Healy Report: Port Royal, SC to Walburg Creek, GA, AICW Statute Miles 539 to 619N or 623.5S
Walburg Creek shapes the east side of Walburg Island and the Waterway lies on the west side. Good depths and great beach combing. My young daughters always declared the beach spooky because of the skeletal trees and dense forest to the east! While the creek has both a northern and southern entrance from the AICW, we prefer the northern passage, though there is still an unmarked shoal northwest of Middle Ground in St. Catherine’s Sound which must be bypassed. Experienced cruisers, Jim and Peg Healy, continue to generously share their observations and advice as they make their way south for the winter. Thank you Jim and Peg!
On Monday, 10/29/2018, Sanctuary and crew travelled from Port Royal, SC to Walburg Creek, GA. Following, some observations:
We arrived at Ramshorn’s Cut at 10h15 with the tide station at Daufuskie Island (Daufuskie Landing) showing 5.8+ rising. We saw 11.0 ft, so (11.0 – 5.8) = 5.2′ at MLLW. The channel between G39 and R40 has narrowed further. We took the visual center.
We arrived at the un-named connector between the New River and the Wright River at 10h38 with the tide station at Daufuskie Island (Hargray Pier) showing 6.2+ rising. We saw 12.2 ft, so (12.2 – 6.2) = 6.0′ at MLLW. Follow the visual center. Honor, but stay away from, the lateral markers on pilings.
We arrive at Field’s Cut at 11h06 with the tide station at Field’s Cut showing 7.6+ rising. Southbound, take the visual center between G47 and R48, and line up on Field’s Cut. HONOR R48A, which appears off-station to the East. We saw 11.2 ft passing about 25 ft off R48A, so (11.2 – 7.6) = 3.6′ at MLLW. This was a surprise! We followed the visual center of Field’s Cut, favoring the outside radius of the turns. That 3.6′ area was the control depth of the cut. Cross-currents are significant at the Savannah River. Be alert for river traffic and cross currents.
There was a large, working crane barge at the Causton Bluff bridge. It appears “they” are replacing that bridge with a high rise. Another surprise.
We arrived at Hell Gate (MM600) at 14h18, with the Egg Islands Tide Station reporting +7.0 falling. Depths we saw:
9.8 low water between markers
So (9.8 – 7.0) = 2.8′ MLLW. Also note, as you enter this cut from the Vernon River, there is a STRONG cross current that will try to sweep you sideways. Boats will need some power and some aggressive steering to stay on the best route. We crabbed into the lee of the current at about a 20° angle. There is a prominent visual distraction just to the west of the marked channel. There is a piling left over from some previous danger mark standing prominently, while the red and green floaters that mark the channel are low to the water and hard to see. Do not confuse that piling as a valid channel marker. Follow and honor the cans and nuns in the water
Net: the overall condition of the A-ICW continues to deteriorate. Most cruising boats will need some tide help to get through this section. Plan accordingly.
Peg and Jim Healy aboard Sanctuary, currently at Charlotte Harbor, Punta Gorda, FL
Monk 36 Hull #132