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TOPIC: First overnight on the Fran C

First overnight on the Fran C 17 Jun 2008 03:47 #1

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First Overnight on the Fran C

The plan was to leave on the high tide south on the ICW from Barefoot Landing Marina, NMB, SC.

West Marine didn't quite understand our plans and didn't open until 8 so I had to wait to get a 30A shore power/genset adaptor. That done we made a quick ice run through the new Bi-Lo Super Center that kinda has a back way to the dock and beat feet to get back.

(Clock ticks forward 3 hours)

And we were pumped fueled and departed at 1240, ICW St. M 354

Quote from "Chartracker to the Intracoastal Waterway":

Numerous rock ledges were reorted abutting the deep portion of the ICW from St. M 347.0 to St. M 365.5 EXTREME CAUTION is advised when transitting the area."

They ain't lyin'.

This is about 6 miles of the least enjoyable cruising on the ICW in mine (and lot's of other's) opinions. If you leave bright and early its unexiciting scenery may urge you to burn some fuel.

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Bad idea, the ledges are a constant hazard and floating debris is always kicking around.

Approaching the swing bridge we see this

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No Wake Zone!!!!

Once we reached the Socastee Swing Bridge at St. M 371 we pretty much felt in the grip of the Waccamaw River. Apparently urban expansion hasn't reached this far and we were about to enter the "closest thing to a trip up a jungle river" in South Carolina.

The water widens (a little) and deepens (a lot, to 20+ feet mostly) from here on south to Bucksport.

A beautiful deep river run from here on down to St M 375.6 Noted an anchorage listed in the chart book opposite marker G29. Looks interesting.

Entered North entrance to Prince Creek at marker R44 at 1535 ~St M 381

The entire Waccamaw riverine area we traveled in including Prince Creek is about 4 million years old. Since no human has figured out how to rip something out of it it's pretty much owned by those that live there, most of which have more than 2 or no legs. Many have wings and many bite - at night.

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But it's absoutely beautiful. Essentially a big ol' cypress swamp with some big creeks and small (and not so small) rivers.

Transit Prince Creek at 5 knots without stopping - like a nice jungle cruise! No gators (surprisingly), a couple of mud wallows where wild boar had come down to the water. Many birds and lot's of wildlife noise but not many visible or flying. 1 heron, 1 conorant. Pretty hot 90+F so probably hanging out in the trees.

Did I mention trees?

Taxodium distichum (Bald Cypress) is the predominant tree. Most here are ancient - hundreds of years old - and lush vegetation everywhere.

Exit South entrance to Prince Creek at marker G53 at 1603 - Head North on ICW

Pass marker R50 at 1611 and enter Bull Creek heading West from ICW

Bull Creek offers many anchorages. We chose to proceed upstream about 1.5 miles where it broadens slightly and offers a long, deep and open stretch .

Dropped anchor at 33.36W 76.09N at 1645.

The Admiral and I were accompanied by our kids on our first overnight on our boat, It was a joy to have 'em along. We are lucky that they fish and boat and don't bitch about bugs. They just shoot on some DEET and have a beer. Hmmm, wonder where that came from?

Had a wonderful time swimming and practicing rowing the Sea Eagle dinghy around. Cooled off, watched the dusk and fixed some brought with home cooked pasta and sauce.

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Chilled, had a few adult beverages and watched Nature give us a show. Sound by 34568902392412894802344092 frogs of different species, crickets, Whipporwills, and a few thing I still haven't identified. The evening cooled off - dropped to the 70's by 2400 when I went to sleep.

At 0610 sun is over horizon. Low fog on water but full daylight. Note elevation 5 feet must be heght of GPS antenna. Lat/Long has moved 1 second overnight .

Large trawler also anchored overnight departs 0630 (right on time??) We watched as they poked around the river for about 45 minutes last evening. Finally they dropped the hook. I looked closer at the GPS and figgured it out. They were looking for that 44 foot deep hole to park that big old thing! I thought I heard chain dropping when they finally stopped.

Coffee and enjoy the utter stillness of the morning. Told the kids "You may be missing Mass but y'all are surely in a cathedral!"

Get underway at ~0900

Enter ICW at marker R48

Return trip to Barefoot was direct with little other movement on the ICW. Return trip at 10 mph was 3 hrs.

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Paul and Fran Crosby
'Fran C'
Barefoot Marina, North Myrtle Beach, SC

First overnight on the Fran C 15 Jul 2008 14:59 #2

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