Tranquility of the ICW

Sneeds Ferry to Wrightsville NC

We left the Swan Point marina in Snead’s Ferry NC at 7am…and made it under the fixed bridge at low tide with about 1 foot to spare. It’s a bit unnerving when you consider that a sailboat’s rig could come crashing down, smashing your boat and more frightening thoughts — should you make contact with the top of a fixed bridge. My gut was knotted – and this was my first fixed bridge. Captain Pat navigated every so slowly. We crept up to the bridge…despite the winds and currents trying to move the boat in every direction. At the point of no return, I grimaced. It was hard to look….but I did. We were “clear”. We could navigate under this bridge without the rigging coming down. This is one of the most stressful events for a sailboat owner, with a tall mast – navigating along the ICW.

Traveling along the ICW….unlike driving Interstate 95 at high speed, is a slow motion event. The beauty of slow motion — is watching the schools of dolphins, playfully swimming at your bow, or stern, and jumping thru the wakes of powerboats. The landscape changes from rural and natural, to urban….and back to rural. And unless you fall asleep, you don’t miss a thing.

In addition to navigating UNDER fixed bridges, we also experienced waiting for draw bridges to open. 10 miles south of the last fixed bridge, is a “swing” bridge – which we waited for the bridge tender to open. As we go thru, the bridge tenders make note of the name and hailing port of your boat. I surmise they report this back to the NSA.

How often have you given any thought to how bridges operate? From the vantage point of the water, the swing bridges are a fascinating operation. They pivot in the middle…and all of the southbound and northbound boat traffic hi tails it thru before the bridge pilot decides you have to wait for the next hour. Cat Maudy had pedal to the medal….and we navigated through before the bridge tender closed the bridge.

I’m not sure who started the idea of placing very large objects on their front lawn overlooking the Intra Coastal, but more than one person decided this was a good idea. Scary. I’ll just call this the land of lawn ornaments.

We went thru 2 swing bridges.and one drawbridge. We lose a good deal of time waiting for the bridges to open, but it’s all good. More time to absorb the scenery. Along the intracoastal, there are various inlets to the ocean. Most of these inlets are too shallow to navigate (unless you are in a rowboat). You can tell when you are nearing an inlet, as the water changes color to this beautiful blue-green. More dolphins appear too.

After a full day of ICW motoring, we ended the day at the SeaPath Yacht Club…in Wrightsville NC. It’s a bit upscale here – looks a tourist ocean side town. We walked a few miles to get to the ocean….have a coffee….and grab some dinner. On the walk back to the boat…a couple walked by us and said “hey – you look like sailors”. When I inquired “why would you say that?”, he responded that we looked ‘scraggly’. Ok, I’ve only been on the boat for 1 day, motoring along the ICW – so not sure how I looked ‘scraggly’ – but decided after we got back to the marina – I needed to take a shower. Pronto.

Kitty update: Earl seems to be much much improved. not his 100% self…but he is interested in food again…and drinking…talking and purring. i’m feeling much better too. Back at the marina now. Slight diversion….the shower can wait temporarily. First…I need a dose of endorphins….aka skate of loops in the marina parking lot…

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