Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Intracoastal Waterway

We had originally planned to go north from Beaufort on the outside, around the Outer Banks, and head straight up to Ocean City, Maryland. This is opposed to travelling on the inside, along the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW). The ICW consists of natural and man-made waterways that stretch from the northeastern U.S. to Texas. In some areas, the ICW is exposed to outside waters, such as the stretch between Apalachicola and Clearwater, Florida, where you just travel offshore. Elsewhere, the ICW runs through natural waterways, such as behind barrier islands. And in other areas, the ICW is a narrow canal dug soley for the purpose of allowing boat traffic to move in protected waters. Thus far on our journey, we have not travelled much on the ICW, except in sections of Hawk Channel in the Florida Keys. Considerable shoaling has been reported along much of the ICW in northeast Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, so we avoided those areas by going offshore. Also, numerous bridges cross the ICW, and while some are 65 feet high and easy to go under, others are much lower and require that you wait while the bridge opens for you. This can require complex timing on the cruiser’s part.

Anyway, the weather gods ultimately decided that we really needed to see the ICW through North Carolina and Virginia, and they never produced a weather forecast conducive to traveling north on the outside. Our friends on Freedom and Blue Blaze were headed up the ICW, so we tagged along. The water depths along this section were pretty good, and there weren’t too many bridges to deal with. We had a good time, and got to sleep every night. The scenery was great, and included:

bucolic middle of nowhere,

lightly residential,


and highly industrialized.


  1. Loved the pics, guys! Especially the one of you and the Nunemakers. Hilarious story. Have fun in NYC.

  2. Thanks! We're trying to figure out the best way of getting to Manhattan without paying up to $6/ft/day - can you believe that price!