Offshore Days off South Carolina

We just covered 102 miles in two days by going offshore.

We left Southport, North Carolina and decided to make our first offshore run since entering the ICW back in Virginia. We ventured back out to the Cape Fear River and through the Cape Fear inlet, heading for Little River Inlet. This would be a short offshore run and easily doable in one day, bringing us across the border into South Carolina!

The sun was rising as we left Southport and headed out the Cape Fear Inlet

The sun was rising as we left Southport and headed out the Cape Fear Inlet

Oak Island Light

Oak Island Light – took three tries to catch it with the light flashing.

Cool morning but nice and sunny

Cool morning but nice and sunny

Once out past the inlet, the waves were rolling, resulting in water over the bow, something we had not seen since Long island Sound on September 12th.  We were really hoping for a sail, but that only lasted for 2 hours. Back to the engine. Ugh.

Some sailing time

Some sailing time

Little River Inlet

Little River Inlet

We anchored in Calabash Creek, off of Little River, by mid-afternoon, giving us some time to relax before dinner.

Michele trying yoga on the front deck. Forgive the form! It isn't easy in that space!

Michele trying yoga on the front deck. Forgive the form! It isn’t easy in that space!

Several boats filed in after us to anchor here for the night. Once again (I think the 4th time) we found ourselves near Simple Life with Joe and Michele, who anchored just ahead of us. It was a quiet evening in the creek.

Four other boats joined us here in Calabash Creek for the night

Six other boats joined us here in Calabash Creek for the night

Little River Casino Boat - a 5-hour tour out to the ocean with "Las Vegas style gambling". It passed right by our little anchorage

Little River Casino Boat – a 5-hour tour out to the ocean with “Las Vegas style gambling”. It passed right by our little anchorage

We reviewed our charts and routes for the next day as well as another careful look at the weather. Both the Captain and the Admiral agreed that tomorrow would be another offshore day to Winyah Inlet, leading ultimately to Georgetown. The ICW has been a fascinating experience, but we enjoyed being “outside” in the ocean. It must be our New England blood – it felt more like home. It also made for a more relaxing trip (if the wind and weather cooperate) because autopilot took over and we did not need to constantly maneuver among the markers, boats, bridges, and shallows of the ICW.

The route from Little River to Winyah Inlet, and ultimately Georgetown, was 67 miles long which would be just about the maximum safely possible during daylight at 6 knots/hour.  We left as early as possible, 7:02 am, and it was just lightening a tiny bit.

Just barely enough light to see as we left Calabash Creek

Just barely enough light to see as we left Calabash Creek

Early dawn is one of the most beautiful times of the day

Early dawn is one of the most beautiful times of the day

Because it was still a bit dark, we carefully followed our breadcrumbs from yesterday’s trip back out of the inlet. As you can see on the chartplotter photo below, this was another case of don’t use only the electronics or charts. They can be outdated and markers are moved for new shallows.

It's a wierd feeling when the chartplotter looks like this but you know you aren't going over land!

It’s a wierd feeling when the chartplotter looks like this but you know you aren’t going over land! Trust the actual markers and your eyes!! You just keep repeating that to ourself as you carefully move along.

If you get tired of looking at photos of the dawn, fast forward through here. It was so beautiful I could not stop taking pictures.

Dawn at Little River Inlet

Dawn at Little River Inlet

Offshore dawn

Dawn

Dawn brightens in the sky over the ocean

Dawn brightens in the sky over the ocean

An offshore sunrise begins

An offshore sunrise begins

Sun rising

Sun rising

What deep colors!

What deep colors!

We were surprised by how utterly flat the seas were. What we call a  “power boater’s dream day.” The water was so flat that the ocean blended with the sky. The day became cloudy; the kind of cloudy that is subdued, but not depressing.

VERY calm and flat seas

VERY calm and flat seas

Where is the horizon?

Where is the horizon?

It was so calm I was able to make us a nice, big, hot breakfast in the galley while underway!

French toast layered with banana and apples, and bacon, of course.

French toast layered with banana and apples, and bacon, of course.

We really do try to sail whenever possible. Really!

We really do try to sail whenever possible. Really!

We spent the entire day alone, ten miles offshore, and never saw another boat until we reached the entrance to Winyah Inlet.

Finally, we have company, in the distance. A shrimper.

Finally, we have company, in the distance. A shrimper.

Entering Winyah Inlet

Entering Winyah Inlet

~A pelican convention on the rocks of the submerged breakwater. ~ Pelican on the move! ~Pelican splashdown!! (That was not easy to photograph)

~A pelican convention on the rocks of the submerged breakwater.
~ Pelican on the move!
~Pelican splashdown!! (That was not easy to photograph)

Winyah Light  It took another 2 hours to wind our way from Winyah Inlet, cross the ICW, and then reach Georgetown. We are looking forward to exploring Georgetown for a day.

Winyah Light

It took another 2 hours to wind our way from Winyah Inlet, cross the ICW, and then reach Georgetown. We are looking forward to exploring Georgetown for a day.

2 thoughts on “Offshore Days off South Carolina

  1. Love the photos of your day offshore. We were monitoring your progress on AIS. We had a lovely anchorage I the Waccamaw, one of our favorite places. We will be in Charleston, SC tomorrow. From there will head to Beaufort to pick up mail then wait for a window to head offshore to St. Mary’s/Fernandina. Hope we catch up! Love the photos.
    Michele and Joe

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