Calabash Creek Anchorage anxiety

Diann and I have made good progress as we have traveled from St. Augustine Florida to Myrtle Beach South Carolina.  Travel days, left,  are just four- until we make it back to New Bern.

Little River Casino Boat traveled the ICW in view of Calabash Creek anchorage

Yesterday we pulled off the Georgetown Landing Docks at 6:30AM and made it to Calabash Creek anchorage at north Myrtle Beach.   After setting out 100 feet of chain and 40 feet of 5/8ths rode we had a solid set with a scope of 7 times line to depth at high tide.  At 3:35PM we set the anchor and began planning what would have been travel today to Carolina Beach.

Our alarm was set for 5:45AM.  I woke naturally at 5AM- from the patter of rain.  There was lightening flashing.  Lightening had been possible for today, but not expected.  I asked Diann what she thought of upping anchor at 6:30 to begin our trip.  She checked the weather update.  It was for scattered thunderstorms and higher winds the closer to Carolina Beach.  The Cape Fear River is unpleasant in windy conditions.  We declared this to be a weather day.

GPS dots of the boat’s position entering the anchor spot and as it had been swinging with wind and current

She canceled the alarm and we both rolled over to go back to sleep.  Three “weather days” had been factored into our St. Aug to New Bern leg.  Oh well, today would be a rest day.  And rest we did- neither getting up until 10:30AM.

As soon as I arose, I checked the depth gauge and boat position.  Depth was headed to be less than 6 feet- with a falling tide it would net down to 2 feet. Yikes!

6.4 feet and falling

I checked the trip time if we departed and just made Southport.  Six hours was okay.  We need a pump out for the holding tank and so a marina layover was okay, though not like anchoring (fun and saved $$).

Lockwood’s Folly is notorious for its shallow water.  The District 5 Notice to Mariners currently reports 3 feet there at low tide.  YachtaFun would go through Lockwood’s Folly at exactly Low Tide.  So, we decided to stay put.  That would require a complete reset of anchor 1, or add another one.  I chose to set up and deploy our Fortress anchor as #2.  And water kept getting skinnier as the decision was made and the process of starting the engine.

Diann and I conferred over the plan:

She would inch forward and I’d retrieve some of the primary anchor rode;

then I’s release that rode as we moved further toward the middle of the creek;

the Fortress would be lowered into the creek and allow the drift to set that anchor.

The plan worked but had unexpected results.  The strong winds, which had pushed us toward shore, had begun in earnest- and are building as I write this post.  We now show 6.4 feet of depth and have 1.5 to drop before at low tide.  Our needed  minimum depth is 3 feet.

Anxiety of whether to manually shorten one, or both, anchor rodes will occur.  Being responsible for the boat’s safety has you review as many “what ifs” as you can ponder. This being our third time to use Calabash Creek, I’d expected this time to be simple and straight forward.

Well, as it turned out, our rudders met mud and the rodes had to be pulled in so the boat could move to deeper water.  In pulling the rodes I found that I’d left the port center board down and anchor #2s rode had snagged on the board- which was why we hadn’t swung as I had expected we would.  I felt like a true “deck monkey” moving about the deck to figure out what step would be next.

After getting the boat moved forward it was time for a relaxing IPA over ice.  Diann and I sat and discussed the options for the following day.

And, as we talked, a new boat snuck in and anchored not too far from where we had dropped.  Had he dropped over our primary anchor?   No way to know until morning when we upped our anchor.

Or, if that boat captain upped his before us, he could snag our chain which would disrupt our set.  Anxiety –  what can I say.  If so, we had anchor #2 set.   Less anxiety with that ponder.

All sorts, and sizes, of boats passed us while at anchor

Of note to myself- ‘the updated electronic Garmin chart showed 7 feet near marker #3 and 5 feet close to marker #4.  Those depths had been 9 and 6, on the NOAA chart- which is four years old.’    So, “good” last time doesn’t mean “good this time” !

Morning of day three:

We woke at 5:40 and began waking up to beverages.  Being out of muffins and bagels, I had a peanut butter sandwich for breakfast.

Retrieval of anchor 2 went about as smoothly as one could hope.  By the time I’d hand-over-hand wrestled with that one, it was time to pull in the primary.  It didn’t take long for me to decide to use the manual windless for all 100’ of chain.  Hand-over-hand is faster, but not necessary- and the windless is easier though slower.

(Note concerning Lockwood Folly depths:  we passed thru close to high tide and had more than 10 feet the whole passing.  The extreme shallow 3 feet related to the inlet and had not affected the ICW part. )

The story / blog of  senior citizens, Alex and Diann, on board Yacht A Fun, their Gemini catamaran sailboat.  They are traveling the ICW and east coast with insights to the extended cruising life.  They offer the book “Your Boat as a Business”  at       Key words for this post: Calabash Creek anchorage anxiety

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