Dennis Howard, a Fairfield Harbour property owner in New Bern, NC offers a few comments regarding cruising the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) easily accessible from his community.
The ICW, sometimes called the “Ditch”, is a navigable inland waterway along the eastern seaboard of the United States consisting mostly of rivers, bays and sounds. Some of the states it passes through are Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. For some, it is a favorite cruising place from their home-port in Fairfield Harbour. According to Dennis, many use the ICW who are bound for the Bahamas while others aim for Chesapeake Bay or Florida ports of call on a regular basis.
Dennis speaks of sailing north through the Dismal Swamp canal (North Carolina/ Virginia border) “where the trees come out and reach the mast”. He speaks of all the beautiful natural wildlife areas. He defines all the ICW views as “unique treasures”.
It’s not unusual for Dennis and his wife, Jackie, to “anchor up” and launch the dinghy for the exploration of some large nearby creeks connected to the waterway. Along the ICW are miles of picturesque tree-lined riverbanks while marina facilities and protective anchorage are readily available. At the end of the day Dennis states you can pull up to a marina or “anchor on the hook”. If anchored, the dinghy is used to get to the charming harbor towns.
Dennis and Jackie enjoy motorsailing through Florida on the ICW and exploring cities down the coast. They stop at many of the waterfront restaurants to enjoy fresh seafood. While cruising down the Florida coast a favorite pastime is to admire the magnificent homes along the vast ICW shoreline.
Dennis and Jackie like the ICW because it doesn’t offer the challenges that the ocean presents. Yet the option always exists, weather permitting, to go offshore and arrive at your destination in a fraction of the time. Dennis indicates the ICW allows you to “see America from a totally different vantage point”. Many of his views are shared by his fellow members in the Fairfield Harbour Yacht Club.
Jackie and Dennis have a Beneteau 473 (47' long, 14' beam, 5'7" draft) named Last Resort. Last Resort was the name of the restaurant in the BVIs where they got married.