Strong Tidal Currents on AICW/Elliott Cut/Wappoo Creek Lead To A Change in Plans
Somedays you simply might as well sleep in. Today would have been a good day for that, and when the alarm went off at half past six, I thought about it. Today appears to be the last day of the winter that just won’t end – cold, dreary, drizzley with a cold and biting wind out of the north. Tomorrow’s forecast is sunny and high 60s. I headed out for Elliot Cut, naturally at the very height of the ebbtide. Elliot Cut is a difficult cut at the best of times if the current isn’t with you, and the current today was between 3.5 and four knots. My boat speed was down to .9 knots at one point – and hovered between 1 and 1.4 knots for almost the entire cut.
Waiting till the tide switched wasn’t really an option if I wanted to make any distance, as it didn’t reverse itself until nearly 1 pm. I’d lose half the day, so onward I struggled, making three boat lengths a minute. To put that into perspective, normal would be 15 to 18 boat lengths per minute.’¨Slowly, oh so slowly, Gypsy Wind struggled…I was grateful that this cut is fairly short, less than a half mile…and finally, we came through into the Stono River. Now the wind that I hadn’t felt inside the cut bore down. It was brisk – a Canadian word meaning ‘˜really damn cold!’
The tide was still against me but less strong so I was now making about 4.5 knots while watching the wind push mist along the water. This wasn’t fun. Then I noticed poor Aduana shivering and that decided me – I turned around, the speed shot up to 6 knots even as I dropped the engine speed to idle, and we returned to the anchorage to spend the day sensibly, rather than struggle in the cold and wet.
Cruising is supposed to be fun, and sometimes we forget that in the rush to get somewhere. So, excuse me while I take the pup ashore and we play ball and she chases some squirrels. After that, I’m going to put together a video about what an average day cruising the ICW is like, so those of you who haven’t done this yet can get an idea of how good it can be.
Do I know how to have fun or what?
Posted by Wally Moran at 3:45 PM
We have been through Elliott Cut -Wapoo Creek Bridge many times. No problem with current, They have always been managable. I do put out a Security Call on Both VHF 13/16 for commercial traffic. Transited the cut on 4-19-13 on a flooding tide. Dropped the Antenna’s and took our 30 ft Air draft right under the bridge with no opening necessary any
restrictiions is not a problem if you just check your cruising guide and plan your arrival accordingly.
Capt Bob Kovach
Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Wappoo Creek and Elliott Cut