ICW North Carolina Position 34:29.035N 77:28.305W

Bill and Judy Stellin
Wed 14 May 2008 01:27
I couldn't resist doing another blog to show where we are spending tonight on the boat.
We ran out of time to get where we could anchor safely and because we don't ever want to travel this waterway at night, we just stopped in our tracks, threw out the anchor and here we is.
We ran out of time because this is the most nerve racking traveling one could imagine.  The water in the dredged portion is never even 20 feet deep.  Mostly about 12-16 feet.  Also the channel is very narrow and easy to wander out of.  It is well marked, however the aids to navigation are far apart, so it is easy to wander a bit.  Both Judy and I have bumped once today.  Judy got us hard aground when she got no more than 5 feet out of the imaginary boundary of the channel.  We had deflated the dinghy so I had to pump that back up, all the while the tide is going out fast so if I can't get an anchor set for kedging, we were there for the night.
I got the dinghy ready and in the water when I spied a guy on his dock next to us about 200 feet away.  He knew we were aground because apparently lots of people do it regularly.  I hollered over and asked if he could launch is boat off the boat lift and tow us off.  He said "sure".
It took him what seemed forever to get his keys to the boat, get it off the lift, start the engine and motor slowly out to us.  At one point, after he had lowered the boat into the water, he started the motor but couldn't make it budge off the lift.  I could see the boat wasn't all the way in the water and floating.  I shouted to him to lower it a bit more.  He thanked me for the tip.   All the while the tide is going out and there is less and less water underneath is. 
At long last he got close enough to take my line and then proceed to just wrap it in circles around his cleat.  I thought oh,oh, it's going to come undone and maybe caught in his prop.
After a few aborted tries, he got the boat at the correct angle to the way I wanted us pulled off and then gave it the guns.  Surprisingly, we came off very easy.  I thanked him profusely and kept going.
All of this took about an hour and it was this last hour that has kept us for getting to our destination.
There is a terrific current in the channel due to the tide, which is going out.  We are only in 7.8 feet of water and we draw 6.5 feet.  The tide is almost one meter (3 feet) so I am sure we will be on the bottom at some point tonight.
I have a lot of admiration for those brave souls who do the Great Loop which is A LOT of ICW motoring.  This is a waterway that requires constant navigation.  Fifty feet to the right or left and you are out of the channel in many spots and you are hard aground.  There isn't much time to look around and see the sights.  Which, for the most part are just single family homes anyway.  Many  have enormous docks that sometimes stretch 100 yards or more  to get in no more than 6 feet of water.  Some must cost as much as a home to build.  They all have a gazebo at the end along with a fancy boat lift that can take care of boats up to 25 feet or so.
Tomorrow is another day and hopefully one not so stressful.  We only made 52 miles today.  If we could have been on the outside in the Atlantic it would have been 100 miles.  The weather is still rotten for sailing north.  Winds are blowing 20-25 kts right out of the north.
I am sending this from the boat using somebody's wifi which I can pick up.  I can't even see a house so this is one powerful wifi adaptor and antenna.