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Old 24-10-2014, 14:36   #1
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ICW problem areas Portsmouth to Southport

Hey yall just about to embark on the last leg of our journey from Belfast Maine to Charleston SC. Just curious if there are any problem areas between Portsmouth VA and Southport NC. I heard there was some work being done on some bridges that would affect a boat with a mast higher than 60', ours is 64'. I just can't find any current info online. Also we draw 5'11" think we will have any problems. We plan on being outside from southport so no worries there.

Thanks again in advance!
Will
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Old 25-10-2014, 08:00   #2
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Re: ICW problem areas Portsmouth to Southport

I went through there two months ago. You should have no problems with mast height other than the normal restrictions. We only have a 56' mast, but there was no bridge work impeding a larger mast.

There are a few sections to worry about - we draw 5' 8" - particularly the tank in the middle of the ICW in Camp Lejeune.

I have written up most of our experiences on the ICW on our blog and included our navigational notes on potential hazards if it would be any help to you.
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Old 26-10-2014, 05:27   #3
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Re: ICW problem areas Portsmouth to Southport

Check the tide boards carefully as you transit, especially at the Wilkerson Bridge (Walter B. Jones Bridge) at ICW Mile 125.9 (Aligator-Pungo Canal) which has a 64' clearance and nearly no tidal range. You can bypass this stretch by taking the Outer Banks/Pamlico Sound route to the Neuse River, which has its own challenges. Constantly updated shoaling reports and other information is readily available on our website and others. Happy cruising, and stay safe!
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Old 26-10-2014, 07:08   #4
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Re: ICW problem areas Portsmouth to Southport

If you are not already using Active Captain I suggest you give it a try. It is an excellent source for very current information. Both local knowledge and instant updates from those at the helm. It is free. It integrates with several PC/Mac/Tablet nav programs.

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Old 26-10-2014, 07:13   #5
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Re: ICW problem areas Portsmouth to Southport

Quote:
Originally Posted by Helbent View Post
There are a few sections to worry about - we draw 5' 8" - particularly the tank in the middle of the ICW in Camp Lejeune.
I was curious about that tank. . . . Here's a blog with pics of a "swimming" tank or personnel carrier at Camp Lejeune that can cross rivers. I wonder if one of the crews forgot to replace the drain plug before they took it into the water. . . .

Crawdad on the Loop: Tanks cruising the ICW? - you got it - near Swansboro, NC

(scroll down about halfway)

Looks like it's probably an AAV-P7/A1:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assault_Amphibious_Vehicle
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Old 26-10-2014, 09:14   #6
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Re: ICW problem areas Portsmouth to Southport

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Originally Posted by Cormorant View Post
I was curious about that tank. . . . Here's a blog with pics of a "swimming" tank or personnel carrier at Camp Lejeune that can cross rivers. I wonder if one of the crews forgot to replace the drain plug before they took it into the water. . . .

Crawdad on the Loop: Tanks cruising the ICW? - you got it - near Swansboro, NC

(scroll down about halfway)
Those photos are pretty cool. Nothing so interesting happened when we were passing through Camp LeJeune. In that last photo of the tanks, it looks like that one had been underwater for a while with what appears to be barnacles. However the tank got there - if in fact it is a tank - somebody must be in some trouble. I don't understand why they have not used removing the tank as a training operation.
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Old 26-10-2014, 17:27   #7
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Re: ICW problem areas Portsmouth to Southport

Let me just say that we have made a couple of trip through that area and encountered no tanks in the water. There is serious shoaling at Browns Inlet but if you stay close to the mainland side and stay out of the middle of the channel passing through Browns inlet you will find no less than 9 feet of water. As Mike said, watch the clearance at Wilkerson Bridge. Also watch your depth sounder at Carolina Inlet. It was dredged not too long ago but shoals quickly. Watch your course coming through Snows Cut and stay in the channel coming on to the Cape Fear River. There are strong currents there. You should have no problem unless you stray off course. Check behind you as often as in front of you to confirm that you are indeed in the channel. Chuck
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Old 26-10-2014, 18:30   #8
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Re: ICW problem areas Portsmouth to Southport

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Let me just say that we have made a couple of trip through that area and encountered no tanks in the water. There is serious shoaling at Browns Inlet but if you stay close to the mainland side and stay out of the middle of the channel passing through Browns inlet you will find no less than 9 feet of water. As Mike said, watch the clearance at Wilkerson Bridge. Also watch your depth sounder at Carolina Inlet. It was dredged not too long ago but shoals quickly. Watch your course coming through Snows Cut and stay in the channel coming on to the Cape Fear River. There are strong currents there. You should have no problem unless you stray off course. Check behind you as often as in front of you to confirm that you are indeed in the channel. Chuck
It may very well be just a shoal from the inlet. However, there are quite a few folks out there on the interwebs who seem to think it is a tank. It adds a little fun to the story too, which might be exactly why the tank tale has such legs. You killjoy.
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Old 29-10-2014, 18:56   #9
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Re: ICW problem areas Portsmouth to Southport

Just went through the passage by Camp Lejune today and no tanks in the ICW that we encountered. There are closures the next few days of the ICW near there due to firing exercises so check that out. Also, the Moorehead City bridge is having closures Nov 1-3 that affect traffic. Check out Waterway Guide | waterwayguide.com for the schedules. Nothing I know other than that.
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Old 31-10-2014, 12:02   #10
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Re: ICW problem areas Portsmouth to Southport

Hi Will,,just posted on your other thread about Wilkerson bridge. I much prefer the Pamlico sound route because I can sail, among other things. I'm often single handing so it's less time at the helm too.

I don't know your schedule, but I strongly recommend you stop in at Beaufort,then sail out to cape lookout for a night or five. Once ready to leave, you can sail across onslow bay to wrightsville beach if the weather is your way. Time it for the falling tide and you can fly down the cape fear and either put right back out to sea for an overnight to Charleston, or stop in at a marina first. This is faster than going around frying pan, especially if you time it right. Have to watch the wind though if riding the falling tide, as a contrary wind in the cape fear can throw up some scary waves.

I generally sail from cape lookout overnight and make masonboro inlet at slack tide and first light, then inevitably catch the falling tide after making some way past some inlets into snows cut. This puts me out to sea by mid morning or noon, giving plenty of time to make charleston in daylight.

What kind of boat do,you have?


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Old 31-10-2014, 13:24   #11
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Re: ICW problem areas Portsmouth to Southport

I find that the Wilkerson is less troublesome to my 64' mast than Pungo Ferry (Mile 30) and Topsail Island (Mile 252). I've seen readings as low as 62' ft on the tide boards at Pungo Ferry in times of high water. And unlike the Wilkerson, there's no easy way to avoid this bridge. (The boards seem to be accurate)

The Topsail is difficult because the closest tide chart station - New River Inlet - is at least 3 hours different from high tide at the bridge just five miles away. Just plain weird. Worse in a moon tide. I time my arrival at this bridge for New River high tide and have plenty of room (66'). At New River low tide the bridge will be 62'. Weird.
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