Monday, March 14, 2011

Low Bridge, Everybody Down

Readers are invited to AMA. Miles Johnson asks, "What have been your top five favorite places so far?"  Impossible to limit to five. But I DO have a new favorite place:  The Waccamaw River, a meandering, mostly unspoiled river that makes up about 30 miles of the ICW north of Georgetown. Click HERE for photos.

Thought we'd seen every kind of bridge there was.
This is a gondola across the ICW
After an idyllic day on the Waccamaw, the next day was a shock. The ICW cuts north in a narrow, straight,  man-made ditch, with crumbling, scalped, and rubble-strewn shores topped with gaudy, oversized houses of recently construction.

And lots of bridges.  Which gave our noble boat the chance to demonstrate once again, that, as Cap'n Mikey said, back in Georgetown, when he pulled out his wallet and offered to buy her on the spot, "This is the Ultimate Looper Vessel."

Near day's end, we approached the Little River Bridge, a swing bridge with a clearance (when closed) of 7 feet.  Radioed the bridge operator, who said, "Sorry, bridge is out of order.  You'll have to wait. We've called the electrician."

Dark was an hour away . . .  as was the next safe anchorage.  Now, Dragonfly's height, from the waterline to the very top of her scalloped red canopy, is 9 feet.   Cap started scrabbling in his toolbox for a wrench.

The view from the modified stern deck.  I am victorious!  I am man-with-wrench!
The canopy is supported by four sturdy metal poles that bolt onto a yellow, waist-high deck railing.  Twist, twist, twist, twist, and . . . Cap and crew dropped the canopy and its supports from the railing to the deck reducing our height by more than the needed two feet.  Unsnapped some canvas so Cap could gopher his head up through, to see ahead and steer.  And cruised on under.

We may be slow, but we're LOW!  (Click here for MORE photos)

Postscript.  I promised to tell you about meeting Captain Kirk.  Really! We did! He dropped by at lunchtime, as we tied up at Barefoot Landing, a Myrtle Beach "shopping destination" with a short-stay dock for boaters. (After two days of anchoring out we REALLY needed a leg stretch).  Kirk now pilots the local tour boat, Barefoot Princess . . . but he has plans to build a solar-electric runabout, so he can take small groups on expeditions to quietly sneak up on alligators.

(Ooops, Mom wants to know: So, where ARE you!  Today we are in Southport, North Carolina. 

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