Reminiscences of the Intracoastal Waterway

In the spring of 2004, my brother and I bought a sailboat, which we christened Audentes. We spent several weeks patching fiberglass on the hull, laying on gallons of hyper-expensive paint, and doing our grocery shopping at Walmart while we lived in a squalid, dusty boatyard. After launching, we took a short shakeout sail to the Bahamas with our parents, then we sailed north through the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway.

Intracoastal waterway


Though we were forced to motor slowly for much of the time, the ICW proved to be thoroughly enjoyable. We crept up the coast through protected channels, passing through towns like Belhaven, Norfolk and Elizabeth City while listening to the music of Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan on the ship’s speakers. Locals waved lazily from the shore as they enjoyed the warm evenings, and we’d drop anchor right in the river, grilling up burgers or cooking baked beans before settling in for the night. There were deer and rabbits on the shore, dolphins and fish in the river, birds and mosquitoes in the sky.

There were obvious drawbacks like the vicious insects buzzing around our heads, the floating logs in the Dismal Swamp Canal, and running out of gas in the Chesapeake Bay, but it was a wonderful leg of the trip. I’d like to go back sometime, and I’d recommend the same to anyone else.