Headed to Charleston, South Carolina, the next morning, we considered running outside from Georgetown, but because of an opposing tide and wind in the inlet, we stayed inside, running the 120 miles in nine hours. The Ashley Marina, just outside of downtown Charleston, had transient space between a couple of 100-footers, and we carefully maneuvered the beamy Corvette between them, very aware of the 2-knot river current.
A short taxi ride delivered us to the center of town, packed with a Saturday night crowd of locals, tourists and cruise ship passengers. Charleston is a Southern gem, offering restaurants, shops and entertainment for everyone. Above all, it is a beautiful city, and a walk along The Battery with its antebellum mansions and cobblestone streets is a must.
Our final destination for this leg was Beaufort, South Carolina, 65 miles south. This section of the ICW is attractive and easy to navigate, as it wanders through natural salt marshes known as the Low Country. While some shoaling exists, staying in the middle of the mostly wide channels kept us in deep water.
We left the Corvette at Beaufort’s Downtown Marina and headed home for Thanksgiving. Covering 700 miles in eight days, we didn’t spend much time at any one stopover, but we did get a chance to see what each had to offer. Navigating this half of the ICW is simple and straightforward, and with more time and warmer weather, it could easily qualify as a fun vacation cruise.
The same cannot be said for the rest of the ICW’s tricky route to Stuart, Florida. Look for Part Two of my article, on navigating the more challenging legs of this journey south, in the Cruising Yachtsman section of Yachting’s June issue.