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Old 10-04-2012, 06:52   #1
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Shoals Between Morehead and Norfolk on the ICW

Would like to get to Norfolk from Morehead City this week and am considering taking the ICW as there is mostly strong wind on the nose going on the outside.

We have a 6 foot plus a couple inches draft. Could we make this section of the ICW?? Does anyone have recent experience like in the last month or so and could give us some insight on the best way to do this.

Many thanks in advance.
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Old 10-04-2012, 07:33   #2
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Re: Shoals Between Morehead and Norfolk on the ICW

Nothing as recent in the last month but last October I helped bring a Brewer design Pan-Oceanic 46 down from Norfolk through the ditch. The '46 draws about 6.5' and we never touched bottom. We pretty much stayed on the marked channel and went the "main route" i.e. not the dismal swamp. There were a few place where we were seeing depths of 8' or so but those didn't last long and often it was because we were drifting away from mid channel.

We left the channel twice for anchoring at the southern tip of the Alligator River and in Adams Creek at the junction of Cedar Creek. Didn't have issues at either anchorage and the charts seemed pretty accurate. At the Alligator river, we had good holding in face of a full day of 30 knot, gusting to 40 knot winds.

I believe that this stretch of the ICW is still fairly well maintained and dredged. I would have no issues with taking a 6' draft boat through there. It's beautiful country.
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Old 10-04-2012, 07:55   #3
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Because of the barge traffic, this section is well maintained the only spot that I know of is MM 45 between 115 & 116, the channel is very narrow
Tom
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Old 10-04-2012, 08:39   #4
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Re: Shoals Between Morehead and Norfolk on the ICW

LS, No depth issue when we came through recently. But at the north end of the Alligator River above the bridge, DO NOT under any circumstances follow the ICW magenta line. Stay alert and stay withing the marked channel and you will have plenty of depth. If you haven't done this trip before, watch your weather when crossing the Albemarle Sound, it can be pretty nasty. Have fun. Chuck
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:03   #5
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Re: Shoals Between Morehead and Norfolk on the ICW

Many thanks for the responses and information. It looks like we'll give it a shot leaving tomorrow AM.
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:20   #6
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Re: Shoals Between Morehead and Norfolk on the ICW

I avoided it with similar depth years ago.... but isnt there one bridge that might be a problem depending on his mast height?
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:39   #7
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Re: Shoals Between Morehead and Norfolk on the ICW

The Wilkerson Bridge at the south end of the Alligator-Pungo Canal sometimes has as little as 62 feet of vertical clearance.
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:46   #8
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Re: Shoals Between Morehead and Norfolk on the ICW

ahh that must be the one that caused me to go outside and get my butt kicked!
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Old 10-04-2012, 11:51   #9
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Re: Shoals Between Morehead and Norfolk on the ICW

The biggest issue in this stretch is that there is really no lunar tide. The wind can raise or lower water levels by 2ft+ for three or four days at a time.

Having taken a 64ft mast under the Wilkerson several times, I've come to the conclusion that it is not substantially lower than the bridges farther up near Norfolk. I had to anchor for 48 hours to get under the Pungo Ferry bridge last fall during a period of high wind-driven water. The height marker read 61' when I arrived.

For anyone who worries about mast height (or anyone who likes to sail), it's much more fun to skip the Wilkerson and go around by Manteo which has a taller bridge. Manteo is a great stop. The distance is less than five miles longer. Just don't try it if there's a strong wind against you. The chop can be tough.

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Old 11-04-2012, 20:46   #10
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Re: Shoals Between Morehead and Norfolk on the ICW

I've never been through the Alligator but usually go via the sounds. My last boat, a Cape Dory 30, could fit under the 64 bridge W of Roanoke Island. That's a good sneak, but no more, it was tight.

Should I make a point of taking the Alligator-Pungo one day, besides in inclement weather?
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Old 12-04-2012, 06:23   #11
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Re: Shoals Between Morehead and Norfolk on the ICW

I rather like the Pungo River, Aliigator-Pungo Canal, Alligator River Route. There is a nice stop in Belhaven, some nice sheltered anchorages in various places on the Pungo, the lonely anchorage off Tuckahoe Point at the end of the canal, and often good sailing up the Alligator and across Albemarle Sound. The route out and around via Pamlico Sound is big water and can be very rough because it is so shallow, but it is better sailing (and longer). Manteo is an interesting stop, but the channel to get there is pretty shoal (maybe 6 feet in places). The Wilkerson Bridge is charted at 64 feet, and usually has more than 62 feet of clearance.
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Old 12-04-2012, 17:16   #12
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Re: Shoals Between Morehead and Norfolk on the ICW

Kettlewell, sounds like a nice alternative to getting rocked in the square, NE fetch on the PAmlico. Sure wish I could still get under that other bridge west of Roanoke Is. though-
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Old 12-04-2012, 17:39   #13
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Re: Shoals Between Morehead and Norfolk on the ICW

Yeah, that bridge only has 44 feet of vertical clearance. It's too bad because the one just south of it has 66 feet.
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Old 14-04-2012, 05:42   #14
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Re: Shoals Between Morehead and Norfolk on the ICW

Arrived at the Waterside Marina in Norfolk last night without incident. It was a great trip as the lowlands along the ICW have to be one of the 7 wonders of the natural world.

There was a boat aground near Fulford Point at north end of Goose Creek between buoys 5 and 7. He was about 3 boat lengths into the channel side of the turn. So swing wide on the turn. The chart warns of shoaling in this specific area.

Thanks again for the great advice on this leg.
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Old 14-04-2012, 07:31   #15
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Re: Shoals Between Morehead and Norfolk on the ICW

Just made the trip from MD to Fl no issues with 5' 6" using the Pungo Canal.Saw at least 8 ft all along the way.Pay Close attetion to markers entering Adams Creek.Safe Trip Down.
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