Offshore from Southport, NC to Winyah Bay, then St Helena Sound, Wassaw Sound, and St Simons, GA   1 comment

early departure during a full moon

early departure during a full moon

On 16 October, we departed Southport, NC and headed out the Cape Fear River going offshore to Winyah Bay, about 72 nautical miles away.  The seas were relatively calm, one to two feet, and the winds were light, 6-12 knots.  This was a very good offshore run, even more

ocean traffic

ocean traffic

so when we heard the USCG announce the Socastee Swing Bridge, just south of Myrtle Beach on the ICW, was closed due to no electricity and extensive flooding caused by Hurricane Matthew.  This basically closed all southbound traffic on the ICW south of Myrtle Beach as the bridge clearance is only 11 feet on a good day but with flooding was even less.  Later, the USCG released a Notice to

Mariners stating the bridge could be closed for up to two weeks.  About eight miles offshore from the outer markers of Winyah Bay, we noticed what we thought was an outbound current line but

green ocean meets the brown flood waters

green ocean meets the brown flood waters

instead, we were met with a distinct line where the green-colored ocean water met the brown chocolate-colored flood waters.  The oncoming waves in Winyah Bay increased to four-five feet of dirty, smelly, chocolate brown flood water.  I said to Terri the water smelled like earthworms;

sunset Winhay Bay

sunset Winhay Bay

she said it smelled like pluff mud, which is described as “slippery shiny brown-gray, sucky mud, with a distinctive smell like none other, of the tidal flats and grass salt marshes.”  We both said “yuck”, arrived at the anchorage at Winyah Bay just before dark, and spent a very peaceful night at anchor.

another early departure

another early departure

The weather forecast was good for the next 3-4 days so we departed Winyah Bay at 5:55am, yes, in the dark

sunrise at sea

sunrise at sea

but at least we had a full moon.  The outbound channel is well lit so we pointed the bow back offshore.  We had a gentle roll from the waves; Terri always says she hates the side-to-side roll when the boat rocks from side to side.  The winds were light and variable; when the winds would increase a bit,

another sunrise shot

another sunrise shot

we would roll out the jib to increase our forward speed but soon found no wind therefore we would roll in the jib back in.  We decided to bypass Charleston due to reported extensive damage and entered St

a lazy day at sea

a lazy day at sea

Helena Sound, another 77 nautical mile offshore day, at 5:35pm.  It took another hour and a half to maneuver into the Morgan River, where we anchored at dusk.  We had a quiet night but were thankful for mosquito screens over the ports as there were lots of mosquitoes.

sunrise Morgan River

sunrise Morgan River

We departed the anchorage in the Morgan River at 6:45am on 18 October and were met by another sunny day with light winds.  We were both taken back a bit by how slick the ocean surface was; almost smooth with a very light roll.  Our offshore trip was one of the best we have had as we reached the outer marker of Wassaw Sound, after a short 41 nautical miles, at 2:42pm.  We’ve entered and exited Wassaw Sound many times and it is a very deep sound but this time, we noted all of the buoy markers were off station, meaning Hurricane Matthew moved them; one was almost on shore.  The permanent buoys were simply bare posts with the green/red markers gone.  We started a GPS track and followed our instruments staying in 30-50 feet of water all the way

shopping at the Pig

shopping at the Pig

in.  We arrived at Thunderbolt Marina at 5:35pm and fueled up and pumped out our holding tanks.  We had a very nice shrimp dinner at Tubby’s Tank House, one of favorite restaurants.  With our tummies stuffed, we slept very well!

eating at Tubby's

eating at Tubby’s

On 19 October, we wanted to depart Thunderbolt Marina very early but woke up to dense fog;

fog at Thunderbolt, GA

fog at Thunderbolt, GA

the fog was so thick we could not even see the other side of the river or the fixed bridge at Thunderbolt.  The fog finally started to lift around 8:00am so we departed the marina; shortly after we departed, we were back in dense fog.  We met two huge inbound boats on our way out in the fog; thanks to AIS, we were able to call one another

a ship following us into St Simons

a ship following us into St Simons

and pass them without any issues.  We continued following our GPS track we had set yesterday and exited the fog just before we hit the open ocean.  Our day to St Simons. GA

coming into St Simons

coming into St Simons

was another easy one marked with light winds and almost smooth seas.  We entered the channel at St Simons at 5:22pm, after downing another 52 offshore nautical miles, and pulled into a slip at Morning Star Marina at 7:00pm.  We normally tied up to the long T-head face dock but the marina had extensive damages to the face dock as well as to all of its southern docks.   We noted lots of downed trees along the shore and there were a lot of blue tarps marking damaged roofs.  The mosquitoes are just nasty here and they are the BIG ones; your blood level becomes about a quart low if you are outside the boat at dark!  Yikes!!

 Okay, so why are we going so fast down the coast?  One might ask, why not chill for a while?  Well, we have had good weather and we find weather is the driver of everything along the coast.  When it is good, you move; when not, you wait.  Plus we want to park the boat in St Augustine,

sunset at St Simons

sunset at St Simons

rent a car, and cast our vote early.  So, we plan to depart here tomorrow and head for Cumberland Island. We had planned to spend a week at Cumberland enjoying chasing the horses around with our camera but sadly Matthew caused a lot of damage at Cumberland Island and it is closed to all visitors. We had also planned to spend some time at Fernandina Beach. We thought we would stay at the marina for a few days but it had so much damage that the marina and mooring field are closed until sometime in 2017.  So we will anchor for the night at Cumberland Island then move further south on Sunday.  So, until our next update…..

Bill and Terri             

Posted October 22, 2016 by svsecondoption in Uncategorized

One response to “Offshore from Southport, NC to Winyah Bay, then St Helena Sound, Wassaw Sound, and St Simons, GA

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Beautiful photos and a great tale!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: