October 9-19, 2012... The Southward Migration...VA...NC...SC

We waited what seemed an eternity for the right weather window to leave the Chesapeake and sail outside around Hatteras, and south.  We were getting too cold to stay north as nighttime temps fell into the 40s with every cold front that moved through.  But, the fronts were bringing rough weather and we didn’t want to start our journey south in a storm.  After 3 days of waiting it seemed we might catch a break, so we ventured out from our sheltered anchorage and sailed across Mobjack Bay (which seemed much tamer than the forecast conditions) and were exiting Mobjack to the Chesapeake proper, when, wham!!  OK, now we knew what the forecasters were talking about.  Winds were in the 20-25+ knots range and the seas were rough.  And this was on the Bay.  The conditions outside were worse.  We decided then and there to make miles south by going inside to Beaufort, NC and then look for better weather to sail on the ocean.  So, we headed to Willoughby Bay and put the anchor down.

Our days became mind-numbing drives down the ICW, bridges, locks, boat traffic, radio chatter, eyes glued to the depth sounder, every evening conversations about where to anchor.  And every morning waking to bone chilling temperatures requiring us to wear all our foulie gear until afternoon when the sun would warm us up in the enclosure.  We took some small comfort in sailing a little bit -- we had a good downwind sail on the Albemarle Sound, a fast sail on the Pungo River, and again on the Pamlico and Neuse.  

As we got further south in North Carolina, the weather started turning warm!  By the time we got to Beaufort, we were in t-shirts again.  From Beaufort, we got a decent weather window to go outside.  And, we sailed for about 6 hours before the winds died completely.  So, rather than drive on the ocean and arrive in Charleston at night, we cut the trip short and went into Winyah Bay, anchoring near the lighthouse -- our bailout the last time we sailed out of Beaufort 3 years ago!  

So, inside again, setting the anchor in the marshes off Isle of Palms near Charleston.  There we had great news as Maryvonne and Shane on Gem were headed into Charleston.  The next day we met at the anchorage off the city marina, and spent the day in town catching up and making plans to travel together as we were both headed south.

Willoughby Bay:  +36° 57' 37.62", -76° 17' 21.60"
Pungo Ferry Bridge:  +36° 36' 40.08", -76° 3' 5.34"
Little Alligator River:  +35° 56' 9.00", -76° 1' 4.56"
Slade Creek, Pungo River:  +35° 27' 50.40", -76° 32' 46.50"
Beaufort, NC:  +34° 42' 45.06", -76° 40' 47.28"
Winyah Bay, SC:  +33° 13' 13.32", -79° 11' 10.26"
Inlet Creek:  +32° 46' 59.88", -79° 49' 30.66"
Charleston:  +32° 46' 32.46", -79° 57' 7.50"


  1. Did you encounter any of the lovely aroma from the mills near Georgetown, SC at the Winyah Bay anchorage?

    1. No mill smells near the inlet. Beautiful place to anchor.