Time to Think About Going South

 Cruising with friends is about as good as it gets. The memories last a lifetime.

Cruising with friends is about as good as it gets. The memories last a lifetime.

As we get into September, lots of folks begin getting serious about planning their first, second, or tenth trip down the East Coast Intracoastal Waterway from New England and the Mid-Atlantic to Florida, the Keys, and beyond. The ICW is a diverse marine highway that allows inland travel from the Mid-Atlantic down to Florida without having to go out in the open ocean.

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I’ve done it numerous times on many boats, my own and on others’ boats, sail and power, and I know each time it is a different experience, even on the same boat with the same people. Boating is like that. Weather conditions change daily and the new people you meet are one of its greatest attractions. If you are lucky to not have a schedule, you can stay longer or change plans because you run into old friends and decide to spend time together.

Getting out of a delivery mindset is the number one way to have a good time.

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Are we finally doing the Dismal Swamp this year, or is the prime rib at Coinjock going to lure us back yet again?

I want to expand on the many areas of interest for those headed south this fall, by getting input from you about your favorites places along the way, your favorite anchorages and marinas, and other attractions you recommend. The shrimp and grits at the Fishy Fishy Café in Southport come to mind, as does that same entrée at the Driftaway Café a mile walk from Isle of Hope Marina in Savannah. After a nice dinner they will happily drive you back to the marina. How nice. And spending an evening at Wacca Wache Marina and its restaurant is another of my favorites, with “upscale shabby food.”

Then there is the Fat Hen on Johns Island, outside of Charleston. French Lowcountry cuisine, and worth an Uber ride. I always buy a quart of their fabulous bacon blue cheese slaw to take back to the boat.

I could go on, such as Chinooks in Seattle (yeah, wrong side of the country, but their salmon is to die for), but I think we all want to know what are your favorite towns to spend an extra day exploring, shopping, and kicking back?

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Everyone is different and people travel at different speeds.

Can We Get Serious Now?

But before we can get into this discussion, we need to talk about the difficulties presented ICW cruisers with the passing of Hurricane Florence. Many areas are fine and open for safe travel and marinas open for business.

But other sections are closed, or worse, no one knows yet.

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To get a handle on this developing situation, the team that runs Cruisers’ Net (https://cruisersnet.net) have stepped up to finding out the status of the waterway, especially the sections through the Carolinas most affected by Florence. They sent me this note of their efforts to clarify the unknown as it becomes known, which is really important before anyone heads south. Their work is key to a successful trip south.

To: Marine Business Community and All Captains, Skippers, and Crew

Finally, Hurricane Florence, a horrific storm, has moved on, but has left a path of destruction in its wake. The thoughts and prayers of the entire Cruisers' Net Team go out to you, your families, your employees, and those in your community.

It may be wishful thinking to say we hope all is still 100% with everyone, because what we've seen so far, we know that will not be the case. In the spirit of "Cruisers Helping Cruisers", we are reaching out to all who have been in the path of Florence, to see what we can do to assist you in staying linked to your customers and the boating community, as you assess your capacity to serve. Please send us assessments as you determined them and updates to your conditions, as you begin the process of returning to normal operations.

Our Team is on standby to assist in any way we can to communicate your facilities' conditions and ability to provide your services to the boating community.

Questions are already coming in concerning slip availability, fuel, electrical power, water, etc. from early Fall transients.

So, please, take a quick minute and let us hear from you, however brief or with as much detail as possible.

Please send your responses to larry.dorminy@cruisersnet.net

Our link to our marina conditions posting is: https://cruisersnet.net/174385

Your Cruisers' Net Team
Curtis, Kaye, Larry, and Winston

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So let’s let the dust settle and see how quickly the Cruisers’ Net can develop a clear picture of what is going on, and the status of the waterways, the marinas, fuel docks, and towns along the way south.

But if you feel like sharing your favorites now, feel free to share with us on the comments.