The dreaded "Rock Pile"

There is a section of the ICW through Myrtle Beach called the Rock Pile for a very good reason. More on this later.

We pulled out from Georgetown early and headed down to join the ICW where we ran into our old dock mate from LGYC. Yes it was Dr. Rod and Jimmy aboard “Hindsight” coming from another marina. We chatted briefly by radio and they were gone. You see they do not know the meaning of smelling the roses and run up on plane as much as possible. I told you this trip comprises different strokes for different folks. Anyway it was good to get a glimpse of them. We are both eventually headed for the same home port.

Today was the day I wish Gabriela and William could have experienced. It was cold and clear and the scenery completely changed from vast grassy marshes to close-in cypress swamps. For natural beauty it was likely the best we will ever see though only birds were visible as the cold must be keeping other animals bedded down.

As we neared Myrtle Beach the houses were getting bigger and bigger. In fact I believe we saw the one largest single dwelling I have ever seen other than the Biltmore House. It was so expansive that I never could get the entire house in one frame.

Obviously golf is king in this area. We passed by many fine courses but the one that was most spectacular had a sky lift across the ICW at least 100 feet high where cable cars carried foursomes from one part of the course to another with their golf bags in holders on the outside of the car. Now I have seen it all.

Well at last we came to the section we had been dreading. I will quote from our guidebook. “CAUTION: The area between G “15A” (SM 350.2) and G “21A” (353.0) at North Myrtle Beach is known as the Rock Pile. There is not enough room to safely pass a barge in this narrow region. Most tug captains call on VHF 16 or VHF 13 prior to entering the Rock Pile to determine if there is oncoming traffic. Cruisers should do the same and monitor radio traffic closely. Stick to the middle of the channel as much as possible and use extreme caution and care in passing or meeting situations.”

If that is not enough to increase your pucker factor then you should see those rocks on each side as you glide through. Luckily for us the wind had settled just long enough for us to get through and we met no boats.

As we came to our night’s destination, Dock Holiday’s Marina, we had decided to take on fuel. The current was running swiftly and the wind began gusting. We missed the first attempt to make the fuel dock because wind and current hit hard. There was a huge party boat in front and rental seadoos behind so we moved out and tried again. This time as we approached the wind started gusting close to 25 mph and I realized that even if we made it in we might not be able to get back off so I told Jan to abort and radioed the dockhand that we were skipping the fuel for now and going to our slip. It was in a protected area and had no current but the wind was still a problem. We hit a piling but that is what they were put there for and soon we were tied up safely.

After settling the boat in I checked the new battery and the charger. All is fine so our problem must have been that battery. I am guessing an internal short caused by a deteriorating plate was causing the charger to constantly cook it until it was boiling hot. I still am giving thanks that I decided to check that thing yesterday.

We walked to the West Marine which was closed and to Food Lion to get a few items. Then dinner at Carraba’s where we ate the nicest dinner and were served by Toni who gave top rate service. I was so impressed that I spoke to the owner. We discovered it was only her fourth day at work. She is raising a beautiful daughter who loves manatees so Jan sent her the video of me shaking flippers with the big manatee off our swim platform. A nice end to a tedious day.