Eventful Cruise to Calabash Creek

It started out so calmly. Cypress trees. Osprey. Mirror-calm water. Alone for miles. Soon, a few swing bridges that needed to be opened for us. A whole lot of fancy waterfront houses. A fast boat sending us a big wake. A “go/stay” decision. And then…wait for it…a mechanical malfunction. I just had to say, just yesterday, how lucky we were to not have had one. Jinxed! 😉

Yesterday was a rather dull day. Today? Not! That’s how it is on The Great Loop. As soon as you get complacent or bored, something happens to shake you out of it.

The photos and captions tell the story of our 55-mile cruise to overnight anchorage in Calabash Creek, near the North Carolina border. But first, a word about leftovers. Do you know how many delicious things you can do with leftovers in a wrap? Especially if you first fry the tortillas in bacon-butter. Great hand-meal while under way!

The Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway of South Carolina was so calm this morning. We began to see cypress trees, after weeks of flat marshland.
Since we are traveling north earlier than most, the trees are just beginning to bud.
Our first of two swing bridges. Jeff called ahead to request an opening. I’m glad he’s doing the radio work. (Last year, it was mostly me.)
This waterfront homeowner sure made a statement. Are we in election season again? This has become a pretty constant thing down here in the south…
Our first barge in a long time! I wasn’t sure barges use this narrow part of the ICW. (It’s a small one.)
Miles and miles of waterfront homes like this line the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. They’re interesting, but Jeff and I would both rather see nature.
Passing under a picturesque stone bridge.
Barefoot Landing in South Carolina is a destination spot. This dockside village has dozens of restaurants. My research indicated the long free dock is for day use only. Jeff was inclined to challenge that and stay the night. “They won’t kick us off — no other boats are here!” I wasn’t eager to find out, especially after dark. Once he saw the security guard on patrol, he wasn’t either.
Many Moons tied up all alone on the long free dock at Barefoot Landing/Dockside Village.
On the wall right above our boat, we found Lulu’s and stopped for shrimp gumbo. We visited the original Lulu’s at Gulf Shores in Alabama. (Owned by Jimmy Buffet’s sister Lucy. As I assume this one is also.)
Right across from our dock at Barefoot Landing, our friends on Eleanor Grace (near the left) tied up at Barefoot Marina. Since I wasn’t eager to challenge the “day-use-only” sign on our side, I called the marina on the other side for a slip. It costs $3/foot, which would be $100+ for us. I’m not cheap, but we don’t love these developed areas anyway. We decided to move on to an anchorage 10 miles further up.
We passed this odd structure on the waterfront. An antenna, I assume.
Soon after leaving Barefoot, this sign (“Danger – Rocks!”) reminded us that the next six miles need our close attention. The channel is narrow here and lined by rocks. (After weeks of sand, this is unusual.)
We went through the “rock alley” on a falling tide….
…so they were becoming very visible. This rock was right next to the channel, just 20 feet from our boat.
As we approached our 2nd swing bridge of the day – opened here for us — Jeff noticed a problem with the throttle. It was very loose. He had minimal thrust control. We had to get through this bridge and the oncoming traffic before figuring out what to do about it. Fortunately, we were going with the current and still had helm control. One of the scariest possibilities under way is losing helm control in the midst of traffic or obstructions. I held my breath a bit…
About to pass two tour boats under a 2nd bridge, as Jeff babies the throttle along. At this point, I’m imagining losing helm control too. (Imagination isn’t always a good thing.)
I looked for a place to pull off the waterway so Jeff could “get under the hood” and found a marina dock. I called ahead but got no answer, so we just tied up. While Jeff fiddled with his tools, I found the security guard. “You can stay here overnight if you need to,” he said….”for $2/foot. But no electricity.” Not a good deal. Jeff fixed the problem and we moved on. (He said it was “the throttle lever on the injector pump. A small bolt came loose. Easy fix.” Okay….)
After the mechanical snafu, we passed shrimp boats, and casino boats…and some appealing waterfront cafes and seafood shops. This is more our speed. But, no place to spend the night. We moved on….
… to yet another peaceful anchorage. I do love being at anchor even though it’s a little tricky finding the right spot at low tide.

2 thoughts on “Eventful Cruise to Calabash Creek

  1. Our Dear Mary, Thankyou as always for your posts. You are blessed to the nines to have your Captain Jeff managing your ship. He and I as well came from humble beginnings and we learned to maintain our vehicles and equipment by the school of hard knocks. We did not always have professional shops doing our repairs. We sometimes did our repairs outside in the cold winter environs of Upper Michigan.
    That has a lot to do why your ship is not being towed by the boat in your blog.
    Safe Travels, Norm and Gail


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