Thursday, November 24, 2011

Intracoastal Waterway (ICW)

The Intracoastal Waterway is a 3,000-mile (4,800-km) waterway along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States. Some lengths consist of natural inlets, salt-water rivers, bays, and sounds; others are artificial canals. It provides a navigable route along its length without many of the hazards of travel on the open sea.

We have concluded our fourth trip in a year between south Florida and the Chesapeake Bay on the ICW.  We do go on the “outside” some, especially around the shoaled waters of Georgia when weather permits.   Our first trip was last fall when we took Serenity south before crossing to the Bahamas for the winter.  In early summer, we delivered Serenity back to the Chesapeake to meet her new owners.  Then we rushed back to Florida to take possession of MOTIVATOR and moved her north to the Chesapeake.  Now we are back in Florida getting ready to head south through the Islands.
While we are ready for a change of pace, we must admit the ICW can be beautiful and interesting.

Many of the cities along the ICW are beautiful:
St. Augustine, FL
Even the smaller ones have their charm:

The ICW varies from relatively untouched scenic beauty:

To heavy industry:

And, iconic government facilities:

What we enjoy seeing is all of the varied uses of the ICW.  Of course there are the other cruising boats.  This one had a couple with two young children.  They were using a lead line to sound their way into the anchorage.

Other cruisers do not have to use a lead line.

The number of Canadian cruisers is surprising.

When we were departing Wilmington, NC we had to dodge swimmers preparing for a triathlon.

Paddle boarding seems to becoming more popular.

Watching for kayakers can be a concern.  This lady was taking her Pug for a ride.

Meeting a large barge on the ICW always gets your attention.

Just north of Myrtle Beach in a section affectionately called “the rock pile” we ended up holding position for about a half hour while this Coast Guard boat replaced the green day marker.

On other sections of the ICW we have had to time our approach as ferries cross our route.

Also, there are various styles of fishing boats.

In certain sections of the ICW you see military ships:

And, the boats guarding them:

Just when you think you have seen it all

The ICW has more to offer:

Coast Guard practicing water recoveries in South Carolina:

Hope this doesn’t catch on:

We are currently in Stuart, Florida where we will stay until after Thanksgiving while preparing to cross to the Islands.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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