This is my 20th year of creating the Island Packet Yacht Owners Association calendar. I create this to make $5.00 profit off each sale. The profits go to offset the $1,000+ cost of hosting the website for IPYOA.com where we have nearly 20,000 digital photos uploaded by IP owners. My calendar sales are usually 75-100 calendars total, netting me $350-$500 per year. So, you can see that I am living off this income and going sailing…ha ha ha! NOT. Please take a look at these fantastic photos. Enjoy…
This is an easy section of the ICW, Georgetown SC to Charleston SC, with your biggest challenge being the Ben Sawyer Bridge and the Charleston harbor current. After a lovely few days walking the town of Georgetown and buying shrimp at the coop, and taking in the many beautiful homes on self-guided walking tours, we decided to move on. Again, we have no schedule, no agenda, just working our way south to the warmth of Florida. Of course, our near-term goal is to be in Stuart Florida for the best Thanksgiving on the waterway, but other than that, no rush at all.
Shrimp and Grits…..ahhh
Radeen is a great boat chief and she loves to cook, so when in “low country” you always buy some shrimp. In Georgetown, there is a local fish coop where the fishermen dock and sell directly to the public. Large shrimp with the heads off costs $7.00/lb! We bought two lbs and steamed some for a chilled shrimp cocktail and then Radeen made some wonderful shrimp and grits for a mid-afternoon meal. What a joy…..
Walking Tours of Georgetown, SC
With the many rice plantations and then indigo plantations nearby, this was a very prosperous town. Add in the deep water harbor and the close ocean access one can easily imagine the many colonial ships docked here in the early 1700s. The town’s museum is amazing and has been here for decades. The visitor’s center has a free self-guided walking tour of over 50 homes. These homes are within blocks of the harbor and we always walk the town and study the architecture of these beautiful colonial homes. Here are two beautiful examples.
Moving on to Whiteside Creek
Departing Georgetown, takes you back into the ICW for a simple two-day run to the next dream stop of Charleston, SC. Day one is about a 40+ nm run to a remote creek called Whiteside creek. These long and deep (15-20 ft) creeks run into the salt marshes and wind their way back off the ICW. With four Island Packets running together, this creek was a perfect stop for our fleet. We easily arrived by sunset and anchored for the night. The current will ebb and flood in and out of the creek, and your boat will always bow into the current. Your anchor may be under your stern with the anchor chain going aft, but that is the way it is in a fast-flowing creek. Not a problem at all, just something to get used to,
Charleston in Sight….YES!
The next morning we planned our short run to make the Ben Sawyer Bridge opening at 10 am, then once thru there it is a quick 45 min run up the Cooper River to the Charleston Maritime Center. The challenge to docking in the fast currents of Charleston is to time your docking at slack tide. Today for our docking this was at 11 am and we hit it right on. I have seen many yachts crash into other yachts when trying to dock in these currents. It is something to take seriously.
One of the photos we always try to capture is the view of the Ravenel Bridge from just after the Ben Swayer Bridge. This always raises excitement because that is a landmark of current-day Charleston. When we see this bridge over the horizon we know we are near one of our all-time favorite stops. Charleston South Carolina.
Docked at the Maritime Center
Many boaters will arrive in Charleston and dock over on the Ashley River to the west at the MEGA DOCK. but, those that know the city and where all the action is will dock on the Cooper River to the East. This places you directly on East Bay Street where you want to be. From the Maritime Center, you are a few blocks from Harris Teeter grocery store and all the fine restaurants and markets on East Bay Street. You are an easy walk a few blocks into the College of Charleston where you will then intersect King Street for a fun walk past all the amazing shops. This will lead you down to Market street where you turn east and take in all the local vendors and maybe even a horse-drawn carriage ride. Charleston, what a joy to discover and re-discover. We always book one week here and have for over ten years. We love this town. This is a must-stop location on the ICW.
The next post will show more of Charleston….
Thank you again, for sailing along with Team Island Spirit. with this being our 11th year of running south, we still love this activity. As long as the boat systems are running well, life is good. So far, lucky for us, all systems are running well. Imagine, after a full summer of tearing apart the entire motor and drive train, along with Autopilot, radar, B&G network, and the windlass, we simply then took off. Today, we feel relieved that all systems are performing well. Lucky we are and we know it.
In the words of Neil Young….LONG MAY YOU RUN…..
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The ICW, Intracoastal Waterway from Mile Marker Zero to Georgetown SC is so diverse and so interesting. We never get bored with this trip due to the many changes in the waterway from place to place. This diversity is the true beauty and joy of this run. Again, this is our 11th run south (we think, as we are losing track) but still, it is a real joy. It is even more fun with a fleet of Island Packet Owners and lifetime friends, Jeff & Sharon on 420 Lucille. At various times, we have been joined by RuthAnn & Larry of 37 Cambiar, Linda & Mahlon of 35 Just Ducky and Rose & Mark of Painkiller. Presented here are the best photos along the way as we moved into the ICW.
Departing Mile Zero
The famous GILMERTON BRIDGE at Norfolk. This is a combination railroad bridge and a highway bridge. This bridge is one hour from Portsmouth and it is your first challenge. The large vertical lifts are the structure to lift up the highway bridge. The bridge is restricted from 0630 ( which is oh dark hundred) until 0830 when they provide the first lift. With that schedule, you leave Portsmouth at 0730 and plan to arrive here for the 0830 openings. As we experienced, there might be a train coming that causes the RR bridge to lower and now you need to wait on the train. Eventually the two bridges open and off you all go heading south into the waterway.
On to Coinjock vs the Dismal Swamp
We used to run the beautiful Dismal Swamp, but with the convenience of Coinjock with fuel, water, and pump out at each slip, we have started to run the VA Cut and go that route. Plus who can resist a PRIME RIB dinner and a class of Red Wine? Not me. But the first stop on the way to Coinjock is the town of Great Bridge. Due to speed, time and distance, you really can’t easily make it from Gilmerton to Coinjock in one day. You can, but you will arrive late in the day 5-6 pm and who wants to do that? So, you stop on the free docks at Great Bridge and enjoy the town. The Great Bridge lock is simply a lock to hold the brackish waters of the river, back from the saltwater of Norfolk. It does not change in elevation very much, so there is only one lock on this VA Cut vs. two locks on the Dismal.
Cross the Scary Albemarle Sound
The next leg takes you on a sail across the 14 miles of the famed Albemarle Sound. It is shallow and with a strong wind, it can be rough. Like 1-2-3 foot waves! YIKES, and many people are always concerned about this crossing. With many crossings, we have never had a bad crossing, Usually, we can sail across, and this day we had a dream sail. We fley the code zero and deployed it on a wing on wing set. Unreal.
Alligators and Pungo River Canal
The anchorage at Deep Point, the stopping point before running the 22nm canal, is always a sunset paradise. Arriving about 1-2 hours before sunset, we all anchored in the 6-8 foot waters along with many other boats running south. Then at sunset, there it was again, the famed Deep Point beautiful sunset. For me….schedule the tugboat pushing a pile driver for sunset….perfect….thank you!
The next day, we had to wait out the fog and by 9 am it lifted and we could see the canal, and off we all went into the beautiful 22 nm canal where you might see turtles, eagles, deer, bears, egrets, and osprey, all of which I saw none. A first for us. I still enjoyed the reflections of the morning light and the peacefulness of this run. I like these long canals, you can’t go wrong with your navigating, just stay in the middle 🙂
Dream Sail Across the Neuse
We spent the night on the anchor in Belhaven and had a great walk around town. The next day we had a surprise sailing day. None of us anticipated this, and we all started out with a motor and a jib, only to discover 12-15 knots on the beam, so up went the mainsails as well. Now we had a race! Everyone out on the water was racing down the river to cross the Neuse River and it was incredible. One of the best sailing days on the ICW ever. This rarely happens. What a joy this was. Of course Big Momma 420 LUCILLE blew us all away, and the 35 Just Ducky and Island Spirit and 37 Cambia tried to sail with her. NO WAY, not possible. What a fun day! This photo will make the 20th edition of my IPYOA sailing calendar.
A new SOUTH RIVER anchorage
Thanks to IP owners Jim and Lynn, local to this area, they told us about South River. We needed a place to wait out one day as the strong SW winds of 20-25 were blowing down on the coast at Beaufort NC. We did not want to run that, so we decided to wait a day on anchor. So into the South River off the Neuse, we diverted, and what a joy that was. Thank you. We stays an extra day there and waited out the winds. It worked out great. Of course with a lay day, that brought out the baker on Island Spirit and we made our first batch of coconut cranberry scones. See www.BoatRecipes.com for my recipe.
Cold in the Mornings
It has not been that cold this year, and our lowest inside boat temp has been 49f. Usually, by mid-day, it is up to 60-65f, but at nighttime when the sun goes down, it gets cold fast. This is our usual gear in the morning…ha ha ha
We Reach Wrightsville Beach, a fav.
The first beach that we can access to walk and go shelling is Wrightsville Beach, NC. This town is an all-time favorite of ours. We always take an extra day here to enjoy the beach, walk the town, access some great places to eat, and simply slow down. This town is so active, people are walking, jogging and working out all the time. It is a college town with UNC nearby, but it is also a very wealthy town with really beautiful homes and docks on the harbor, The harbor is near perfection with easy access from the ICW and also a class-A ocean inlet. You can not get better than this. Wrightsville Beach, is a dream. PS: This day, Radeen and I walked 15,500 steps, 7.5 miles…ahhhhh
Southport Friends, Bill, and Trish
We all spent 5 winters together in the Florida Keys and Bahamas. Boating friends are lifetime friends, and this was yet another example. We have not seen each other for years, but it was like we just left. Bill and Trish build a custom cool home in Southport and someday we will drop anchor or dock at the Fish Camp and Provisioning company and walk up and see this. But with time and distance, we passed on that and docked at St James. So, they drove down and we had a great night together on Island Spirit just like in old times. Thanks for the gifts, you two are too kind.
The Wealth of Myrtle Beach, insane
We always can’t wait to push thru Myrtle Beach, because the waterway has been abused with concrete walls and mega homes on the waterway where t-topper boats can’t really go anywhere. So what is the point? It is a crazy contrast to what will follow, the historic Socccatee bridge and the Waccamaw River Forest. Here are a few homes in this area……
Finally Waccamaw River Valley
Hayden and Radeen
Georgetown, SC Reached
This is another town we always anchor off and spend a few days. There is Rice Museum and the Fish Co-op along with a fun waterfront and nice shops on the main street. Within a mile walk is a CVS and Piggly Wiggly and more. Welcome to Georgetown SC. We are two days from Charleston SC where we will be halfway to Florida. We are so grateful to be here….thanks for sailing along
This is our 22nd season on Island Spirit and it has NOT become old or boring. This is also our 20+th run on the ICW, 10 south and 10 north, and it is just as much fun as when we first ran this in 2009. We are excited to share this run with our longtime buddy boat svLUCILLE, Jeff and Sharon. We departed Rock Hall, MD Oct 6th, and anchored out in our home creek of Swan Creek. From there, we made our normal Chesapeake Bay run of Rock Hall to Solomons, then Solomons to Deltaville, then Deltaville to Willoughby Bay, then on to Portsmouth at ICW Mile Marker Zero. Each of these days is about 50 miles, taking 8+ hours to run. At the end of each day, we anchor, take hot showers and make a nice meal or go out with buddies. I have taken so many photos, as that is my hobby, and here are some of the best with captions to show the joy of this adventure…..
Photos of Rock Hall MD to ICW Mile Zero
There we are….
As you can see, this first week of running south has been full of wonderful stops shared with great boating friends. This is the beauty of the ICW and the many stops along the waterway. The diversity of towns versus remote anchorages mixed in with wonderful colonial history presents a very educational and adventurous time. Thank you for sailing along!
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With a ton of work behind us, after the summer of refit, we have finally untied the dock lines Thursday at Oct 6th, 2022 at 1900 hrs. Out to the creek we went and dropped the hook. Our 22nd season on Island Spirit has begun. The goal is southbound to Florida, then the Bahamas, and back to the Caribbean Sea where the water if indigo blue and the beaches are pristine. Can’t wait. For now, it is a 20-day run south to Stuart Florida for Thanksgiving.
Team Island Spirit is on the launch pad, and as soon as this Noreaster storm dies down and the flooding and high winds and wave die down, we are SOUTHBOUND. For now, here is an interesting post about our CAR, the 10′-6″ AB Dinghy with the 15 hp Yamaha 2 stroke that does 22 knots! This will get us to shore for the next 7 months!
Team Island Spirit outline presents the various stops we normally use, plus I have integrated the many offshore options to go out in the ocean. Ocean runs are usually overnight and can be 12-24-36 hours. It all depends on the weather and the run. Here is the basic outline down the coast MD to FL.
Miles are Statute Miles: M
SOUTHBOUND, Starting in Rock Hall, MD
Solomons Island off Zahnisers Marina
Deltaville, VA, Jackson Creek
Hampton or Willoughby Bay
M 0 Portsmouth, VA, South Ferry Basin
M 12 Great Bridge
M 50 Coinjock
M 102 Deep Point, Alligator River
M 158 R.E. Mayo Shrimp Dock or Bonner Bay?
M 188 Cedar Creek, or Oriental
M 197 Jarrett Bay Boat Works FUEL STOP
M 200 Beaufort, NC (+ 10nm to Cape Lookout)
#1 OFFSHORE OP…
Cape Lookout to Wrightsville Beach 64 NM Or
Cape Lookout to Charleston SC 205 NM
M 228 Swansboro or M 244 Mile Hammock Bay, NC
M 283 Wrightsville Beach. NC or
M 295 Carolina Beach, NC
M 309 Southport, NC or Dutchman Creek or
M 315 St. James Plantation Marina
#2 OFFSHORE OP…
Southport to Charleston 122 NM
M 355 Barefoot Landing Marina
M 381 Waccamaw River, Bull Creek
M 403 Georgetown, SC
M 451 Whiteside Creek, SC
Charleston Maritime Center, Mile 464 Docking at slack tide only, anchor off aircraft carrier and wait
#3 OFFSHORE OP… Charleston to Fl/GA line, Fernandina Beach, FL 160 NM or Charleston to St Augustine 190 NM
M 513 Ashepoo River
M 537 Beaufort, SC
#4 OFFSHORE OP…. Beaufort, SC to FL/GA line Fernandina Beach FL 122 NM or
Beaufort SC to St. Augustine 152 NM
Port Royal Sea Buoy is 21nm from Beaufort SC, this is a 4+ hour run to sea!NOTE: We skip Georgia with this run!
M 717 Fernandina Beach, FL
M 735 Ft George, FL
M 778 Augustine, FL
#5 OFFSHORE OP….
Augustine to Ft. Pierce FL 161 NM
M 832 Daytona, FL
M 878 Titusville, FL
M 898 Cocoa, FL
M 952 Vero Beach City Marina, Fuel Stop
M 966 Ft. Pierce, FL
Stuart, FL SUNSET BAY MARINA, Mile 989+6
M 1000 Hobe Sound, FL
M 1022 West Palm Beach, FL
#6 OFFSHORE OP… West Palm Beach, FL to Miami 66 NM
M 1065 Lake Sylvia, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
#7 OFFSHORE OP/Req. @55ft Julia Tuttle Bridge @55 ft
Lauderdale to Miami 26 NM
M 1088 South Beach Miami, FL
Dinner Key, Coconut Grove, Mile 1095
Crandon State Park Fuel Dock is the best
WELCOME TO BISCAYNE BAY FL….PARADISE
The Run SOUTH to Florida, to Miami, and Biscayne Bay is a boating goal that many dream of accomplishing. It is far easier than expected. We now have found our favorite places after many years of making this run:
Portsmouth South Ferry basin, Commodore Movie Theater
Charleston Maritime Center, because it is on the correct side of town, no mega dock for us!
Augustine, is always a must-stay place
Vero Beach City Marina, a mooring field where you can live forever
Stuart, Fl, where the #1 Marina, SUNSET BAY MARINA is located. This is a dream, our base
Biscayne Bay, Florida. Base here off Coconut Grove / Dinner Key Marina area. Then learn how to access South Beach and the many anchorages and beaches. Sail Sail Sail every day! Enjoy the beaches as well.
The Florida Keys….no thank you, as there are not many beaches, no great harbors other than Marathon! So, after 5 winters in the Keys, we no longer go there. We stay up in Biscayne Bay and sail and swim and enjoy a great area as we prepare for the run to the Bahamas and south.
For Team Island Spirit, we have run the ICW 20 times, plus we have spent 8 winters in the Exumas and 4 winters in the Caribbean Sea. We have 4 summers in Maine and 10 summers in New England based in Block Island, RI. We have owned our Island Packet 35 since 2001 and estimate 40,000 nm under her keel. We really enjoy this lifestyle and today, we are making our 5th Caribbean Sea plans now. We will see you out here:
Working since June 3, we have spent the summer repairing systems and upgrading failed systems. We have mostly been posting the progress onto our PUBLIC Facebook Page, so please LIKE and FOLLOW us there. YOu do not need Facebook to read a public web page! Here is the direct link, it is fun to scroll back and see the work.
Here is the summary of the work completed. This has been a very big list of jobs. We will now begin our shake down and testing of all upgraded systems. We plan to make our 20th Intracoastal waterway run heading for Stuart Florida for Thanksgiving. From there we plan to push out into the Exuams and out to the USVI asap. We want to spend Christmas back in the Caribbean Sea. It is just far too nice, and we love sailing the Tradewinds. Getting there, well that is not fun. 1,200 nm on a course of 120m with a 090 wind! Or sail out to Bermuda and hang a right. For us, it will be a third trip down the “thorny path!”
WE DID IT, thanks to Alfred Holzer of Schooner Bay Marina for remanufacturing our KBW10 transmission. With his expert mechanical team, he was able to source the repair parts and remanufacture the gear. No one can do this, even Mack Boring said no, it can not be repaired. Well, not true, Alfred can do it. If you need any Yanmar repairs, call, email or check is ENGINE LIST on his website here: https://schoonerbaymarinallc.com/site/
This will be our THIRD B&G radar antenna in 4 years! Not good. Especially since the antenna is mounted 25 feet up the mast at the spreaders. So, I had to climb up using my ATN top climber, and remove the broken radar so I could send it back to B&G and they could “sell” me a replacement one then at 50% off, or $1,100. Thanks. So, in early Aug I climbed the mast and remounted the new Halo 20+ antenna, and it fired right up. We are happy to have digital radar back for our offshore nighttime passages. We had to run all the way home from Nassau Bahamas last May/June to Maryland without radar. Offshore at night full speed ahead is not really safe without radar. Here is our Facebook post about the re-install: