Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Rockpile

Today we continued north on the ICW through a stretch known as "the Rockpile" aka the long, straight, stretch along Myrtle Beach.  This section of the ICW is notorious.  It's very narrow and has "rocky outcropping that abut the narrow channel".  We have been told and the various guidebooks say "stay in the middle."  D-uh!  The difficulty comes when another boat comes along and it's in the middle as well and you need to pass. You can't both be in the middle.  With most boats/yachts you can squeeze by but apparently barges transit this stretch as well.  No room for both a barge and a yacht. We were lucky in the fact that there was no barge traffic to contend with today.  We did pass several southbound boats - one of which waved  (they all do) and then called out "you're going the wrong way!"  Thanks s/v Wren from Annapolis - so we've been told!!!  Tom did a terrific job getting us through "The Rockpile."  I kept my "are we still in the middle?" comments to a minimum.  Some experienced cruisers (no names -Jaye) find this sections pretty.  I suspect these same cruisers find it fascinating to pass under, through, and around bridges as well (freaks!).  Oh yeah....there are a bunch of bridges along this stretch too.  Oh joy!  Most are 63-65ft (s/v Tammy Ann there are some 64 ft bridges girl) however there are a couple swing bridges thrown in for fun.  In fact, the Little River Swing Bride (7ft clearance) was quite an interesting time today with a big yacht southbound waiting on the other side, us and two local Sea Ray boats (25'ish & 30'ish) + two knot current pushing us northbound towards the unopened - not going to open for 5 mins even though I told you on the radio a little bit ago that I would hold it open for you (so we sped up when he originally told us that!) bridge!
Anyway....we did it.  The Rockpile is behind us.  Now where do I get my damned badge/sticker/pin?  Actually, it wasn't bad at all.


  1. Love this explanation! Since we transited a bit on the ICW and in a couple of tricky areas as well (though probably not this tricky), I could definitely relate. Really enjoying your recounting of your adventures as you head, inexplicably, northward. ;-) LOL!

  2. Do you guys use a weather service? I have been using Chris Parker Marine Weather for the last year and he has kept us safe and comfortable so far. For us he has about a 90% accuracy rate. We were totally naive about the weather patterns down here in Florida and in the Bahamas so I felt it was a safety issue. So far so good. Gd luck and safe sailing.

  3. I love it when the bridge tender says, "Keep moving and I'll have her open as you get here". Yea okay. There were several bridges with that communication where we ended up facing into the current waiting for the bridge to open, and praying the engine didn't die. Always have that anchor ready to deploy.

    Our neighbor took a little jaunt to the St Johns and whacked his antenna on the nearest bridge. Had he waited for high tide he would have been in serious trouble. I can't imagine traveling like that.