Many of the yachts traversing the ICW use it as a hide out from the vagaries of ocean passaging. The “Ditch” as the Intra Coastal Waterway is often called, is shallow, generally narrow, muddy, and a pain to navigate, compared to the ocean. But there is another side, one that has an allure that is world class in cruising terms. An example of which will be found here at the free tie up next to the Great Bridge locks at the start of the ICW.
A few feet from Wind Horse there is a farmer’s market with friendly vendors. The fruit and veggies come from their own gardens.
And you don’t have to worry about the flavor of prematurely picked tomatoes, apples, or pears on sale here.
The photo does not begin to do justice to the flavor resident on this plate. Simply put, best of the year pasta award.
Followed by best of the summer cruising season apple crisp.
After a hard day on the ICW, there are numerous options for relaxing. We prefer quiet anchorages, of which there are many. Others like the wild life of marinas.
For the most part the shoreside is bucolic, marshy, with only an occasional structure to disturb the skyline. Wildlife is much in evidence.
Although most sailboats motor along the ICW, a few actually unfurl their jibs, and even fewer will hoist their mainsail.
If you are not in delivery mode, why not slow down, enjoy sailing in the protected waters, and if you don’t make it quite as far as planned for the day, who cares?
We have been fortunate these past few days to have a high pressure system sitting over us, with mild weather, and exceptionally clear sunsets and sunrises.
Every evening and morning has us on deck at twilight, staring in wonder, pleased as punch we’ve taken the long way to Beaufort.
There is also the allure for us of shooting birds in flight, of which there are a great variety. Even if you don’t consider yourself a nature lover, watching a bald eagle hunting,
a turkey vulture working the thermals,
or listening to the raucous scold of the heron, will quickly have you hooked.
But there is a problem with all these early light fireworks.
They play havoc with your sleep patterns. You need to be up and on deck by 0530 this time of year. And if you want to photograph the event, then deduct another hour from sack time.
Sunday morning, and the locals are out enjoying the early morning light.
Whether hook or net, odds are there will be fish or shrimp for lunch.
Of course not everyone approves. Some even think the waters private, and are vociferous in expressing their displeasure.
We have transited the ICW, giving short shift yet again to its many secret pleasures. Next time we are going to spend time exploring the backwaters, visiting villages, hanging with the local cruisers.
For now, there is a golden sand beach off our stern, the sky offers promise for tomorrow, and we have one more day in which to enjoy the much abbreviated cruising season. That is a last day away from the hustle of the boat yard and bustle of a modern city. Then it is back to the land, high speed internet, and the wiles of the Sonoran Desert. We are not ready to leave our trusty Wind Horse this soon, but having completed our cycle of tests for the FPB 97, the time is at hand.
Besides, we have some experimenting to do in astrophotography, which is better learned on stable land in clear desert air.
We’ll close with this photo of Wind Horse out to pasture at Triton Marine, in Beaufort.