MLLW. We saw nothing less than 7.8 feet which means that along the track we took there would be about 6 feet at MLLW. The trouble area is R80A, G81 and R82. We did our best to just line up the three marks and head straight down the line. Dead slow speed, white knuckles, we made it. Pucker factor was extreme. NOTE: due to high barometric pressure and strong westerly winds, the tide may have been running below normal. Would not suggest anyone transit this area with a 5.5 foot or greater draft except on a rising tide and about 2 hours past low water. The deepest water channel is very, very narrow!
The intersection of the Waterway and Lockwoods Folly has been a Problem Stretch for years and requires almost annual dredging. It was last dredged in November of 2016. Our thanks to Tom Hale for his observations and advice.
Lockwoods Folly. We transited today about 2 hours before low water. We had +2 feet above MLLW. We saw nothing less than 11 feet which means that along the track we took there should be about 9 feet at MLLW. This section was very easy to run the channel was wide and deep. NOTE: We had up to date charts as of the day before we made our run. NOAA and Navionics have all the new marks correctly placed. Garmin does not. (Also NOTE: the USCG light list shows a R 46 A which is not there. So if it appears on your up to date chart, ignore it. That buoy is not there.)