We are at Barefoot Landing Marina in North Myrtle Beach, SC. Our marina is a (very small) part of the Barefoot Landing Shopping center. This center has more gift shops, at least a hundred, than I have seen in one place. Walmart and a big outlet mall, as well as a large “normal” mall are close by so we rented a car to stock up on all sorts of things. Sue feels much better now and will not have to do this sort of thing again for awhile.
We had a nice trip here on perhaps the most scenic part of the ICW in South Carolina. It was an uneventful trip, including the last part where we passed through the dreaded rock pile
We’ve heard about this from number of people. I talked to a marina manager in Beaufort, SC who wrecked his own boat there. Most ICW channels are dredged from a sand or mud bottom. The problems with these are that currents shift the mud around, called shoaling, which can make a formerly deep channel into a shallow one, or move the deep part somewhere else, where the charts say it isn’t. If you run aground here your keel rests on the mud and you wait for a rising tide to lift you off. Of course it’s really not good to run aground at high tide, but usually then there is enough water then that that should not happen.
The rock pile channel was blasted from rock. There isn’t any sand an mud to shift around, so you won’t run aground if you stay in the middle of the channel. The problem occurs when boats have to pass each other, especially if you meet a tow coming the other way. If you move out of the channel the rock edge will rip the bottom of your boat open. This doesn’t happen very often, but when it does…
The rock pile is only a couple of miles long. Before entering, many people, including me, make a “securite” call on the radio to check if any large vessels are coming the other way. If so you can just wait for them to pass through. Few large commercial vessels use this passage anymore, but it’s still good to check. If you do meet something like that the advice is to turn around (without moving outside the channel) and run ahead of it back out the way you came in.
Another place we’ll meet up with rock bottoms is in the Georgian Bay and the North Channel, both these shallow channels run above Lake Huron on the Great Loop. Standard practice there is to have a spotter on the bow, since the water is very clear. The rocks are more rounded and tend not to rip the hull open, but we still don’t want to run into them.
Seems scary to me, just like the rock pile did before we went through it. I’ve talked to loopers that have done it, however, and they seem to think it was difficult, but not so dangerous, and a lot of fun. We’ll be there in the summer of next year, so I hope they’re right.