Monday, November 7, 2016

Twists and Turns

Monday, Nov 7, 2016

The clocks may have changed this weekend, but sunrise and sunset didn't!  As a result, we now have to get up at 5am instead of 6am to be on the move by dawn.  If we don't, we loose an hour of travel time, as sunset is now at 5:20pm instead of 6:20pm.

So, we dragged ourselves up at 5.  It's tough for a couple of night owls like us. But we were on our way in time to request the first opening of the day of the Little River swing bridge at 7am.

The Little River bridge marks the beginning of a particularly notorious section of thr ICW known as "The Rockpile".  This 5 mile stretch appears to be much wider than it really is, because waves have eroded the soil, exposing a rocky ledge just below the waterline.  Hit one of these and it could ruin your whole day!  The number one rule here is stay in the center!  After a tense hour, we were safely through.
The Rockpile
South of Myrtle Beach, as we passed through the Socastee swing bridge, we heard a voice from the shore yell "I'll send you some pictures."  We looked, and there was our friend Dick, on a pier taking photos of us transiting the bridge!  He sent us almost a dozen pictures.  What a nice surprise!

Dolce Vita at the Socastee Swing Bridge
The first half of today's trip was straight, narrow canal.  Not much besides houses to see, although Joan did manage to spot a coyote on one of the wooded stretches.

Later, we connected with the Waccamaw River, which runs thru a huge Cypress swamp and is part of the Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge.  The vistas were incredibly scenic, with scarcely a trace of human presence.
Waccamaw River
As we turned a corner, we unexpectedly came upon a huge steel schooner at anchor.
Schooner "Steel Away"

I had chosen a particular anchorage on Thoroughfare Creek as today's destination based on the excellent ratings in Skipper Bob's.  In particular, I was interested in the holding and current protection.  I didn't want a repeat of the Swansboro anchoring fiasco.  I needn't have worried.  We would find a whole new fiasco.

Once there, I was disappointed to discover that the most wind-sheltered spot had a large obvious stump sticking out.  Probably Matthew debris.  And in a very un-ICW fashion, the problem was finding shallow water! Depths here ran 20+ feet, and there wasn't enough room to let out the appropriate amount of scope for that much depth.

Finally, we located a 14 ft spot.  I set up an anchor float with 24 ft of tripline in case we snagged the anchor on a sunken log.  But as we deployed the anchor, the wind and current were in opposite directions, and the boat wouldn't set back properly.  In addition, we were near a bend in the creek, and there seemed to be an eddy in the current that caused us to gyrate randomly instead of swinging in a nice arc.  In the photo below, our anchor is about where the arrow is.  Look at the crazy dance we made!
Twists and Turns
Finally, I was so unhappy with the situation that Joan convinced me to pull the anchor and move it.  But as I put the engine in gear, it instantly stalled!  All that crazy spinning had snagged our anchor line on the prop, and the line was now wound around the prop!

So now, I had no choice, I had to go swimming and free the line. :((  Dick had told us the water was 70 degrees, but it felt a lot colder!  And the dark, tannin stained waters made things pitch black just a few feet down.  Hard to believe, but visibility was worse than the Chesapeake!  I ended up having to do it entirely by feel while holding on to a safety line.  I tried it without the line, but got so disoriented that I came up on the wrong side of the boat!  But eventually, I got it all unwound, and the boat came free.  And the wind and current had both died down, so the boat hung back properly.

I guess we just had another adventure.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, what an adventure! We are glad you got the anchor untangled and were OK. Not sure where you are at this moment. We are in St Augustine and will be heading south in the morning. If you plan on stopping and taking a mooring ball in St Augustine, be sure to call ahead and make a reservation. Its busy here and empty mooring balls are few and far between.

    Safe travels.....Bruce and Gayleen