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    • Dewees Creek Anchorage – Captain Jane Reports (Statute Mile 455)

      Sunset at Dewees Creek

      Here’s another superb story from our fearless roving reporter, Captain Jane Tigar. Her story below concerns anchoring on Dewees Creek, This somewhat complicated, but undeniably anchor rich complex of creeks intersects the AICW south of marker #109. As Captain Jane notes, there are seaward and land-side branches of Dewees Creek. The western arm, in particular has many possibly havens, including on on charted Long Creek.

      Even if you think you’d rather be in a marina, this is an anchorage that could change your mind. There are at least four separate anchoring areas — and that’s without going up the creek and exploring — and there’s plenty of room to maneuver.
      First, you have two options, West off the AICW or East off the AICW. We did not personally explore the Eastern option but observed a large sailing catamaran take the turn, go past the ferry dock at Dewees Island and drop the hook pretty much exactly as Skipper Bob suggests. She was still there in the morning where we’d last spied her — so we presume it was a good spot. From the Waterway, this Eastern choice appears a little less picturesque than the Western option and you do have Gray Aggie taking people back and forth to Isle of Palms, a feature that is neither a plus nor minus in my book.
      We chose West just because it looked pretty. We found lots of deep water, just as charted — even the numbers we thought were typos such as a 71 which we were sure would be 17 were accurate. Had you been listening in on us, you would have heard us both say, with great surprise: Nope, it’s really 71!
      The Western option offers you at least three obvious choices without wandering far off the AICW — you can go straight ahead (which we did), take a port turn or take a starboard turn, each to what appear to be fine anchoring spots. Going straight ahead, we found that the depths drop to 20 and just past the first creek arm to port, we found depths of mid- to high teens — perfect for anchoring. There is so much room here, we felt very comfortable, even if a parade of boats were to join us as Isle of Palms Marina and some in Charleston, too, were full. As it turned out, only four vessels joined us for the night. One right near us in the main section of the creek as you can see in the sunset photograph. Another chose the slender arm that heads South. Two other boats took the first turn to North.
      It was a breezy night and we found holding excellent. The currents aligned us for a splendid sunset and in the morning conveniently spun us so we faced east for an equally splendid sunrise coming up over the ocean as we reentered the AICW.
      It doesn’t get better than this.
      Captain Jane
      S/V Lady Jane

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s South Carolina Anchorage Directory Listing For Dewees Creek Anchorages

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Dewees Creek

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    • More Praise for Sunbury Crab Company Marina (Medway River, near St. M. 620)

       Panoramic View of the Sunbury Harbor Relaxed Laid-Back Atmosphere Fresh Steamed Blue Crabs caught Daily Homemade Crab Cakes and Crab StewRestaurant offers a Full-Service BarSunday Home-Cooking LunchThe Sunbury Crab Company Marina lies off the AICW along the western shores of the Medway River, on the charted Sunbury Channel, north of Dickinson Creek. And they are A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!

      We spent last night, November 12, 2010 at Sunbury Crab Co. We were the only boaters here. Very nice people, although no one greeted us at the dock, no problem docking ourselves. Elaine, the owner, was great, she even let us take showers in her house! Had a hearty seafood dinner at the restaurant and really enjoyed the southern hospitality. Will come back for sure! Was worth the diversion off the ICW.
      Captains Wendy & Lee
      aboard Peacemonger headed for Captiva.

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Georgia Marina Directory Listing For Sunbury Crab Company

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Sunbury Crab Compay

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    • ALERT! Be Aware of Pedestrians on AICW Fixed Bridges

      This warning refers to the Seabreeze Bridge which crosses the AICW at Statute Mile 829, but a similar situation could occur at any fixed bridge!

      Wednesday evening, November 10, 2010, we accompanied another boat southbound into Daytona Beach, FL. North of the city is a 65′, twin span, high rise bridge called “Seabreeze.” Two (apparently teenage) males were on the bridge throwing “lemon sized” rocks at boats passing through. The boat I was traveling with was hit twice. His boat has a fiberglass pilothouse roof, and there was no apparent damage. No one was hurt. Sanctuary has a canvass top, so we stopped short of the bridge. It was getting late, and chilly, and after a few minutes, the “youngsters” lost interest and left. Police were called on both VHF radio and 911, but did not respond in the 15 minutes we were on scene.
      So, just a heads up to those who might be in the area. And, I guess, more generally when traveling. Scan bridge spans with binoculars, and be wary if people appear to be waiting for you to pass through.
      Captains Peg and Jim Healy aboard Sanctuary

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Eastern Florida Marina Directory Listing For The Seabrezze Bridge

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    • “Dragons” in Oriental, NC (Statute Mile 181)

      Our “fearless roving reporter,” Captain Jane Tigar, is once again on the AICW, and filing stories for the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net. Captain Jane’s first installment below deals with her home port, Oriental, North Carolina.
      Watch out for “dragons” in this otherwise charming riverside village!

      I’m biased and admit our hailing port is Oriental, NC. I also admit we might have passed her by had our first Lady Jane not needed repairs an hour north of Oriental on our maiden ICW voyage a decade ago proving there’s an advantage to everything.
      Bias aside, don’t pass Oriental by even if you don’t need an emergency repair by the reliable and friendly folks at Deatons boat yard, or a good dinner at the Steamer or M&Ms or the upgraded Toucan Grill or breakfast at Brantley’s where some mornings a baker stops in selling fresh baked fruit and lemon meringue pies.
      Stop in Oriental if for no other reason than because it is the only place in the world — we are quite sure of this –where you can observe an actual nesting site of the rare elusive North Carolina dragon.
      Anchor out just out by the bridge or use the free town dock if you can snag a space. Walk across the street to The Bean, an essential local and cruisers hang out featuring coffee, tea, ice cream and breakfast pastries and, drum roll … Free wifi!
      But I digress.
      Don’t go up to The Bean yet. You are really close… Facing The Bean, look to your left, in the tall grasses until you find this official wildlife sign … Now you are on your own to catch sight of the rare North Carolina dragon.
      Good luck and let us know if you enjoyed your visit in Oriental, NC, a must-visit stop on the ICW.
      Captain Jane
      S/V Lady Jane

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    • Red Marker Added in Northern Fields Cut, AICW Statute Mile 573

      The area Captain Monsein describes is the infamous Fields Cut which is the very last stretch of the AICW in South Carolina and, despite dredging last Spring, continues to shoal in spots. It is gratifying that the USCG has recognized the shoaling and added a temporary marker.

      In vicinity of Dafuskie Island, South Carolina: while southbound on ICW at buoy 49- there is a ” local temporary” red marker marking a sand bar. Be sure to honor this unusual marker.
      Also- while southbound, just north of the Savannah River crossing after passing Dafuskie Island, there is significant shoaling with depths as low as 6 feet at low tide. Use caution in this area!
      Captain Skip Monsein

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s “AICW Problem Section” Listing For The Intersection of Wright River and Northern Fields Cut

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s “AICW Problem Section” Listing For (Southern) Fields Cut

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Windows Zoomed to the Location of Fields Cut”

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    • Myrtle Beach Yacht Club Recommended (Statute Mile 346)

      Myrtle Beach Yacht Club is unmatched for its Lowcountry charm and gracious hospitality. Myrtle Beach Yacht Club is the rearmost facility on Coquina Harbor. The entrance channel for this body of water indents the northern banks of the Waterway, opposite marker #13. MBYC is known for having some of the best fuel prices on the Waterway, AND they are a SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR.
      Oh yes, in addition to the Officer’s Club restaurant mentioned below, don’t dare miss the adjacent Umberto’s Restaurant. The chops served here are legendary up and down the AICW!

      SweetPea is now located at Myrtle Beach Yacht club mile marker 345.9 and and will remain here till after the Thanksgiving holiday. Though we have just arrived I can say this the people here are very friendly and the Officers Club (restaurant) is excellent ! Those boaters heading south if you land here for a night or extended stay stop in and see us. The entrance of the harbour is marked by a lighthouse.
      Jim and Dale McGovern
      aboard SweetPea

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s South Carolina Marina Directory Listing For Myrtle Beach Yacht Club

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Myrtle Beach Yacht Club

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    • More Shallow Depths South of McClellanville at AICW Statute Mile 431

      As you approach the southside of McClellanville on the AICW, please heed earlier advice to favor the red side, especially in the stretch between markers 37 and 38. Please open the links below for more information and a Chart View of this area.

      After anchoring in the South Santee River we headed for Isle of Palms yesterday morning ( 11/5/2010 )’¦ we traversed the McClellanville stretch 2 hours after high tide (falling) all seemed well in the middle of the channel until we sited depths in the 5 foot range in 3 different places through that run ‘¦ all in mid-channel ‘¦ had our water tanks been full, we’d have grounded for sure.

      Transited the area today about 2 hours before low tide. While we did see the occasional 8′ or 7.9 we saw nothing approaching 5’ while following the channel. The channel does indeed favor the red in general (that is, it is NOT in the center of the water) but it was quite possible to transit in relatively low water.
      Captain Leigh

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the “Alert” Section of the AICW South of McClellanville, SC Where The Shallow Water Described Above Was Encountered

      Click Here To View An Earlier Posting on this Area

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    • Possible Marker Confusion at AICW/Crooked/Brickhill Rivers Intersection, AICW Statute Mile 703

      Captain Botkin is responding to this week’s Spectacular Grounding photo posting and the Georgia AICW stretch to which he refers is the Cumberland Dividings, long a trouble spot for shoaling. Take his advice: look at the marks and be sure that they are AICW marks with either a gold square or gold triangle! Also, click the link below for Captain Adam’s explanation of ICW markers.

      There’s a similar situation at about MM 703 where the Crooked River intersects the Brickhill River just south of the Cumberland Dividings. R62 looks like a marker for the Brickhill River, but it’s not. The chartplotter shows you aground, but you must honor all these red markers as ICW markers. Turn off your chartplotter! And ignore the magenta line!
      Captain Danny Botkin

      We will be going thru this tomorrow morning timed with a higher tide’¦.but thought I would let you know that a power boat ended up aground there at r60 for several hours and there was a lot of talking to southbound boats by Tow Boat US who was waiting for some tide to come in and help float them out of a bad situation’¦..wakes from passing boats evidently had washed them even further into trouble’¦.we could not see this from our anchorage but listened. We were aground here last year and have copious notes on our paper and elect. charts. Beware as of Nov 7th 2010 this continues to be a real problem.
      Captains Sami and Barry

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Cumberland Dividings

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s “AICW Problem Section” Listing For Cumberland Dividings

      Click Here To View An Article on ICW Markers

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    • A Good Explanantion of AICW Markers

      As old timers like me would say, the addition of the gold squares and triangles to ICW markers years ago was the best thing since sliced bread! They really assist at intersections where multiple sets of marks may occur. It’s hard to believe, but sadly true, that there are ICW boaters who have never noticed the small squares and triangles. Captain Adams does an excellent job of explaining their meaning and their use.

      Here are my thoughts on the spectacular grounding in Georgia. First, if the chart plotter was working properly I doubt that the chart plotter was in error. I’m not sure that a lot of people understand that the markers and buoys in the ICW are dual purpose. on each of the ICW markers or buoys you will see either a yellow triangle or a yellow square and it doesn’t matter if the marker or buoy is red or green. When traveling from say Boston, Mass. to Brownsville, Texas you would keep the marker with the yellow triangle on your starboard side and the yellow square on your port side for the entire trip, and do just the opposite when traveling the reverse direction. A lot of people say that when going south keep the yellow triangle on the starboard side. However, when traveling south on the West Coast of Florida this would put you out of the channel. Rather than to use north or south I like to use the terms `Land side (yellow triangle)’ or Sea side (yellow square)’. One last thing I would like to point out is that traveling the ICW going through Georgia and South Carolina, the Red and Green markers swap sides in the channel depending on which inlet you are passing (going in either direction) so red right returning is not really true if you are relying on that old saying. You have to pay attention to the Yellow symbol on the marker to determine which side to pass on and all of the electronic charts I have ever used have always been right on. I can’t tell in the picture if the yellow indicator is a square or triangle but it has to be a yellow square if you would pass to the east as indicated by the boater who passed by. So my guess is that this was an operator error.
      I see this happen a lot where people with a lot of money go out and buy a big fast boat without any experience or navigational knowledge (there are hundreds of Sea Ray stories). They are told to keep the red markers on their right side and sometimes this is what happens, so it’s obviously the chart plotters fault since they kept the red marker on their right side. Use your electronics as a tool not a rule and reference your paper charts often and plan in advance. Keep your eyes ahead and stay alert, and when in doubt, slow down and assess the situation.
      John Adams, Captain, USCG Master aboard MV Ithaca

      Seems that your explanation is a convulated way of saying that red marks are triangular and green marks are square. The reflective gold marks are also triangular and square so that you may ascertain the shape in the dark.
      I too teach my students, GREEN TO SEA. Thus, they are able to ascertain which color is on which side.
      Yes, many inlets intersect the ICW and can cause confusion; St. Augustine comes to mind.
      Capt. Guy

      The idea that the `yellow’ marks identify the ICW is simply not totally true. They are used on all Federal Waterways. North bound on the ICW arriving in Stuart has 2 #2 markers (with yellow symbols) close to each other. They should be passed to your port northbound. If you are heading west on the Okeechobee waterway to cross the big `O’ you will find a red marker #2 with a yellow mark that must be taken to your starboard. It is only 200 yds from the other #2 (complete with yellow symbols). Don’t take my word for it. Check it out your self and be very careful when Federal Waterways intersect.
      Captain Ed Potter

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    • Important – Boarding Incident in Volusia County (between New Smyrna Beach and Mosquito Lagoon)

      Last night (11/3/10), my telephone rang about 9:15 pm. It was a fellow cruiser, who has since asked not to be identified, and whose name I will protect as a “confidential source.” He verbally described a surprising incident which had occurred on his craft a few hours before, during which his vessel was boarded by Volusia County sheriff deputies, “with weapons drawn.” I urged the skipper in question to forward an account of the incident via e-mail in the morning (today, 11/4/10), and the note below is the result.
      Let me pause here for a moment to note how gratified all of us are at the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net, that the skipper involved in this incident chose to contact us as his first line of inquiry into this less than calming incident. We are proud the Cruisers’ Net can serve as spokesperson for the cruising community in matters of this ilk.
      I had a second telephone conversation with the captain this morning, to determine further details, and to make sure the boarding took place in Volusia county. All my questions were answered, and it was indeed determined that the boarding took place in Volusia county waters. It seems logical, therefore, to conclude that the law enforcement officers involved were deputies of the Volusia County Sheriff’s Department.
      I further called an area government employee, whose name I will also protect as a confidential source, and was told among other things, that there is a member of the county sheriff’s department who can be “heavy handed.”
      So much for the facts, as I have discovered them. I will now take the liberty of wandering into some editorial comments.
      First, let me make it crystal clear that I am NOT a lawyer, so the opinions expressed here are in my role as a Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net editor. Furthermore, it is always possible that I am not in possession of all the facts, but can only comment on what I know thus far.
      It seems to me that the incident described below can be divided into two areas of concern. First, there is the issue of the $250.00 citation for failure to secure an overboard discharge valve. Clearly, this is a legal question upon which I, and most other cruisers, are not qualified to comment.
      The real cause of my concern is the manner in which the boarding took place, and the MSD inspection was conducted. No asking of permission to board, and approaching the vessel’s captain with loaded weapon drawn, seems beyond the proverbial pale to this writer. Is this how Volusia county wants to treat its waterborne visitors? I think not!
      And, let’s be very careful NOT to tar all government officials and agencies in Volusia county with the same brush. I, myself, for many years have received one of the warmest welcomes on the Waterway at New Smyrna Beach City Marina, and have always found this community to be a shining example of Florida charm!
      The Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net eagerly asks the cruising community to PLEASE pass along full accounts of any MSD inspection of your vessel in Volusia County waters (or anywhere else in Florida for that matter). And, may we be so bold as to advise that everyone proceed along this section of the Waterway with the greatest of caution.

      Dear Claiborne,
      I am the owner of Gulfstar 50 cruising sailboat . . . . I have been bringing the boat from Newport RI to southern Florida and points south for the last 14 years.Today,wed Nov. 3,2010, I was transiting the AICW from New Smyrna, Florida, southbound. I had come in from offshore last night, shutting my sanitation valves and diverting them to holding tanks as is my practice when onshore. They are remotely located and accessible only to me. My crew has no knowledge of their location.
      At 1000 while I was below cooking bacon, my crew who was driving, yelled to me “we are being boarded by police”. We gave no provocation for this incident. I prepared to shut off and secure the stove, hot liquid bacon grease,propane,flame etc. Next thing I see is an officer right next to me in the corridor of the galley with a .45 caliber automatic weapon drawn and pointed at my chest. “Get on deck” he ordered.
      These officers never asked permission to board. We were cruising at 7 knots. 2 of the 3 officers had jumped on board . The remaining officer fell back in my wake in his boat, while the other officer (the one who had drawn his weapon on me), put dye in my heads and flushed. The boat behind said he saw no dye. So my tanks were retaining the discharge. The other officer on board proceeded to issue me a $250. citation for one “unsecured valve”
      In conclusion, I think this type of unprovoked assault on an innocent cruising boat is inappropriate to say the least . It is uncalled for and an overreach of power. We had done absolutely nothing wrong. and we were not discharging anything overboard. my crew did not know where the. valves were. I was the operator of the vessel and was in total control of the sanitation system, yet I was given a citation (under gunpoint) referencing 327.53 which says I must do what I had already done.
      Name Withheld by Request

      I issued a Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net Alert on the above posting at approximately 2:45 pm on 11/4/10. As I suspected, this Alert created a firestorm of comment and protest (see below). Very significantly, several fellow cruisers who are citizens of Volusia County e-mailed the Volusia County Sheriff’s office, and copied them on my alert and link to the above article. Speaking through their information officer, the Sheriff’s office has responded with the note below.

      Thanks to all who’ve written to inquire about this incident. Unfortunately, the events as depicted on the web site posting don’t convey all of the relevant facts surrounding the incident in question.
      First off, the author is in fact correct that no provocation with law enforcement had occurred prior to the boarding. However, it should be clearly understood that no provocation is required, or even permission needed, for law enforcement to board a craft for the purposes of conducting a lawful inspection. The reality is that transient crafts moving through the waterways within our jurisdiction have been known to dump sewage into our waterways on many occasions. Along with ensuring boating safety and compliance with the rules of the water, the prevention of sewage dumping is another responsibility taken very seriously by the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office and its Marine Unit. I feel certain that everyone with an interest in preventing the pollution of our waterways appreciates our efforts in this regard.
      With that in mind, some key facts were omitted from the description of the encounter on November 3, 2010. Most notably, when our deputies boarded the craft, they ordered the two occupants on the top deck to stay where they were. In direct defiance of the deputies’ order, one of the passengers ran to the cabin area, where noises could then be heard that sounded as if compartments or drawers were being opened. Not knowing the intent of the passenger or the reason for his failure to comply with their orders, and fearing that he may have been reaching for a weapon, a deputy did in fact draw his duty weapon for officer safety purposes.
      This in no way was inappropriate, an over-reaction or an unprovoked assault, as alleged by the writer. Given the sequence of events, this was an entirely appropriate and necessary act on the part of the deputy until they could secure the occupants and gain control of the scene. To those on this web site who are questioning the actions of our deputies, I ask you to think for just a moment what you would have done in the same circumstance. Given the dangers that law enforcement officers face every day on the job, I also ask you to stop and consider what might have occurred if the passenger was, in fact, reaching for a weapon and the deputy had not drawn his weapon for protection. Our deputies are trained to exercise restraint. But they also are trained to draw their weapons if they perceive the potential for harm. Waiting for the danger to be upon them is tragically too late to react.
      Lastly, it should be noted that the inspection of the craft did result in the discovery of a discharge valve that was not properly secured, as required. As unsettling as these events may have been for the occupants of the craft, the events would have transpired much differently had all of the occupants simply complied with the lawful commands of law enforcement.
      Gary Davidson
      Public Information Officer
      Volusia County Sheriff’s Office

      During the evening of 11/5/10, I once again spoke with the Captain whose vessel was boarded. He/She said that he/she was overwhelmed with the response generated by the Cruisers’ Net. Furthermore, he stated that “I’ve made my case, and the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office has made theirs. I’d like to leave it at that.”
      And, we shall certainly honor his/her wishes.

      Click Here To View Comments from Fellow Cruisers on the Volusia County MSD Boarding

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