After passing Fort Sumter we left the main ship channel and entered the ICW. The first part was supposed to be the tricky bit. However we did that OK and were soon in the ICW proper. There was a swing bridge almost immediately.
A short distance along was another bridge, half way between we ran aground for the first time. Rising tide, sat there waiting and eventually floated free. Soft mud so no problems but immediately went aground again.
Eventually a helpful boatie ran some soundings and told me where to go – one hurdle passed.
Inlets are the problem, they disturb the ICW flow and this causes sediments to build up.
The ICW north of Charleston follows the coast, basically a channel between the barrier islands on the seaward side and the mainland. Where necessary dredged.
and fellow users:
All went well until dark, there was no anchorage to be found as the channel was deep but you were stuck in it with no water outside.
We missed a bridge opening, ran aground trying to find a spot to anchor, sat for awhile in the dark until a big tug and barge went past. Their enormous powerful searchlight showed us where we were and we backed off without problems. Back to the bridge which opened this time and we were off again.
As dawn broke we were running happily through Camp Lejeune, a huge Marine Corp training ground, when we ran aground again opposite an inlet. This time doing 9.4 knots, both of us crashed onto the instrument panel and half the alarms on the boat went off.
Backed off OK, soft mud, sounded round and no leaks so found the channel and off we went again.
Arrived in Beaufort at 1200, 30 hours after leaving Charleston. Bed on arrival, or so we thought.