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Old 23-04-2011, 11:20   #1
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pirate Depths from Norfolk, VA to Oriental, NC

I'm helping deliver a good friend's 43 foot sailboat from Long Island, NY to Oriental... I've done the ditch dozens of times but never with 8-foot draft ... and bridge clearance of just under 60-feet.

Anyone recently done the ICW from Great Bridge to Oriental? HOw bad is the contolling depth recently? How accurae is the 60-foot "normal" bridge clearance?

I'm really looking to avoid a close encounter with Hatterass, its shoals and the Inner Limit of the Stream this early in the year...

Any current advice out there?
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Old 23-04-2011, 11:21   #2
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Advice go outside
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Old 23-04-2011, 11:29   #3
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Re: Depths from Norfolk to Oriental NC... how recent?

You'll be fine. Check with www.activecaptain.com for any recent shoaling hazards. They are updated regularly with by cruisers.
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Old 23-04-2011, 11:31   #4
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Re: Depths from Norfolk to Oriental NC... how recent?

How did I know you would say that Jon?
I told him that the last time I did the ditch in my 32-foot Allied Seawind II ketch, I wore of the bottom paint with the "controlled" 8-foot of water.. Thanx Mate
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Old 23-04-2011, 11:41   #5
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Re: Depths from Norfolk to Oriental NC... how recent?

There are plenty of tugs going from Norfolk to Beaufort on the ICW all the time. I doubt they would be if there was a problem with 8' depths along that route.
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Old 23-04-2011, 12:40   #6
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Re: Depths from Norfolk to Oriental NC... how recent?

My last trip discovered that the tugs are happy to "dredge" their way along.
They do not stop if you are stuck ahead of them but barge right on through, missing your brightwork by literal inches....
Many times I would see them comming and slide carefully over until I felt the slimy, shoaling edge of the center depth... let them pass, move into the now swirling center of the ditch and wait a few minutes in the turbulence, then tuck in a hundred or so feet behind them. It's a bit tough on the steering system for a while but slowing down until the turbulence was tolerable and then matching their speed produced good results most often... Some would even acknowlege my presence by VHF and chat about what was ahead.... Best one took me from the Georgia state line to St Lucie Inlet and into Stuart FL.... He laid up at anchor for the nights too. But I did not ground the boat at all with him ahead of me.
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Old 23-04-2011, 13:31   #7
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Re: Depths from Norfolk to Oriental NC... how recent?

I took a 64 foot mast height through there last fall without incident. I would have had to wait if the water was high due to the wind -- but it wasn't. I don't think you'll have any problems with a height under 60 (does that include instruments?)

As to depth, the upper ICW has much less shoaling than farther south. Georgia and SC would be very difficult. The few spots to worry about are shown in ActiveCaptain -- usually with accurate suggestions about getting past the spot (eg. "keep to the green side"). Again, the water level in that stretch (both high and low) is much more wind driven than tidal.

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Old 24-04-2011, 10:41   #8
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Re: Depths from Norfolk to Oriental NC... how recent?

Bridge heights are 65'.

I agree with Jon - 4 days, maybe 5 from Montauk to Oriental.
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Old 24-04-2011, 13:03   #9
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Re: Depths from Norfolk to Oriental NC

Thanks to both of you... I'm doing this plan from my hut in the Dominican Republic with only the Internet to do my Predicted Log.. The owner is on Long Island doing the other end of the planning...

BTW I'm in agreement with the time as well... WE'll drop through NY harbor... it's closer than the Montauk route for us by several hours... Cape May is only about 24 hours south... Lots of time to look over weather and a few good hidey holes if it won't co-operate.
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Old 24-04-2011, 16:13   #10
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Re: Depths from Norfolk to Oriental NC

I check my log, only problem I had was @MM45 between G115-R116, I had trouble finding the channel.
Some people have trouble at MM 81 as well. YMMV
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Old 24-04-2011, 17:03   #11
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Re: Depths from Norfolk to Oriental NC

Doesn't sound like it will matter to you, but the Wilkerson Bridge at Mile 125.9 is charted at 64 feet, and is quite often down around 62 feet on its tide board. You may want to drop a tape measure to the water just to make sure if there is any doubt on your masthead clearance. Depths vary a lot in the ICW, even from month to month, especially with winter storms changing some things. There may be extra water down there right now due to all the rain recently. A classic shallow spot is where the channel leaves Albemarle Sound and enters the Alligator River. Another area of shoaling in recent years is at the south end of the Alligator-Pungo Canal where it changes into the Pungo River. Where are you going in Oriental? The entrance to Whittaker Creek, where a lot of the marinas are located, has often been reported to be about 6 feet. It might be worth checking with the marina if you are headed there. The channel to the main harbor has had less than 6-7 feet in the past.
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Old 24-04-2011, 18:19   #12
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Re: Depths from Norfolk to Oriental NC

I sailed from Oriental to Norfolk back in March. Sailed through the Pamlico and on into Manteo, then up thru Ablemarle Sound to the Virgina Cut. I skipped the Alligator River. I never saw under 9ft and usually had 13-17ft when in the ICW(Virginia Cut). Pay attention crossing Currituck Sound as the channel is a bit narrow. I saw several 40ft+ sailboats along that route. I only draw 4.5 or so and never had to worry. A side note, just before the Mt Pleasant bridge(heading north)there is a large fuel dock and I bounced off something and I was in the middle of the channel....not sure what but depth sounder said 9+ feet, maybe a submerged log.....
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Old 24-04-2011, 18:24   #13
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Re: Depths from Norfolk to Oriental NC

I don't think he can do that route around by Manteo as there is a 45-foot bridge to the west of Manteo and the channel is shallow to the east where the 65-foot bridge is located. Did you find 9 feet in the channel east of Manteo?
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Old 24-04-2011, 19:01   #14
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Re: Depths from Norfolk to Oriental NC

yes, where you are close to the shore just before the bridge had 12ft, actually was staying to far off the shore, once I got closer to the shore it was 12-13ft.
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