Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Alligator River; Turn & Bump

When we travel, like many others we use a form of both electronic and paper charts as well as updates of the ICW from various sources.
Conditions are constantly changing as weather wind and tides have their way. But there are sections of the the waterway that have developed a "reputation". The one pictured here on our electronic chart is a great example. Typically the ICW route is highlighted by way of a  "magenta line". Boaters of all types follow it, in some cases to a fault.
On this passage from Albemarle Sound to the Alligator River it can be tricky for the unaware.
On the chart is a jag & turn to the starboard when traveling south as you can see from the green 7 to the white channel. The problem with this course is the water is very shallow down to 3 ft or less. Ouch! On the chart I put in a short course that went straight, marker to marker.   Traveling north last Spring and again recently, two boats (each time, one a motor and the other a sail) had run aground.

Later that same day at markers 35 on the Alligator River there were large tree trunks in the water. These are called "deadheads" and if you bump one it would ruin your day. Always best in these waters to keep a good watch.

You can see a white caption box which gives the details of the hazard, this is available on Active Captain; http://www.activecaptain.com/X.php . We also use computer based software for our chart plotter called Maxsea; http://comen.maxsea.fr/maxsea/ . An excellent program.

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