Cruising the ICW - Virginia and North Carolina

After our first ICW anchorage at Hospital Point, in Norfolk, VA, we continued our journey towards North Carolina, via the ICW (Intracoastal Waterway, connecting rivers and bays along the US East Coast, creating a water "highway" for boats to follow, without going out into the open ocean).

Cruising down the ICW means mostly motoring, with very few opportunities to sail, due to the narrow margins of the channel. One small jerk of the boat and we could be stuck in the mud. One person must be steering at all times (since we do not have an autopilot, one person is always at the helm, anyway). However, both Joey and Sophie are perfectly capable of following the GPS and the channel markers. Imagine allowing the kids to drive, so you can grab a snack, or use the bathroom - pretty cool!

Our fastest motoring speed is around 5.5NM per hour, which is fairly close to miles/hour. At around 5-6 mph (8-10km/h), approximately, there is plenty of time to take in the scenery around us, move a bit to the side, to be passed by a faster motor vessel, or rubber-neck that super cool bridge/bird/house along the way. That slow speed means less windy cruising during cold November in Virginia! It was very cold...but there were absolutely no bugs! 

Compare that to 275gal oil tank to heat around 4000 sq.ft.

During our preparation for the trip, I packed a huge duffle bag with our thickest, warmest winter jackets. There were some comments, as usual, but everyone wore those jackets over and over again! Ha!

The waters of the narrow ICW channels are very still and the boat barely rocks, making cooking, doing dishes, eating and going to the bathroom a breeze! Our kitchen, called "galley" on a boat, has a gas stove/oven, which is placed on hinges and swings countering the motion of the boat. It is pretty wild to boil water while trying not to fall over, and yet the water pot remains perfectly level (that happens during our open ocean passages).
On the other hand, motoring means a noisy ride all the time. On a third hand, motoring means all of our electronic devices can be in use, especially the refrigerator! 

There are so many completely new experiences for all of us, during this adventure. 

ICW Highlight 1: Passing under a fixed bridge - do we know how tall our mast is? 

ICW Highlight 2: Passing through a moving bridge - we need to use the radio, how do we hail the bridge and not sound like tourists?
That was such an amazing feeling, almost like living on the "upside down" of the regular world!

The "right"-side-up

ICW Highlight 3: Tying up in a lock - does the water go up, or down; did we leave enough slack on the lines? Did I remember to film this? I did, stay tuned for our videos!

ICW Highlight 4: We are still on the Alligator River, NC, and it is getting dark! How will we see the markers at night (wait, there are no markers!!!)? Will the alligators come? 

Alligator River, North Carolina
Thank you for following, please do check for updates. If I did it correctly, you should be able to subscribe for updates now. The comment section should be up and running as well. Also, do check Sophie's teen perspective on her page "Soapie's Spikes"; it is spelled checked, but not edited. We will have some videos as well, soon! 


  1. This is terrific. Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful adventure with us. Did you have Thanksgiving on the boat?

    1. The “response” section finally works! We spent Thanksgiving moving cars between marinas, and we had dinner at Cracker Barrel. It was an unusual celebration, but we had and have much to be thankful for!

  2. Sounds like a fun time and lots of family time!! I love Sophie's picture she looks just like a teenage girl on the boat with her brothers. So many lifetime memories!!

  3. Great experience for you guys and the kids. I will show this diary to Yuli I am sure he will envy his cousins :) Where are you planning to be for Christmas? Would you get as far as Florida? We will be in Cape Coral 23rd till Jan 5th. Kisses to all!

    1. Oh, we will be in New Port Richey around Christmas, visiting family. That's about 2.5h away, we have to make sure we meet this time! Super, aide, do skoro vizdane!


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