Sailing the Waccamaw River

Once past the shallows and the rocks of Myrtle Beach, you will notice the concentration of houses dropping as the number of trees increases to take their spaces. The next thing you will notice is the gradual deepening of the water beneath you.

Going through Myrtle Beach, we had around 5 feet under us in the deep parts of the channel, and less than a foot in the skinny sections. All of a sudden, 8 feet under the keel will seem normal, then it increases to 14 feet, then 20 feet! All of this depth will make you feel spoiled as you no longer need to worry about running into a shoal in the middle of the channel!

This is just the beginning! As you keep going, the houses will completely stop and you will be surrounded by trees in every direction. As night befalls you, the sounds of the wildlife will come from the trees. Frogs, crickets, owls, and some other sounds that I am not familiar with echo in the distance!

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The water in the Waccamaw is not very pretty to look at, as it ranges from black when there is no rainfall to light brown following a strong rain. The beauty comes from the stillness of the water. Since the trees are so tall and right up to the waters edge, there is practically no wind on the surface of the river. This creates a mirror image of the trees and the sky everywhere you look!

Since the river itself seems to snake around, wind seems to be funneled into it, making it either blow on your bow or on your stern. When the wind is on your bow, why not take a day off from sailing and relax at anchor while you wait for the winds to shift? When the winds are at your stern, sailing the river is effortless and easy.

The other wonderful aspect of the river is it flows to Georgetown with some potent force! When the tide is going, you can expect a few knots of push from the current! This coupled with a tail wind will make it easy to cover the miles as you bask at the beauty of the river. 

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As you near Georgetown, the trees begin to thin as the remnants of rice fields line the shores. Rice used to be a major crop in this area until a hurricane blew saltwater onto the fields, destroying the grounds usefulness for rice. The rice fields are now covered in tall grasses but the trees are slowly creeping back into the vast acres of cleared land. 

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