We’ve have some windows of good weather, followed by rainy days. But, we are anchoring out and exploring. So, Bird Island near the Little River Inlet on the North/South Carolina Inlet or the Waccamaw River and the surrounding wildlife refuge. Perhaps I’ll give you a little of both. But there is also a “how to” on launching the dinghy. I’ll save that!
I love maps (or charts in the boating world). I use both and am always looking for the fun, interesting, off the beaten path spot to visit. Can’t help myself. Bird Island. Part of a North Carolina Preserve on the north side of the Little River Inlet. A good strong current, in and out twice a day, but quite sheltered given how close it is to the ocean, maybe a quarter mile away across the dunes and vegetation. And, we can see the ocean over the breakwater south of us.
I’d wanted to visit Bird Island as there is a mailbox here called the Kindred Sprit Mailbox. It made me think of our visit to Post Office Bay in the Galapagos where you leave messages, objects and paraphernalia. Although Post Office Bay is only accessible by boat and I thought that was the case for Bird Island, it turns out you can reach it by walking down the beach from a Sunset Beach; but WE came by boat! So, we are special!
Rincon Feliz was anchored on the marsh side of the island and we launched the dinghy, anchoring using our anchor buddy to keep Rinconcito in the water as the tide was rising. Worked like a champ!
The Autopilot Needs Work
On day two of our anchoring at Bird Island, we headed out into the big beautiful Atlantic Ocean. This was our first time in the ocean without a training Captain. We were nervous (no reason to be) and giddy. Another first which is fun. We are still trying to get our autopilot to work as well as it did before be had our drive shaft and rudder rebuilt. One needs open water and fairly smooth seas for the calibration. There were long swells which got Chicha urpy, but it worked pretty well and our autopilot is working better.
Of course, one mostly uses their autopilot offshore. Very RARELY on the ICW. Too narrow, too much going on, etc. After the calibration, dumping our poop tanks 3 miles off shore and trying to make water (the water maker needs work), we headed back to our same anchorage which was so nice.
The Waccamaw River
The Waccamaw River runs from North Carolina down to the ocean near Georgetown. Part of it is common with the ICW and runs through lots of wildlife refuge and protected lands. We thought a side trip up the Waccamaw to Conway, SC would be fun, a challenge and a chance to be in the swamps. The challenge is that it is not all charted. But, “sources” say it is 10 – 20 feet deep in the channel, so we should be OK as our draft is 5 feet. At least the charting tool on my tablet does show the whole course which is quite “meandery.”
The Waccamaw is also a Blue River Trail, meaning a Kayak trail. (https://www.americanrivers.org/conservation-resources/rrformer/waccamaw-river-blue-trail/). Get out your kayak and do the 140 miles! We can’t do the whole distance on Rincon Feliz. Conway is as far as we could get. We could have gone further, but decided to stop at Cox lake, just south of town.
Tomorrow it is supposed to be sunnier and we’ll drop Rinconcito in the water and visit Conway as well as walk some trails very close to our anchorage.