Photo Essay: The ICW in review

in Intracoastal Waterway / Life at Sea / Photo Stories
north carolina sunset icw sailing

The Intracoastal Waterway (ICW), for those of you who aren’t familiar with it, is a 3000-mile waterway system that runs the length of the eastern United States along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It’s partially made up of natural rivers, inlets and creeks and where natural waterways didn’t exist, artificial canals and locks were dug, providing a way for boats to pass from Canada to Florida without ever having to go out onto the ocean.

There are some challenges that accompany traveling on the ICW in a keelboat, though, which may include running aground in low tide (some channels are only 5 feet), dealing with restricted bridge openings, shoaling in unexpected places and sketchy anchorage entrances. But it’s a unique experience to see the geography change as drastically as it does between New York and Florida.

And though it’s difficult to completely capture the experience of traveling 1500 miles on the ICW, hopefully this photo essay will give you a little insight into what the journey looked like for us.

turf to surf hideaway sailing blog

After leaving Cape May in October, the temperature dropped drastically.

virginia icw sailing

Often we’d meet and chat with other boaters traveling south.

dismal swamp icw

The Dismal Swamp scenery was interesting for…oh…the first hour. Then it didn’t change for three days.

beaufort north carolina icw

Beaufort, North Carolina is one of the cutest ports along the ICW to anchor in.

icw bridge turf to surf

We ran aground in low tide and missed the bridge opening. So we had no choice but to anchor here and wait…

north carolina sunset icw sailing

…but, luckily, this sunset was our consolation

coast guard north carolina icw

In NC, you’re pretty likely to get boarded by the Coast Guard. Luckily, they’re friendly.

turf to surf sailing icw

Desperate times call for desperate measures…like an umbrella. Maybe Florida will be warmer?

hideaway sailboat rainbow

A rainbow over Hideaway in St. Augustine is a sure sign of good things to come.

florida icw bridges sailing blog

Sometimes we just had to open the throttle to eke through those bridges in time.

vero beach dolphins sailing blog

I’ll never get tired of seeing dolphins. Ever.

hideaway sailing florida icw

Now THIS is more like it! Hello, Florida!

turf to surf fort lauderdale icw

It’s Horsnail. Ryan Horsnail. 007.

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  • Mid-Life Cruising! January 17, 2013, 10:13 am

    Love the story told in pictures! I bet ya’ll are glad to rid yourselves of those heavy coats. That looked too cold!

    Looks like Florida is treating ya’ll well, and the homes in Boca Raton look amazing! Your recent post about all those bridges … wow!

    We will NEVER get tired of dolphins either … especially since we’ve yet to experience them from our own bow. Can’t wait!

    Excited for ya’ll!

    • Tasha January 17, 2013, 1:03 pm

      Thank you! Yes, we’re thrilled to be warm and sun-kissed! Our engine gave us problems on the way to Bimini so we’re back to Fort Lauderdale, but I can’t complain too much because at least it’s sunny! We’ll get to the Bahamas eventually. Last night just wasn’t our time… 🙂

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