ICW 11 – Karma’s a B*tch…


Salient points first…

Day 5 – Hilton Head Island, SC to Hilton Head Island, SC, 0 miles, zero hours (down day)
Day 6 – Hilton Head Island, SC to McClellanville, SC, 128.5 miles, 8 hours (and ten minutes, but who’s counting?)

Record distance day – it was a big push because this part of the ICW is rather thin in the fuel / marina front. Fortunately Amy found us a one-stop-shopping deal – Leland Oil Company. Just off the ICW in Jeremy Creek, Leland is the home to a shrimper fleet and is about as 180 degrees as you can get from Hilton Head. Both places are great – just really different. We’ve some video and pics below of where we are tonight, but before those, I want to talk about today’s post title – Karma’s a B*tch…

Case in point. This morning we were heading north out of Hilton Head, coming around a bend at mile marker 535, with Ladies Island swing bridge (a 30 foot clearance) about a mile ahead. Also ahead of us was a tug pushing a crane barge. I hailed her on VHF for a pass – though we were content to wait until the tug and her load was through the bridge. So I hailed on channel 16 – nothing. Hailed again, again, again and again. Tried channel 13 – nothing. Tried 16 again, nothing. By now we had eyes on the tug’s captain. He was either blatantly ignoring our call or one of our radios was clearly not working. I called out a radio check and immediately got a response from some obliging captain – loud and clear (our radio had damn well better work, it was brand new, as was our main antenna). Okay – so the bridge was coming up, we were politely stuck behind a tug and crane barge doing 4 knots. I switch to channel 9, which is the bridge channel, figuring the tug had to call the bridge at some point for an opening, as it was way too tall to pass through without. And sure enough, loud and clear, he hailed the bridge and requested an opening. He had been ignoring us. What in the hell?! Whatever. I saw the way come off the tug and took the opportunity to pass. And here’s where karma came into play. The bridge was swinging open, traffic lined up on both side of the roadway, and we watched the tug push forward, then rapidly slew sideways. I had the radio still on channel 9 and heard him call the bridge to cancel the opening – he had run over a buoy and was hung up on it. Dead in the water.

Karma. It’s a…


Beyond that it was a good day – the usual slow zones, the less-than-one-foot-under-the-keel undredged stress patches, the incessant heat and the equally incessant biting flies (what we call ‘greenheads’ though when you call them that to the locals you get blank stares and are asked if you’re talking about fish. No dammit – I’m talking about those evil bugs from hell that take out great honking chunks of skin with each bite. Greenheads! Oh – cowflies? Sure, those things). Off on a tangent again, aren’t I…

Fine. Reset…


As I was saying, beyond that it was a good (hot and buggy) day. At the end of which we landed in McClellanville, SC at Leland Oil – a working shrimpers dock masquerading as fuel dock and transient haven, though we are the only ones here – but it’s low season. We’re surrounded by working boats and apparently the entire town hangs out under the tree off the pier. I very much recommend this as a place to stop for other ICW travelers. We took the dink off and tooled around the port for a bit – here’s what we saw…



(What a great example of the different world we found ourselves in – wrecked trawlers in front yards)

And dogs! Earlier we ran past a boat absolutely filled with dogs – overloaded with them – and no humans in sight. Then when we docked for the night who motored past us but the same boat – still filled with dogs, but this time with humans as well. Bella, this bit is for you!


That’s about it – we have Ray LaMontagne radio on Pandora playing through the boat, Amy’s drawing a thin green line through North Carolina and muttering to herself. I think I had better ask what’s in store…

Oh – but before I go, I wanted to share a clip of the interaction between captains for a passing. I know something similar to this was extremely helpful to us, so we want to pass it forward. So here it is…

Till we finally enter into North Carolina


<– Back to ICW 10


5 Comments on “ICW 11 – Karma’s a B*tch…

  1. Pingback: ICW 10 – Rubbing Elbows | john h hanzl

  2. Pingback: ICW 12 – Singing in the Rain | john h hanzl

  3. Hey John! There is fuel aplenty between Hilton Head and Little River, SC. Cheapest on HHI is Windmill Harbor, Then there is Beaufort Downtown Docks near Lady’s Island bridge. After that you can deviate to Dataw Island Marina, a good place to hang out, too, as is Edisto Marina. Charleston is a good fueling and provisioning place. You found Leland’s in Mc’ville..Georgetown is a great stop before Myrtle Beach. Then after Little River is Southport, NC, or Bald Head Island. If you stayed inside, your fuel would have taken you a long way because of all the go slow spots. Utsch’s in Cape May was not very pleasant. Besides the water having a diesel finish to it, our bow was aground during the night, our electric post breakers tripped regularly, and the place was a dump. I let “Active Captain” know it. Utsch’s didn’t deserve “First Choice.” Canyon Club across the way is marvelous.


    • Hey Joe – thanks for the great info. We’re now up in Long Island Sound area and are past those areas now, which is sort of sad, as we’ve been having a great time. Yeah, I noticed the sheen on the surface at Utsch’s! I also marveled at the Bow First Only signs and figured that there wasn’t much water along the wall. Can’t believe your bow was grounded, though based on the one foot under the keel depth we were getting after “hanging a right at red ’16’ and staying 30 feet off the seawall until the entrance” I’m not surprised… I hope to take advantage of your suggestions sometime in the future.


  4. Pingback: ICW 26 – Wrapping It All Up | john h hanzl (author)

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