Making a trip through the ICW
I am making a voyage from Clear Lake TX to Virginia via the ICW along the gulf coast and then up the East coast to Virginia. I will be by myself on a 30 ft Dufour. My Plan is to Motor most of the way because I don't want to spend several hours jumping outside to sail a few hours then jump back inside to anchor for the night. Any information on good spots to tie up for the night along this route will be very helpful. Additionally I will be trying to leave the Tx. area around the 20th of April. Is this a good time of year to make this trip. I have just spent the last few months down in St. Marten and I am basically just try to get to the east the safest and fastest way without having to ship the boat again.
Guide to start
Found this guide very accurate & helpful when venturing in the ditch. It will help with anchoring, fuel, marina, etc info too.......Mile By Mile notes.........and most importantly bridges.:cool:
Intracoastal Waterway: Cockpit Cruising Handbook by Bill Moeller $17.96 - (800) 596-7245
Dave... Suggest you get a copy of Skipper Bob's guide to anchorages along the ICW and also perhaps his ICW marina guide. The first also gives you bridge and shaoling info. Skipper Bob
Others will be better than I can be on advice for the gulf but there is fairly extensive info on the East Cost portion over on the ICW thread under cruising. Take a look and then ask any additional questions you have.
EDIT... Also check out this online guide to ICW marinas...Intracoastal Waterway Facilities Guide
Once you leave Galveston Bay, anchorages and facilities are few and far between until Mile WHL 160 (Shell Morgan Landing at Intracoastal City). You have a 60 mile run from the Bay to the first anchorage (High Island Bridge is reported to be usable, but I went aground there with 4 1/2' draft) is at the Taylor Outfall Canal WHL 290. I would suggest you motor down the bay, so as to make Stingaree Marina (WHL 331) for your first night. That lets you make the Canal in daylight. From there, you can make the Calciseau Locks the next day, anchoring just south of the turn into the locks. That leaves you a days run to the Mermetau River, turning in on the north side to a wide cove. If weather is bad, there is an oxbow just off to starboard where you can anchor. From there, another's day run to Shell Morgan Landing. Then you have to decide on either a long 60 mile run to Morgan City, or a short day to Cypermort Point, then on to Morgan City the next day. Once to Morgan City, you are within a days run of everything else along the way.
Debris in the water can be an issue this time of year due to flooding, and you should check ahead to see if the Harvey Locks have reopened. Otherwise, you have to go upriver on the Mississippi to go into New Orleans. That's as far as my knowledge of the Ditch goes heading East.
I would be sure to carry extra fuel, and be aware, if you go up to Lake Charles, the Bridge Point Marina does not accept credit cards.
Just as an aside, I tried the trip in November, and got to the Mermetau River and decided to come back. I'll be going across the Gulf in a couple of weeks instead of the Ditch.
Thought I would mention for everyone else reading this post that has not made the trip. Get a copy of Skipper Bob's Anchorages and check for updates on the ICW @: Skipper Bob
This site has accurate info on bridges: Bridge Restrictions | Intracoastal Waterway Facilities Guide
Also, the stretch between St. Mile 240 to 233 has several spots that are 6'5" at full flood. In some of those places the channel is about 25'-30' wide (additional nuns have been added) We completed that stretch 2 days ago and were lucky to have do it at high tide. For those moving North, stay in Mile Hammock Bay until 1.5 hours prior to high tide, then head north. It takes about one hour to get to Onslow Beach Bridge (opens on the hour and on the half hour), then the fun begins!!!!!
Hope that everyone has a safe trip.
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