ICW Day 1 Charleston to Whiteside Creek

Karma Daze
Chris and Penny Manley
Fri 16 Sep 2016 15:11

“32:52N 079:43W”


We left Charleston Harbour Marina and headed down the channel to find buoy red 130 that marks the entrance to the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) to head north.  We found it without difficulty and followed the buoys to the first bridge – the Ben Sawyer Memorial bridge – a swing bridge which opens on request.  We contacted the bridge and were told to keep coming and the bridge would open when we got close enough.  We got closer and closer and still the traffic was moving across until a klaxon sounded, the traffic stopped and the bridge swung open and we were safely through.

The ICW meanders through some very low lying marshy land between Charleston and Georgetown. Parts were quite desolate.  Very few boats around, just the occasional power boat heading south.

The next bridge at the Sea of Palms is a fixed bridge with a height of 65 feet at high water.  All the fixed bridges along the ICW should be at least 65 feet. To the top of our mast plus the VHF antenna is 63 feet so we should be OK.  Each bridge also has a height board which tells you the clearance at that moment. This bridge board indicated 67 feet so we should be OK.  As we got through without incidence we breathed a sigh of relief.

Our destination for the day was a creek off the ICW where we could anchor for the night – Whiteside Creek.  It had plenty of depth and swinging room, and much less current than in the ICW.  We arrived at 13.30, the plan being to go through a complete tidal cycle to experience low and high water to see how the boat behaved.  Of course everything was fine and we had the whole anchorage to ourselves.

At 03.00 we were awakened by the wind howling and then we had 20 minutes of torrential rain.  The wind had increased to 25 knots but the anchor held so we went back to sleep again. Tomorrow we head for another anchorage 30 miles away on the Santee River....