Tuesday, October 23, 2012

the last leg

I'm way ahead on planning for next spring's part four of the Delmarva circumnavigation.  I wish I could say this is because of diligence on my part, but really it is only because of some good information passed on by a couple of friends.

We would like to sail outside on the ocean from Chincoteague to Wachapreague Inlet, and then most likely outside again from Wachapreague Inlet to Sand Shoal Inlet.  But weather may dictate that we go inside of the barrier islands.  

Should we have to go inside the barrier islands we would have to pass beneath a fixed bridge on the causeway to Wallops Island. Bridges being an issue on this last trip, I had to wonder (worry) about the clearance for the causeway bridge.  Bill solved this quickly with a mention of Activecaptain.com, an interactive cruising guide with information from local sailors.  It took only a minute to look up the bridge in question, finding that it will not be an issue with a clearance of 40 feet.  Thanks Bill for the tip.

Should we go outside, there is the question of the inlets.  These are barrier island inlets with constantly shifting shoals.  Drew, who has quite a bit of experience sailing the Delmarva Peninsula, provided the information below.

"I can assure that Ocean City has the worst tides of the DELMARVA inlets your track considers. Wachapreague and Sand Shoal are both about 2 knots at peak, without the whirlpools, eddies, and foul wave patterns."

"Wachapreague has an unmarked north channel between the sandbar island and shore that is used by the locals, generally smoother and deeper than the marked channel. About 15 feet deep this August."

"I would aim for Sand shoal at slack high tide if possible; even with your draft, it would be more plesant. Make certain you have time to explore Cobb island; eye candy for the wildlife photographer. But watch the access rules (beach nesting)."

Thanks, Drew, for the information.  I am very happy to hear that these inlets won't have the rough waters of the Ocean City and Indian River Inlets.

We've got several months until this next trip, but I'm glad to have some of the basic information here in the blog (which serves as my notebook).  Thanks again Bill and Drew.



Bill said...

Hey, great - glad I could be of some help even in a small way.

Mike said...

Steve, I vacation and fish at Gargathy inlet almost every year, a few years back a storm washed the beach into the intercoastal just south of Gargathy inlet. At low tide it is dry, at high, I don't think it is passable. Be prepared to go outside that area. Tides through Garagathy inlet are very fast I would only attempt at slack water or within 30 min. Lots of eddies and standing waves. I missed your passage by tolchester on your way north, love following your sailing blog.