08 December 2011

Back to the ICW Grind

Many cruisers love the ICW.  Some do it multiple times - down up down up.  Some do it EVERY YEAR.  The snowbirds, as they are called, travel south every winter, and back north for summer in the Chesapeake, or Maine, or wherever they call "home."  My parents did the ICW three times (down up down) before they wised up and settled in the Abacos.

But, alas, Ean and I do NOT love the ICW.  I believe we have what's known as an "attitude problem."  We're tired of being cold.  We don't like "driving" down this watery highway with unmarked lanes, ever fearful of falling out of the channel and going aground.  We've visited some interesting places (towns, anchorages), but we'd rather be in the Bahamas.  We are having trouble feeling a sense of accomplishment after traveling a BIG FORTY MILES in ONE DAY.

Today we planned carefully for a bridge that we would need to have opened for us: the Sunset Beach Pontoon Bridge, at mile 337.9.  We read in our multiple guidebooks that the bridge opens hourly, on the hour.  We throttled back to less than 4 knots, so we wouldn't need to mill about aimlessly while waiting for the opening.  As we slowly approached... hey wait, that's a BIG bridge.  Dat dere bridge don't open at all.  It's one a' dem new-fangled FIXED bridges, with at least 65' vertical clearance, that we can slide right under (just barely cringing, nowadays, experienced ICW-ers that we are).  Tip for all who aspire to travel on the ICW: shell out the big bucks for the MOST up-to-date ICW books.  Things change.

A few miles later, we went aground while trying to anchor.  But it was a GOOD grounding.  Low tide, just a soft slide into the mud, back away slowly, no biggie.  Unlike our PREVIOUS experience, which was a BAD grounding: broken crockery, near-heart attacks, cursing and flailing, rescue required.

This is our life.  We are trying to appreciate where we are and what we have.  "BE HERE NOW" (so I was told by an aging lesbian hippie on an Outward Bound trip that I took two decades ago).

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