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cmendoza 12-03-2005 11:13 AM

Slow Cruising South along the ICW
Evening folks.
My wife and I are about to cast off the dock lines and head off... we''ve got no place to go and a lot of time to get there!

Everything I''ve found so far on the ICW tends to be about getting down to FL relatively quickly in the fall.

Perhaps that is the only way to do it, but we would really like to spend some time along the way to enjoy the various areas.

Ideally, we would like to take from 6 months to a year to make the trip from Maine to the Keys... with about a month or so in a few key areas along the way. From there, we''ll be heading to the Caribbean for a year or so, etc., etc., etc.

The most likely start date would be early July... any thoughts on when to leave the NY/NJ area to best accomplish our goals? (actually, we would be starting out from East Dennis, MA)

Or do the weather patterns not allow for such a trip?

Any thoughts and or comments are greatly appreciated.

Best Regards,

Fridge 12-03-2005 11:23 PM

Slow Cruising South along the ICW
There are a couple things that might be helpful. First, Portsmouth/Norfolk, VA is the northernmost area that generally doesn''t freeze in winter so be sure and get south of that zone by winter months. Watch depths as there are MANY uncharted shallow areas - stay center of channel whenever possible. 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. Take care after any rainfall - things you wouldn''t believe wash into the "ditch". Entire trees floating (or, sometimes submerged)are not uncommon. Traffic on the "ditch" can be interesting - some boaters understand courtesy and protocol and others just don''t - be watchful. Be ever watchful for crab pots - there is no rhime or reason to their placement and sometimes they can be found very close to the navigational channel. Other than that - enjoy the trip - but honestly, 6 months on the ICW may come to seem like a lifetime.

cmendoza 12-05-2005 04:56 AM

Slow Cruising South along the ICW
Thanks Fridge... appreciate the feedback.

You''re probably right; 6 months will probably seem like a lifetime ;-)

We''ll be spending the next few months running through several sample itineraries until we hit one that seems to work for us... we''ll see.

Thank you.

DavidCReno 12-05-2005 06:37 PM

Slow Cruising South along the ICW
A few years ago my wife and I left northern Long Island for the Bahamas. We left Nov 1, which was way to late. We took a month or two go get down to FL and froze! You definitely want to be south of Vero Beach, FL before it starts getting cold. We took our time, but the longest we stayed anywhere was a little over a week. From Anapolis you may want to jump on the express bus to DC and do some sightseeing. Spending a month in one place would probably make you get a little impatient to move on. 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. Feel free to email me with any specific questions: dcreno(at)gmail(dot)com

Nereus32 12-12-2005 06:09 AM

Slow Cruising South along the ICW
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.

cmendoza 12-17-2005 06:00 PM

Slow Cruising South along the ICW
Thanks Nereus32... appreciate the tip!

starcresttoo 12-17-2005 06:22 PM

Slow Cruising South along the ICW
if you leave in july you should be here in south fla just in time for hurricane season.and its been a real active one here.even so those storms make their way up the coast that time of what I did...take up bowling.there are no harbormastor liveaboard harraslements and there are no registration or insurance requirements.or theres also that skydiving thing...

PBzeer 12-26-2005 11:42 AM

Slow Cruising South along the ICW
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 whateve pace you feel like. Since you''ve obviously left a life of schedules and time clocks, why put yourselves back into them?

Fair winds,

cmendoza 01-12-2006 12:48 PM

Slow Cruising South along the ICW
Thanks John... incredibly obvious suggestion, why the heck didn''t I think of that!

Just in case that comes across as sarcastic, it''s not... Seriously, Thank you!

Dick Pluta 02-25-2006 01:39 AM

My wife and I did this a couple of years ago. You have to balance your departure between the risk of hurricanes and the risk of winter. We left NJ in early October and the word we got from the locals on the way was that we were just before most of the snowbirds. We did kind of a forced march in in a month at 50 to 80 miles a day. That was way too short. I'd double it if we do it again but six months sems like way too long.

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