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    • Spouter Inn Has A New Look, A New Bar and the Same GREAT Food (Beaufort,NC – near Statute Mile 201)

      The following is a perilous statement, particularly when we are speaking about Beaufort, North, which has such dining attractions as Beaufort Grocery Company and the Blue Moon, but we think Spouter Inn (218 Front Street, 252-728-5190, http://thespouterinn.com/) offers the very best food in town. But now, there’s even more!
      During a June, 2012 cruise to Beaufort, we came strolling into Spouter’s main Front Street entrance, and were surprised and more than a little pleased by an entirely new, pastel color scheme running the full length of the entrance hall. Equally eye pleasing was a collection of local art displayed down the hallway. We soon learned that this same, new, light and airy color scheme had been carried throughout the entire dining establishment. Please be SURE to follow the “Click Here For Photo Gallery” link below to see for yourself.
      After strolling down the hallway, we were, if possible, even more pleased to learn that more than the color scheme had changed. Part of the interior dining room has been converted to a very cozy bar, with a good view of Taylor Creek out the back. We stopped here for an “attitude adjustment,” and were totally charmed by this new enhancement.
      We enjoyed two meals at Spouter Inn during this trip, and found the food just as good as ever. For lunch Karen’s Bird Shoal Sandwich, a delectable combination of egg salad, melted white cheddar cheese. bacon and leafy lettuce on whole wheat bread, and my crabcake in a pita pocket, were absolutely scrumptious. During our evening meal, the first-rate, first-mate was, as always, very taken with her mixed seafood grill (broiled), as I was with my decadent Scallops Parmigiana!
      If your waistline can stand it, don’t miss Spouter’s dessert tray, and, particularly, their on-site bakery, which is found just to the right as you enter from Front Street. My oh my, my appetite is going crazy just typing this article.
      Trust me on this one fellow cruisers, heed the call, and don’t dare miss Spouter Inn when next your vessel is snuggled into either Beaufort Town Docks or anchored on the tranquil waters of Taylor Creek.
      And, very conveniently for we of the cruising persuasion, the westernmost of Beaufort/Taylor Creek’s two dinghy docks is located next door to Spouter Inn! What more could one ask for?
      See you there!

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    • Taylor Creek Grocery – Beaufort, NC (near Statute Mile 201)

      Back on 3/12/12, we published a report here on the SSECN (see /?p=81815), about a new downtown Beaufort, NC grocery story that was about to open at the corner of Front and Queen Streets, within a block of the Beaufort Town Docks. At the time of our first visit, the store was just about to open, and things looked promising, but ever since, we’ve been itching to return and check out the finished product.
      Well, that’s exactly what happened during the week of June 11, 2012. And what we found was MOST impressive. Really, with no exaggeration or embellishment, I can’t remember when I have ever seen such a well laid out, beautifully merchandised small grocery store as what we found at Taylor Creek Grocery (252-838-1495, 525 Front Street). PLEASE follow the “Click Here For Photo Album” button below to check out the visual images for yourself!
      We also had occasion to twice try out the in-store deli, and we can attest that the Reuben and turkey sandwiches are first-rate, not to mention the fudge brownies.
      So, when next your travels take your vessel to the shores of Taylor Creek, possibly North Carolina’s single most popular port of call, run, don’t walk to Taylor Creek Grocery. You won’t be sorry!

      I guess quality has its price, but I was in that store last week, and the prices were outrageously high. So, enjoy, but bring a thick wallet.
      Ed

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    • An Interesting Visit to the R. E. Mayo Seafood Docks (Statute Mile 157)

      R. E. Mayo DocksDuring the week of 6/11/12, the first-rate, first-mate and I cruised to R. E. Mayo Seafood Docks, our newest SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR. It was a very interesting visit indeed, and I think I can say without any fear of telling an inaccuracy, this is one of the most unique facilities that has ever chosen to support our web site.
      Since the 1970’s, Karen Ann and I have passed the R. E. Mayo Docks, directly flanking the western side of the AICW, on the canal-like Hobucken Cut, at least several hundred times. This narrow stream connects the Waterway between Pamilco and Bay Rivers. We have always thought of these piers and their shoreside buildings as a commercial fishing complex, and have never really thought of tying up for the night, though I did drive here once many years ago, and recall being impressed by the on-site marine supply store!
      So, do you want the good news, or the less than good news first. Let’s start with the latter. The only way to describe the fixed wooden face docks at the R. E. Mayo facility is “rough.” They seem to be sturdy, and we did observe any number of serviceable 30 amp power hookups, but some of the boarding was uneven, and there was seemingly hap-hazard debris lying around here and there. Also, there are no shoreside showers nor a laundromat, and there are absolutely no restaurants within anything like striking distance.
      HOWEVER, both gasoline and diesel fuel can be purchased, there is good shelter from foul weather, and the excellent on-site seafood and marine supply store is just about the last thing you would expect from looking at the utilitarian exterior of the main buildings. Be SURE to follow the “Click Here For Photo Gallery” link below to learn more about this fascinating store.
      And, by the way, a wide selection of fresh and frozen seafood can be purchased in the store. Recently, the owners have constructed a HUGE, refrigeration building across the street which houses a wide selection of frozen catch of the day and other from-the-water goodies. Don’t miss the “COLORFUL” outhouses between the main building and the seafood cold storage center! Depending on the season, visiting cruisers can often purchase shrimp and other seafood literally right off the boats.
      The cost of overnight dockage, or lack thereof, at the R. E. Mayo Docks should also not be overlooked. At a current rate of only 40 cents per foot, per night, these are, at least in my experience, the least expensive on the Waterway wet berths in both Carolinas!
      So, clearly an overnight stop at the R. E. Mayo Seafood Docks is not for everyone. No captain or crew will ever mistake this place for Pier 66 or the Morehead City Yacht Basin. Then, again, if you have a bit of the adventurous about you, and would like to try something decidedly different, with a really good marine and seafood store thrown in for good measure, give this facility a try. And, PLEASE LET US KNOW ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE!

      Thanks so much for this info, Claiborne. We, too, have passed this place dozens of times, just wondering. We may give it a try next time.
      Diana

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    • To Canal or Not Canal: AICW Dismal Swamp Canal Route VS North Carolina – Virginia Cut (a. k. a. “Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal”)

      The interesting discussion below was copied from the AGLCA Forum, and provides good insight into the relative merits and demerits of the two choices that AICW cruisers may pick from to cruise from Virginia to North Carolina waters, or the other way around.
      The AICW Alternate Dismal Swamp Canal Route southbound departs the primary AICW south of Norfolk at Statute Mile 7.2 and begins officially at Deep Creek Lock at Mile 10.6. The Dismal Swamp Canal Visitors Center, A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, will come abeam at approximately Mile 28. Elizabeth City lies south of South Mills Lock at Statute Mile 50.7 and is also A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!

      I find the Dismal Swamp Route more enjoyable. Elizabeth City is one of the gems of hospitality with its free town dock, “wine” and “cheese” parties, and waterfront events. The upper Pasquotank River is simply beautiful (kind of like the Waccamaw), and the canal is gorgeous. If you have time, tie up for the night at the welcome center, or dinghy up to Lake Drummond. Whichever way you go, have fun…they’re both nice routes.
      Mike

      Depending on your preference, either route is worth the trip. The Dismal Swamp is beautiful and much more peaceful and remote. The stop at Elizabeth City is wonderful. Traveling through the DS Canal means slow going and you have two locks to time for your transit. The Welcome Center is always everyone’s favorite stops. It will take a bit longer than the traditional ICW route if you are in a hurry, which I hope you’re not. There have been occasional issues with debris in the Dismal Swamp Canal so go slow and pay attention, and of course your draft will matter. On the other
      hand, we often like to stop in Great Bridge and take advantage of the free tie up and the short walk to restaurants and shopping if taking the ICW route. Have a great trip.
      Chuck

      We’ve done both and if your draft will let you, take the dismal swamp route at least once. It’s awesome. Especially the part of the river leading up to it from Elizabeth City. Take care to time your arrival at the south lock as
      they won’t let you in to wait. Stop at the visitors center. Take your time. Spend the night. Check with the lockmaster at the north lock to determine what time he’ll open the bridge if you want to tie up on the long dock.
      Take a look at the distance if you plan to do it in one day. That will mean skipping the visitors center and traveling around 6 to 7 mph (5 -6 knots).
      But, if you’re a full displacement boat, at 6 – 7 mph you’ll start to lift stuff off the bottom (old logs) that could hit your props or rudder (depending on how they are protected) and definitely throw up obstacles for the boats following. You’ll also suck a lot of water away from the banks at this speed which will exacerbate erosion.
      If you go the Coinjock route, make sure you get your order in for the Prime Rib early. The 32 oz is ridiculously large.
      Bob & Kemba DeGroot

      Both the Virginia Cut (through Coinjock) and the Dismal Swamp Canal have pros and cons. Neither is great cruising. Neither is bad cruising. Sanctuary and crew have done both routes several times, and it is now our preference to use the Dismal Swamp Canal whenever possible.
      The Virginia Cut generally carries the bulk of through traffic. This route has several bridges. All are restricted. The restrictions will affect slower boats more than faster boats, and the faster boats become impatient. Large, go-fast boats prefer this route, so expect to be waked; it’s just a fact-of-life on this route. Time the restrictions carefully. While waiting on bridges, station keeping in current and wind, the occasional impatient boater and poor boating manners, can make this route unpleasant and challenging. There is a single lock in this route, at Great Bridge (Chesapeake, VA). The lock operates with a 4-lane highway bascule bridge there. That bridge is restricted, which effectively restricts the lock. The lock has a free wall where boats can tie up and overnight. There is a
      Farm Fresh super market two city blocks away, within walking distance. Beer and wine is available at grocery stores from Virginia south.
      Currituck sound is wide and shallow, and go-fast boats will not slow when passing. The southern part of the route – below Coinjock – is scenic.
      There are marinas on this route, with all normal marina services. There are a couple of reasonable anchorages south of Coinjock. Although the route carries better depths (the control depth is 8′ – 9′) you must pay attention to the marked channels, particularly in the open water stretches. Markers are often well away from the deepest water of the actual channel.
      The Dismal swamp canal is narrow and has stretches that carry depths of 6 to 6-1/2 ft. Yes, there are (few) submerged logs in the canal bed. There are two locks, one at Deep Creek and one at South Mills. The locks are 22
      miles apart, and operate (unless drought restrictions are in force) at 08h30, 11h00, 13h30 and 15h30. If you lock through either end (either direction) at the 08h30 locking, you have 5 hours, until 13h30, to get to the other end. That works out to 22 miles/5 hours equals 4.4 StM/hr. Adjusted for locking time, actual travel speed (to avoid prolonged station-keeping at the destination end) will be at around 5 StM/hr. The speed limit on the canal is 6 StM/hr. Most trawlers and sailboats are at reduced speed at 5 Stm/hr, so these locks are *not* a problem for passage
      in one day. Travel at 5 StM/hr speed will *not* generally lift submerged logs off the bottom, but I suggest you travel 1/2 mile behind any vessel you might be following. Especially, stay away from two-engine trawlers, where prop wash might lift stuff up. With distance, anything that does lift off the bottom will settle back before you get to it. Within the canal, there are several docks that are all free. There are no services in the canal. The North Carolina Welcome Center is always a fun place to stay. Rafting is the rule, and is expected there, and at other docks in the canal. If you stay at docks within the canal over night, it’s easy to make the 11h30 locking at either end, from either end. Both locks have bridges that open only concurrently with the lockings. If you arrive
      early, you have no practical options to tie up, and usually must station keep. The greatest bonus of this route is the free wharf/slips at Elizabeth City, NC. EC is the most welcoming city on the East Coast for boaters! There is a nice Maritime Museum there, many restaurants (not 5-star, but good) and Sammy’s Barber Shop. Sammy has a sort of cultural museum in his shop. If you’re interested in State Police history, or politically-incorrect curiosities and mementos from the 50s, a visit to his shop is a definitely worthwhile. Plus, he’s a good barber. And of course,
      the previously mentioned Rose Buddies’ Wine and Cheese gatherings!
      Because through traffic on the Dismal Swamp canal is constrained to daylight hours by the lock operation, you can legally anchor in the channel by the locks. That works fine above Deep Creek, southbound. Spend the night on the hook there, and lock through southbound at the 08h30 locking in the morning. The bottom above Deep Creek is sand and mud, and is not foul. Some people anchor south of South Mills in the feeder ditch there. If you do, I recommend using a trip line, although I have no specific knowledge of any foul.
      If severe weather – n’oreaster w/gale-to-storm force winds – is forecast, the Dismal Swamp Canal offers somewhat better protection and cover. That said, it’s narrow enough that if a tree(s) does come down, it will block the canal and you’ll have to wait a day or so for the CoE to clear it. Would be worth it to me.
      Peg and Jim Healy aboard Sanctuary

      Jim’s assessment is thorough, spot on and I agree completely. I just make two additions. Between the Deep Creek Lock and swing bridge on the west side near the lock there is a free dock some call Elizabeth’s Dock or Robert’s (the best lock master of all) Dock. This has deep water (7’+) even into the lily pads. This is very, very protected and a great spot to wait out a weather delayed fall clog of boats to dissipate before heading to Elizabeth City or if heading North to stage and await to move thru the dreaded Gilmerton Bridge. There is a small park with trash cans and par course. The lock house is on that side a short walk and Robert is great with Dismal lore. A short walk across the swing bridge you come to strip mall with a Food Lion supermarket, advance auto parts, pizza place, Mexican
      Restaurant just before crossing the bridge there is a CVS. In short you have many resources that have easy access within a 1/4 mile walk of this nice dock. We have rafted many boats there in storms and had great gatherings
      or have had the spot to ourselves. There are power stations but they are turned off. There is one hose bib on the dock so city water is available. Also the dock at the junction of the Dismal Canal and Virginia Cut route next to the boat yard on the dismal route is free and there is a great hurricane hole anchorage in the basin just to the south between the lock and the junction. Enjoy.
      Joseph C. Pica

      I recently did the Dismal again – my 8th time now. I saw one log at Marker 18 – reported it to the Welcome Center and within 6 hours it was towed outta there. All this talk of what could happen reminds me that it’s far more dangerous crossing the street – that could happen too. So here I am in Great Bridge lock buying supplies. At least three logs passed me by today – not to mention several huge and far more dangerous barges plus fearsome looking mega yachts and sportsfishers creating tsunami waves equivalent to that last year in Japan. 🙂
      So go figure – if it’s lower risk you’re after – the Swamp everytime!
      Cap’n Parky now back cruising Chesapeake alert for the mermaids said to be in Hampton, VA. Now that’s risky – they could give you a nasty bite if you don’t take them to WalMart.
      Fun and adventure – that’s the joy of cruising my fellow sailors.
      Cap’n Parky, MV Pisces

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s North Carolina Marina Directory Listing For the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s North Carolina Marina Directory Listing For Mariners Wharf [Elizabeth] City Docks

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Elizabeth City, NC

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    • Welcome and Much Appreciated Words About the SSECN and ARGUS From Captain Milt Baker

      Captain Milt Baker

      Sometimes someone says something so nice about the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net, we just have to share it with all who visit our site. And, it’s especially exciting when the someone who give us such welcome compliments is one of the most respected names in cruising circles.
      For those of you who don’t already know Captain Milt Baker, this fine gentlemen, along with his first-rate, first-mate, Judy, was the founder and long time CEO of Bluewater Books and Charts in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Over the years, Captain Milt and I have shared more than a few sea stories, and I have been the happy recipient of some much valued advice.
      So, many, many thanks Captain Milt. See you on the Waterway!
      Please note, this message originally appeared on the T&T (Trawlers and Trawlering) list.

      Mark Doyle’s post about transiting Hell Gate and depths there prompts me to post this.
      When the weather kicks up offshore many of us along the East Coast end up slogging along the Intracoastal Waterway, and I recently learned of a new resource to help us stay in deeper water along the ICW. It’s a new service offered by Claiborne Young on his Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net.

      To quote their news release:
      “The Salty Southeast Cruisers Net (SSECN), SURVICE Engineering, and EarthNC, Inc. announced today an exciting new partnership that will provide SSECN users with the benefit of 25 million soundings acquired and processed with the ARGUS (Autonomous Remote Global Underwater Surveillance) system. The Salty Southeast Cruisers Net (http://www.CruisersNet.net) is the FIRST web site to offer easy access to ARGUS data.
      “Effective immediately, users of the SSECN’s Chart View pages can click a simple checkbox, thereby opening a new ARGUS layer, set over up-to-date images of the NOAA nautical charts. Once selected, the ARGUS layer will display color coded markers which depict the tide corrected solution of soundings gathered by ARGUS cooperative research vessels. . . .”

      While the new service is not a panacea, I spent an hour or so spot-checking the SSECN’s published soundings along portions of the ICW where Bluewater recently traveled and found them consistent with the depths I found. While spot-checking is just that and doesn’t guarantee accuracy of all soundings, this crowd-sourcing of ICW soundings is new arrow in the cruiser’s quiver and I, for one, plan to use the new service for route-planning whenever we’re taking Bluewater (with her 6’2″ draft) along the ICW. If you travel the ICW in your Nordhavn I recommend that you investigate this new and easy-to-use free service.
      For further information:
      /new-argus-layer-how-it-works/
      Full disclosure: Claiborne Young and I have known one another for at least 20 years, but we have no current business connection and have done no business together for more than a dozen years. I believe he works hard to provide useful services to the cruising world, and I’m particularly impressed with this new service he and his business partners are offering.
      Milt Baker, Nordhavn 47 Bluewater, Cape May, NJ (and waiting for weather)

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    • In Praise Of The Great Dismal Swamp, VA to NC AICW Alternate Route

      The Great Dismal Swamp Canal route southbound departs the AICW south of Norfolk at Statute Mile 7.2 and begins officially at Deep Creek Lock at Mile 10.6. The Visitors Center is at approximately Mile 28. Elizabeth City is south of South Mills Lock at Statute Mile 50.7 and is A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!

      Cruising between Norfolk, VA, and the Alligator River, NC, Captains must face the decision whether to go the Great Dismal route or the Virginia Cut route. I’d pick the Great Dismal every time.
      First of all boaters traveling south will meet very possibly the worlds friendliest lockkeeper Robert ‘“ who is also an expert on the local history and fauna of the swamp. You can stay overnight in his Deep Creek Lock approach at the Elizabeth Dock ‘“ right next to a charming park and within walking distance of a grocery store.
      Then you have the North Carolina Visitors Center with a museum all about the Swamp and a huge selection of free maps and brochures with spotlessly clean restrooms and friendly staff.
      South Mills Lock, 23 miles south, will also get you in and out inside a half hour at the scheduled opening times ‘“ and in their approach you can dock for a while and buy the best southern fried chicken I’ve ever tasted. Always a bit of an adventure going through a lock’¦’¦..
      Lambs Marina also (at the southern end of the swamp) offers a large selection of services, the only fuel stop between the Alligator River and Portsmouth and the lowest slip rates on the entire ICW. (see their web site at www.lambsmarinanc.com ) Transients are welcome!
      And finally you have Elizabeth City with a great tradition of welcoming visiting boaters via the `Rose Buddies’, the substantial Albemarle Museum and free pickup service by a local grocery store.
      Contrary to scuttlebutt often heard, the Great Dismal Swamp Route is not `shallow in places’ . Mid channel is a carefully maintained minimum 7 ft and often much deeper. There are said to be cypress logs floating everywhere ‘“ I have yet to see one. The Corps of Engineers do an excellent job of dredging all year round. They also by the way trim overhanging tree branches ‘“ so you have no danger of your mast being damaged providing you stay in the channel.
      By contrast, the Virginia Cut Route is said to be faster and safer ‘“ that must have been written by the big sportsfishers barreling along at 15 knots in front of their 6ft wakes! Or the huge barges frequently seen who cannot stop even if you are dead in front of them. More or less once a week I hear of some boat aground south of Coinjock calling for towing assistance. None of these things happen frequently on the Great Dismal.
      The Swamp route itself is somewhat spooky in a pleasant way. Full of history starting in the days of George Washington when a ditch was manually cut by slaves in an attempt to get lumber to the northern cities of Chesapeake Bay. As you travel through you get a sense of prehistoric times with many kinds of animals to be seen in their natural surroundings ‘“ maybe if you’re lucky, one the substantial number of black bears on the prowl. I think of Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn in the African Queen.
      Two great mooring spots to note. First at the top end, just north east of the Deep Creek Lock, what locals call the `Hole in the Wall’ – 12 ft water inside, 6 ft at the entrance. And don’t miss mooring behind Goat Island just south of the South Mills Lock. Be sure to check out the wood dock and boardwalk which goes all over the island.
      By contrast the Virginia Cut is ‘“ well let’s face it fellow Captains – Boooooring’¦’¦..

      So I raise a toast to the Great Dismal Swamp Canal ‘“ May it never close.
      You should try it sometime. You’re always welcome.
      Captain Parky, MV ‘˜Pisces’

      I find the Dismal Swamp Route more enjoyable. Elizabeth City is one of the gems of hospitality with its free town dock, “wine” and “cheese” parties, and waterfront events. The upper Pasquotank River is simply beautiful (kind of like the Waccamaw), and the canal is gorgeous. If you have time, tie up for the night at the welcome center, or dinghy up to Lake Drummond. Whichever way you go, have fun…they’re both nice routes.
      Mike

      Depending on your preference, either route is worth the trip. The Dismal Swamp is beautiful and much more peaceful and remote. The stop at Elizabeth City is wonderful. Traveling through the DS Canal means slow going and you have two locks to time for your transit. The Welcome Center is always everyone’s favorite stops. It will take a bit longer than the traditional ICW route if you are in a hurry, which I hope you’re not. There have been occasional issues with debris in the Dismal Swamp Canal so go slow and pay attention, and of course your draft will matter. On the other
      hand, we often like to stop in Great Bridge and take advantage of the free tie up and the short walk to restaurants and shopping if taking the ICW route. Have a great trip.
      Chuck

      We’ve done both and if your draft will let you, take the dismal swamp route at least once. It’s awesome. Especially the part of the river leading up to it from Elizabeth City. Take care to time your arrival at the south lock as
      they won’t let you in to wait. Stop at the visitors center. Take your time. Spend the night. Check with the lockmaster at the north lock to determine what time he’ll open the bridge if you want to tie up on the long dock.
      Take a look at the distance if you plan to do it in one day. That will mean skipping the visitors center and traveling around 6 to 7 mph (5 -6 knots).
      But, if you’re a full displacement boat, at 6 – 7 mph you’ll start to lift stuff off the bottom (old logs) that could hit your props or rudder (depending on how they are protected) and definitely throw up obstacles for the boats following. You’ll also suck a lot of water away from the banks at this speed which will exacerbate erosion.
      If you go the Coinjock route, make sure you get your order in for the Prime Rib early. The 32 oz is ridiculously large.
      Bob & Kemba DeGroot

      We appreciate all of the kind words and raves. Of course, we are in favor of everyone whose draft will allow, visiting the Great Dismal Swamp Canal. It truly is one of the `last Wild Places, and a step back in time. Come enjoy the view.
      Donna Stewart, Director, Great Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s North Carolina Marina Directory Listing For the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s North Carolina Marina Directory Listing For Mariners Wharf [Elizabeth] City Docks

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Elizabeth City, NC

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    • Bridge Etiquette

      We have Matt and Connie to thank for these reminders about proper communication with bridge tenders.

      Just a reminder: be sure to call the bridge-tender for an opening (or that you need the opening too), even if another boat has already done so. Once you’ve passed through, if you do call the bridge with a thank you or we’re clear or whatever, please be sure to ID your vessel so they don’t close the bridge on someone behind coming through the other direction.
      We just took our boat to Fort Myers from Hernando Beach (48 nm N of Tampa) and at Venice (N. of inlet) we called for a bridge opening, but the Hinckley Picnic Boat going NB did not. Result, radar, satellite dome, mast etc., cleared from the picnic boat and a very costly picnic indeed. Going into Gasparilla Sound we very nearly had the same thing happen to us when the boat ahead radioed “thanks bridge-master, we’re clear.” Mrs. Mattson quickly straightened that out though.
      Matt & Connie aboard “Mischief” Prairie 29

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    • Important – Foul Bottom on Wimbee Creek Anchorage, near AICW Statute Mile 523, 6/18/12


      After following the mostly sheltered waters of the AICW running south from Charleston, while cruising to Beaufort, South Carolina, cruisers might well be excused when they exit the southwesterly entrance of the Ashepoo – Coosaw Cutoff, for gasping just a bit at the wide swath of open waters which spread out before them. This mighty body of water is the Coosaw River, which the AICW follows mostly west to the northern entrance of Brickyard Creek (thence south to Beaufort).
      Our very good friends, Captains Mark and Diana Doyle, have obviously explored these waters themselves over the past couple of decades while researching their superb “Managing the Waterway” series of guide books.
      As you will read below, one stream where they had dropped the hook before was Wimbee Creek. This stream cuts off from the Bull River, which itself makes into the Coosaw’s northern flank near Statute Mile 521 (see chart to the above right). HOWEVER A VERY DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE GREETED OUR EXPERIENCED CRUISING DUO ON THIS OCCASION!
      As you will read below, Diana and Mark discovered the hard way that a portion of Wimbee Creek has a very foul bottom. Farther upstream (see below), it’s apparently safe (or at least “safer”) to drop the hook, but the creek’s waters, southeast of charted “Chisolm,” where chart 11518 shows a sounding of “11” feet, are definitely off limits!
      The SSECN is declaring a Navigational Alert for these waters!

      Hi Claiborne,
      On June 10, 2012, we anchored in Wimbee Creek, a popular anchorage off Bull River, running north of the Coosaw River in South Carolina. In 13 feet (MLLW) we deployed a Bruce anchor with 120′ of chain, compensating for the expected additional 7 feet of tide in this area. Like nearly all our surveyed anchorages in Georgia and southern South Carolina, we anticipated high current.
      Unfortunately, within a few hours our ground tackle started behaving abnormally. At first we attributed it to opposing wind and current, but it was soon apparent something more serious and unusual was occurring.
      The wind continued to climb and thunderstorms could be seen advancing so we decided to retrieve the anchor and re-set. We were stopped short at about 60 feet of chain’”in 13 feet of water’”stuck on something so large that any attempts by the windlass or by “running over” the anchor merely pulled our bow down!
      We were stuck, short-scoped, with strong thunderstorm activity predicted throughout the night, but with no choice but to wait for TowboatU.S. to bring a diver the next morning.
      We payed back out the recovered 60 feet of chain and spent an uncomfortable night.
      Roy Stegall, a cruiser on s/v Gideon who works part-time for TowboatU.S. Port Royal, and Gene Clark, an experienced diver, arrived on the scene at 0745 hrs. the next morning. It took Gene a couple of hours of blind handwork in the tannic, murky high current to get control of the situation.
      His report from down-under: A wide area of huge “rocks”‘”which we later determined were likely dumped construction debris from an old foundation’”covered the mud bottom. Some of the chunks were half the size of the TowBoatU.S. vessel! As the strong winds and currents continuously shifted, our chain had actually been pulled UNDER one of these huge boulders, requiring a rolling hitch and hard horizontal yank using the TowBoatU.S. vessel to pop it free.
      This was no ordinary anchor-fouling. The anchor was free and about 20 feet from the boulder. This was a chain-fouling!
      A resident yelled out from his dock that a nearby trawler, anchored further up the creek on what looked like a back-up nylon rode, had just lost its anchor and chain in the same area and was waiting to try to locate it.
      So this area is a serious hazard and has claimed at least two boats.
      The problem site is south of the center of Wimbee Creek, off the second residential dock. Do not anchor anywhere near the first through third docks. Instead, proceed further up the creek, and stay well off the shore.
      The chartlet below shows our new anchored position, the fouled area, and the depths (and tides) we read thoughout this anchorage.
      Our heartfelt thanks to the excellent team at TowBoatU.S. Port Royal for safely turning around what could have been an even worse situation!
      Best and see you On the Water,
      Captains Mark & Diana Doyle
      http://www.OnTheWaterChartGuides.com

      Not To Be Used For Navigation

       

      Did I luck out! Two years ago, I anchored in that exact same spot (well, obviously, not exactly the same; I’d still be there).
      Donovan

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To A “Navigation Alert” Position on Wimbee Creek, Southeast of Chisolm

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    • Panama City, Florida Plans Redevelopment of the Downtown Marina

      The Panama City Marina is located on the intercoastal Waterway one block from Downtown Panama City. The Panama City Marina is a newly renovated 240-slip marina facility designed for all classes of vesPanama City Marina, A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, is one of two facilities owned and operated by the City of Panama City, Florida. The marina is located directly on the Northern Gulf ICW, a short hop from Panama City Inlet, and only one block from the downtown Panama City business district. Panama City Marina is a newly renovated 240-slip marina facility designed for all classes of vessels, from 30 feet to 120 feet with drafts to 10 feet.

      Reprinted from the June 9th Panama City New Herald, Ali Helgoth, News Herald Writer.
      PANAMA CITY ‘” Panama City’s plans to redevelop the downtown marina include bringing private enterprise to help invigorate the area’s economy. But, before city officials can try to convince businesses to locate there, they have to convince state officials to allow it. Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) Director William Whitson said he is hopeful discussions will go well and the issue will be resolved this summer, keeping the project on schedule.
      `The state talks about wanting economic development, so here’s a real opportunity to help create jobs and to partner together, and that’s what we’re hoping we can achieve out of this process,’ he said.
      The marina property was built up more than 50 years ago and leased to the city for public use. Commercial enterprises are not considered public purposes, so before the project can be a revenue generator, which is a goal, the lease must be changed.
      In a letter written earlier this week to Whitson, William Harrison, an attorney hired by the city to represent its interests in the process of changing the lease, outlined the recent history of the lease.
      In December 1991, the state leased the marina property `only for public purposes,’ and in January 2011 renewed the lease through 2018 for operation of the marina and boat ramp with an upland commercial marina, he wrote.
      Harrison is waiting for a determination from the state about whether a change in the lease is needed before the first phase of renovations can begin.
      What’s planned
      Phase one, which is still on schedule, includes rerouting parking for those who use the boat ramp, seawall repair and the lighthouse park, which will include a splash pad and an amphitheater, among other features. It is estimated to cost $3.92 million. The total cost of the project is estimated between $11 million and $28 million. The difference is attributed to questions about the extent of work needed to repair or replace the seawall. Changes to the submerged land lease likely would be needed before construction begins on the second phase. It includes improvements to the city park, the area between City Hall and the civic center, and at City Hall. There are pads identified for potential commercial use, and Mayor Greg Brudnicki has advocated relocating City Hall to allow the area to be used for commercial purposes. He has spoken in support for a major attraction, like an aquarium.
      During a CRA meeting at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Harrison will give an update on the process of changing the lease and explain the different avenues for commercial development on the marina. In his June 4 letter, Harrison wrote the city has two paths to reaching its objectives: be the developer or sublease specific locations for private development.
      Harrison recommended `the CRA as sub-lessor be given serious consideration.’
      Whitson said he’s not sure which way the CRA board, which is comprised of city commissioners, will want to go.
      `I don’t know yet,’ he said. `I think it’s kind of early yet to figure out exactly how we’re going to approach this.’

      Panama City Marina

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Panama City Marina

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