To see as much of the world as we can,
Using the smallest carbon footprint we can,
Spending the least amount of money we can,
Making as many friends we can.

Team Red Cruising

Hard Aground

Started: Mile Hammock Bay 34°33.05′N 077°19.52′W

Anchored: ICW Mile 283 Wrightsville Beach 34°12.42′N 077°47.94′W

Log: 36.8 nm. Time 7 hr. Engine Hours 7

The cold was epic. Ice on deck. Again. And other problems, bigger problems than ice.

At the least, we're heading south. And the weather is expected to moderate. Until Monday.


Mile 280.4, Green 121 is in a skinny place in the channel, right by some floating docks.

Hug The Docks. (You've been warned.)

The center of the channel (at low tide) is only less than 5' deep.

We know: we checked the depth with our keel and found that it was clearly less than 6'.

It took about an hour of rising tide, plus wakes from passing boats, plus lots of rudder wiggling and forward thrust to get off the shoal and into the channel. Nearer to the docks.


There are three bascule bridges between Mile Hammock and Wrightsville Beach. When heading S, this plan worked for us today.

  1. Leave about 07:30.

  2. Pass through the Surf City bridge at the 10:00 opening.

  3. Pass through the Figure Eight Island bridge at the 12:00 opening. We had a fair current. Otherwise, slow down and aim for the 13:00 opening.

  4. Pass through the Wrightsville Beach bridge at the 13:00 opening. If you run aground or had a bad current set against you, you'll make the 14:00 opening.

The distance between Wrightsville Beach Bridge and Figure Eight Island Bridge is a bit of a problem for Red Ranger. It's 5 statute miles, 4.3 nautical miles. Our slowest speed under power — engine at idle — new paint — is just about 4.5 kt. So we have to actually dawdle down the ditch killing time: drop out of gear and drift; use reverse. Idling through that stretch means we'd go too fast.

And. We can't make the half-hour at Figure Eight Island, because we can't go 8.6 kt unless there's a ripping 1.2 kt tidal current.



We need a few groceries. And laundry. Maybe showers.

We'd like to — perhaps — get a propane heater. But we don't really need it. It's a right long trip to a hardware store. We'd have to rig bicycles to get it.

More importantly, my trusty old 7×50 binocular took a nasty hit. They're now out of whack. I see double. And there don't seem to be any adjustment screws to get the lenses to be parallel with each other. I looks like I either bent the frame or dislodged something inside. The rubberized covering might peel off, revealing screws that might be adjusted. Or not.

It might be time to fork over some $$$'s for a new binocular. Ideally, one with the internal reticule marked with numbers so I didn't have to try and count the damn lines. Also, one with a battery light for getting bearings at night.

Bus 104 apparently goes past the Lowe's that has the heater (8 in stock) and probably has 1# propane cylinders. As soon as we figure out the route, I think we have our activities for tomorrow planned.

Doing The Charleston

We see two ways to get from here to Charleston.

One overnight sail directly there. We did this going South. It was a great motor-sail.

Three days inside. Last year, going North, we stopped at three places between Charleston and Wrightsville.

  • 33°52.351′N 078°34.204′W — ICW Mile 341 — Little River, Calabash Creek. This gave us fits because it's just sort of a wide spot in the creek.

  • 33°39.954′N 079°04.235′W — ICW Mile 375 — Waccamaw River oxbow. This was elegantly secluded.

  • 33°11.850′N 079°27.216′W — ICW Mile 420 — South Santee River. This was a wide-open marsh with no cover of any kind.

The deciding factor is weather. There are four coastal forecast zones between here and Charleston: AMZ252, AMZ254, AMZ256 and AMZ350.

Tonight, there's mild winds and flat seas. Wind from the E makes for a possibly good beam reach sail down to Charleston.

The rest of the forecasts through Monday are for winds more-or-less from the S — SE, S or SW — and big seas — 4'-5' — stuff that doesn't sound pleasant to us. Weather will be rainy through Monday. Tuesday will be another night where it falls to 2°C because a strong cold front sweeps across the area.

What to do?

We're not sailing any time soon, that's clear.

If we wait here, we avoid some stinky weather.

If we try to spend three days chugging down to Charleston, we would still expose ourselves to contrary winds in the Cape Fear Inlet and the Winyah Bay. These are long exposed stretches, and wind on the nose is at least unpleasant and possibly dangerous.

We chugged into the big seas created by contrary winds in the Cape Fear river last year. It was fatiguing and that makes it dangerous. Once our judgement is impaired, then everything becomes risky.


Attribute Value
Depart Started: Mile Hammock Bay 34°33.05′N 077°19.52′W
Arrive Anchored: ICW Mile 283 Wrightsville Beach 34°12.42′N 077°47.94′W
Log 36.8 nm.
Time 7 hr.
Hours 7