The race to save Earl


Waccamaw River to Isle of Palms SC

I spent the night wrapped up tight with my ailing cat, Earl. He is going south faster than we are. His respiratory is not sounding good…I’m just trying to keep him warm now.

Awoke at 6:15am…to the sounds of shotguns – everywhere! Ok, it’s a bit freaky to be out in the middle of the Waccamaw River, anchored, with no other boats or humans around – and hear shotguns everywhere. Fingers crossed that Dick Cheney wasn’t here with his hunting friends. At first I thought they were shooting at us – as we were the only boat anchored. We finally decided they were shooting bird…probably tomorrow’s Thanksgiving dinner. Please don’t let any bird fly over our boat. Time to pull up anchor and leave the Waccamaw.

We left anchor at about 8:15am…with 5 miles to go before reaching the 65′ fixed bridge. Winds started kicking up, and the current was tricky too. Glad Captain Pat was working his magic at the helm. We inched VERY slowly toward the bridge.

Scanned the bridge pilings for ANY sort of measuring stick. None. Nada. OK, it’s Russian roulette time. This would be a tad trickier than any of the other bridges so far, due to winds and current…and of course no measuring stick to guide us. We were exactly in between the highest and lowest portion of the tides. WHEW….a collective exhale now….we made it under this bridge with about 2 feet to spare.

The goal for today is to get to the Isle of Palms Marina – approximately 60 miles from our anchorage on the Waccamaw. Not sure if this is do-able – but if the currents are in our favor – we can make between 7-8 knots.

We have to pass thru 3 very narrow land cuts. The first cut is 5 miles….then the North Santee River….followed by the second land cut which lasts for 10 miles….and the last land cut is 28 miles. All narrow passages, and lots of swampy sea grass lands.Most of the terrain looks like this picture to the left, swamps on either side of the channel. The channel is only about 9-12 feet deep. Venture too far to starboard or port, and you’ll find yourself in 2 feet of water.
Sunset on the approach to Isle of Palms.

I found the hurricane regulations fairly amusing along the ICW. Basically, if a hurricane shows up and you are unlucky enuf to be in the vicinity of this sign – then you should know that the bridge tender has gone home – and no one will open the bridge for you. OK….got it. I’ll try to remember to avoid navigation in narrow shallow channels during a hurricane when the bridge tender has gone home to be with his family. Got it. Thank you.

This is now the 2nd time this Coast Guard boat has passed us (first time on the Waccamaw). We have to hold onto all of the dishes now b4 they fall out of the cabinets…he makes a rockin’ wake.
We pushed to get to the Isle of Palms Marina – which made it a 60 mile trip along the ICW. Tied up at the fuel dock at approximately 6pm. Exhausted.

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