First, My apologies to everyone… I completely lost track of this post and my promise to come back and let everyone know how it went. Once again, our thanks to everyone for all the great advice.
Let’s just hit a couple of the highlights before I get into our trip:
- Watch depths as there are MANY uncharted shallow areas - stay center of channel whenever possible…
I’ve got to say, we really didn’t run into many problems with depth (6’-6” draft) on the entire trip down… yes it got a little hairy in some areas and yes, I did dredge a couple of new channels going into some marinas and even got hung up a bit in New Smyrna, FL – but all in all no troubles
- There are several “sounds” that can be extremely rough when the winds change - Albemarle in North Carolina is one such area - learn them and watch your weather.
Yep, patience was a virtue on this trip, but we waited patiently for our windows and had a great trip!
- Take care after any rainfall - things you wouldn't believe wash into the “ditch”;. Entire trees floating (or, sometimes submerged)are not uncommon.
Yep, entire trees!
- Traffic on the “ditch”; can be interesting - some boaters understand courtesy and protocol and others just don't - be watchful.
Dead on - we try to be as courteous as possible ourselves, throttling back as they approached, etc. as with everything else in life, we met and spent some great times with several power boaters and “cursed” a bunch of others.
- Be ever watchful for crab pots - there is no rhyme or reason to their placement and sometimes they can be found very close to the navigational channel…
We made it all the way to Key West and back north again without incident…. Until! Snagged a pot entering the Chesapeake… fortunately, caught it with the keel, saw the float submerge and killed the engine… managed to back off it without issue!DavidCReno
- Keep in mind that you'll meet amazing people as you travel south and may want to travel at a common pace so that you can see each other a little more on the way.
I know I don’t have to say it, but it’s absolutely true! By far, the best part of the entire trip was the people we met along the way.Nereus32
- I can recommend heat on board! Last year when we came down, our heater allowed us stay in the Chesapeake longer, while everyone else was forced to move south. We left Washington D.C. on November 5th. The fall colors were beautiful and worth it.
Thank you, Thank you, and Thank you!
We picked up a “Mr. Heater” and it made all the difference in the world! As you’ll find out later in this lengthy reply, we didn’t reach Portsmouth until December 22nd! – Yes, even thought it claims to be safe indoors, we always made sure we had plenty of ventilation!PBzeer
- I'd check the average temps for the route for the time of year you are planning, then, just work within a comfort range at whatever pace you feel like. Since you've obviously left a life of schedules and time clocks, why put yourselves back into them?
Can’t thank you enough - My wife and I kept reminding ourselves of this every time we made a decision, we hung out in Charleston an extra week because it was a bit colder than we wanted and not only got better weather, but met a great couple that told us about a great, free, Blues concert running throughout that entire week!Dick Pluta
- My wife and I did this a couple of years ago…We left NJ in early October…
My original response to Dick was “Wow, early October sounds late to me! Then again, what the heck do I know...”
Sure enough, October 11th found us in Cape May, NJ - It was perfect timing for us, a bit cooler than we would have liked, but also a lot less crowded… thanks againAllan C&C Less
Somehow, I missed your post…my apologies.[/
Hopefully you’ve found yourself a new boat and are out there… In the end, we decided to do a 1 year test run before shoving off for parts unknown, so after Florida, we headed back North.
Sorry, missed yours as well…
BTW, as things turned out, we didn’t hit Florida until February 28th
- Other places that I found outstanding places to stop on the way were New York City, Annapolis, MD, Elizabeth City, NC, and of course Beaufort
Well, we know NYC well, so didn’t bother stopping there, but loved Annapolis - enjoyed great fireworks thanks to the Naval Academy and enjoyed the Christmas boat parade! Elizabeth City was definitely worth a stop – great little town, very nice people, free overnight dockage and of course, the “Rose Buddies”. We missed Beaufort, but spent some time in New Bern and really loved the generalSailingdog
Sorry, missed yours as well, but thanks for the advise… as you’ll soon read, all sorts of life events conspired to alter our “plans” and substantially shortened the amount of sailing time… I’m just glad we set aside the year to do it
Anyway, this is quite a bit longer than expected, so I’ll stop here and I’ll come back with more info in the near future…
Again, our sincerest thanks to everyone,
Carlos & Maria