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Old 29-03-2010, 23:18   #1
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Pamlico Sound vs ICW ?

Heading North from FL to Cape May. I will be going inside at Beaufort to Norfolk. I have a 4.5 ft draft and a 64 ft Mast. I was looking at the charts for the Pamlico sound and was wondering if anybody had experience there. Is it quicker than the ICW? How is it if a storm brews? Any other comments are welcome. Thank you
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Old 30-03-2010, 03:36   #2
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Most slower boats opt for the Alb/Pungo canal route (what you called the ICW). The sound is a little longer. Pamlico can get purty nasty when the wind blows, with not too many alternatives to hide. Faster powerboaters often take the sound cause they can stay up at speed the whole way, saving them some time.
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Old 30-03-2010, 07:18   #3
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The worst weather I ever experienced happened while leaving Ocracoke headed up the Pamlico towards Norfolk. Ocracoke has an extremely protected harbor and it was flat calm. With NOAA's reported 3 foot waves, we left. The channel is shallow and difficult and by the time we were at the end of it, the waves were 3-5. In another 30 minutes, water was breaking over my bow. My bow is 10 feet off the water. There is almost no protection in that area at all. We threw out the anchor behind a 3 foot shoal powering forward to slow the reverse progress from the wind and allowing the anchor to set. It was a wicked experience.

The next day was flat calm and it was a beautiful cruise for the remainder of the Pamlico. Roanoke/Manteo is a place I would like to go to some day.

The ICW main route is very well protected with a lot of options for overnights.
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Old 30-03-2010, 08:09   #4
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IIRC...

...the only way around Roanoke Island with a 64' air draft is to go east of it and the charts show a fairly narrow channel along and south of the island. We always concluded that it just wasn't worth it.

We also want to visit Manteo by coming back to it via the Albemarle, but the "schedule" never worked out.

Fair Winds,
Mike
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Old 30-03-2010, 08:26   #5
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Mike-I saw that on my charts. That was on my mind also. The direction this thread is going is making me tend to just stay in the ditch.

Thanks
Brian
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Old 30-03-2010, 08:42   #6
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If it's a nice day, the Pamlico has the advantage of allowing you to sail for a large part of the sound. It has the disadvantage of requiring you to go around Roanoke because of the 45' bridge - through that small channel for quite a few miles.

The ICW has some great stops. There's a nice anchorage in Belhaven, quite a few high quality marinas, and some interesting scenery. That Pungo-Alligator cut canal for 20 miles is a strange place - stay in the middle...

Be careful of the area just north of the Alligator River bridge. The charts are wrong for that area although with 4.5' draft you shouldn't have a problem unless you get off the channel.
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Old 30-03-2010, 09:05   #7
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The Pamlico is a very shallow body of water and as such the waves can get very steep even though they don't get that high. 4-6 is about as high as it gets but 4-6 in the Pamlico is much rougher than 4-6 in the ocean. There are a bunch of us locals planning a circumnavigation of the Pamlico in late April. The plan is to go up through the Pamlico to Manteo and return through the ICW. There are no lunar tides to speak of in the Pamlico, but wind driven tides can make a large difference in water depths at the upper and lower ends of the system. A strong NE wind blowing for a couple of days will reduce water depths in the Manteo area a couple of feet. In the Neuse River at New Bern the difference between a strong NE wind and a strong SW wind can be on the order of 6 or 7 feet. Most of the Neuse is deep enough where this is not a problem, but the channel at Manteo could be iffy for 4.5 feet if a strong NE Wind was blowing for a couple of days so pay attention to that. Also make sure you stay out of the prohibited areas. These are active military bombing ranges. They often provide some pretty spectacular shows from a few miles off. If you go up the ICW pay particular attention near the mouth of the Alligator river. A number of markers were moved last year and if you don't have current charts the markers will be quite confusing. I had a friend who went to the chesapeake for a month and they moved the markers while he was gone. He missed a new marker and ended up on a bar. He draws 4.5 too.

Options for anchorages above Beaufort are South River or Broad Creek near the mouth of the Neuse. You could also stop in Oriental but at 64 feet you'll need to go into a marina as you can't get to the protected waters behind the bridge. The next anchorage is Ocracoke which is 36 miles from Broad creek and about 42 from South River. North of Ocracoke you could go to Hatteras or Engelhard. You'll notice on the chart you have to go pretty far off shore to work your way around the bars at Hatteras so it's farther to Hatteras than a simple straight line would suggest. Engelhard is a little fishing village, not much to see but nice people. Have a nice trip no matter which way you decide to go.
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Old 30-03-2010, 21:07   #8
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I just did the Manteo/Pamlico route going south with 64 ft mast because I was concerned with the bridge on the ICW near Belhaven. There had been a lot of N and NE wind piling up the water in that vicinity. Had we been unable to get under that bridge, it would have been a LONG back track. Going north it's not near as bad if you have to turn around, but still something to think about.
We had a lot of room getting under the bridge east of Roanoke Island.
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