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Cruising With The Chilbergs: Things The Go Bump On The ICW (BLOG)

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“The road forks. One path leads to further entanglement, reactivity, and thickening of the fog of confusion, the other toward the refinement of awareness and the unfolding of compassionate wisdom. The choice is ours in every moment.”

—Tara Bennett-Goleman

As we left the crystal clear waters of the Bahamas, we entered the Florida ICW at the Fort Pierce Inlet. Here for the next 700 miles the water looked more like root beer than what I came to take for granted in the Exumas and Abacos!

So my days of diving down to check the anchor ended when I realized that the visibility was less than 6 inches and an alligator swam past Mud Puddle Rose.

Things I will not be sharing a swim with.

Things I will not be sharing a swim with.

The ICW from Florida to Norfolk, Virginia, is what I call Part 1. The quiet marsh anchorages, like Blackbeard Creek, brings out the memories of long-ago pirates who hid off these waterways. We go past classic homes and southern towns like Charleston, which was Blackbeard’s final hangout. Sorry for the pun!

Mike and Patti at the yacht club.

Mike and Patti at the yacht club.

Mike and Patti Hohman joined us at the wonderful Halifax Yacht Club in Daytona Beach and cruised with us through Jekyll Island, to the South Carolina Yacht Club on Hilton Head Island. Not only were they great crew members, but we laughed all week long and so enjoyed their company.

A great thunderstorm provided the light show of the cruise. That is the one time I like to anchor near a sailboat with a tall mast as a lightening rod!

The South Carolina Yacht Club was probably as impressive a club as I have ever experienced. They have their own mini-lock that we passed through to get to the club. The service, food and environment were first class.

I picked the above quote in honor of the Army Corps of Engineers’ failure to keep the Dismal Swamp Canal safe and navigable. The canal has a lock on each side of it and for 30 miles we crawled at the required 5 knots and bumped over sunken logs and debris in the alleged 6-foot mean low water canal. We draw about 4 feet, 10 inches, and must have tapped our keel at least 20 times and had to creep around a tree that fell almost the entire way across the canal (pictured at top).

The club's entrance lock.

The club's entrance lock.

I called the Army Corps of Engineers to report the tree and got the Florida Corps office. The woman there could not find a number for any Army Corp of Engineers’ office in Virginia.

Shortly thereafter, we passed an Army Corp of Engineers barge along the canal that was on the bank, probably disabled by hitting a submerged tree that they were supposed to be retrieving! I must admit that I was tempted to ask them if they had a telephone, but I was just glad to squeeze past them and get the hell out of the Dismal Swamp.

We will certainly take the other route when we return home! How can the government sneak $400 million to Iran in Euros and Swiss Franc in an unmarked cargo plane at night and not be able to keep sunken logs out o the Dismal Swamp? Those damn logs that go “bump” under our keel are homegrown terrorism for cruisers! My heart stopped with every thump!

Some Lovely homes along the ICW.

Some Lovely homes along the ICW.

We were so happy to leave this area and get to the Chesapeake Bay. But that adventure will be our next BLOG which is Part 2!

Keep Cruising … BUT not the Dismal Swamp Canal!

Read more of Joe's blog here.