7 December 2021: My Favorite Thing About the ICW


7 December 2021

Departure point

Beaufort, SC, USA

arrival point

Savannah, GA, USA

distance (NM)

43 NM

Cumulative Mileage (NM)

1,185 NM

Crew on Board


Skipper, first mate, chef, entertainment and more; I guess that is solo sailing for you!



Calm, using the occassional breeze to move along but otherwise still and relaxing (other than the hum of the engine)


Grey and overcast


Neutral, not warm and not cold


Dry, thank goodness!


How many days can my captains log be the same thing over and over: started engine, motored as long as I could to the furthest anchorage while still making it in daylight hours, avoiding boats, pulling the sails in and out, etc.  

Today my focus (aside from general operation of a vessel) was trying to capture on video one of my favorite things about the Intracoastal Waterway that I have noticed since Virginia.  I may have only been partially successful as I got a couple of photos but I am still not satisfied that I have video yet to express how magical the bird life is on the ICW.  Specifically, the Pelicans!

I am absolutely mesmerized by them. 

Watching them soar along the water, so close that if they stuck out a ‘toe’ they would skim the water.   And they always seem to do this when backlit by a beautiful sunset, around the bow of the boat and behind the sail, on calm days when you can perfectly see their reflection on the water as they glide and more.  Then you get to watch them swooping higher just to sharply turn and barrel at the water full tilt after a fish.   Then seeing them toss their head back and do what looks like swallowing their catch whole!   

There is only one downside to these beautiful creatures that they have in common with the dolphins who say hello to the boat: they are incredibly camera shy.  

If you have the camera out they are nowhere to be seen.  If you think you will have time to reach for the camera, even if you are on alert for them all day and ready to leap at a moments notice (well, after a one second check of the chart/autopilot/boat traffic situation) by the time you are camera on and pointed the moment is over.   To the point where I had taken to facing sort of sideways while at the helm.   This let me steer and adjust autopilot and watch the charts and traffic but keep an eye out for any distant pelicans.   Even if they seem stationary, I make sure the boat is set and then get in position and hit record.  

The result is a lot of videos of stationary pelicans.  The only other result is a lot of videos of a pelican just starting into one of its moves but it is either too far away or took so long to move that I feel obligated to not keep waiting and go check the autopilot and charts again and give up on my video.  SO MANY SHOTS SO CLOSE TO WHAT I WANT!  

What I really need is an entire evening to spend at sunset in the dinghy, engine off waiting and watching with my camera.   But with the to do list so long for Florida before I have to leave the USA will I have time? 

Even though the above main photo and this one here are all I have to show for weeks of effort, I am still continuing to try when I can!  

Now as a person who definitely does not consider themselves a bird aficionado, it is surprising to me that this has captivated my attention.   But THAT is how beautiful and plentiful they are.  They truly make my day and surprise me, a great break in the monotony of motoring every bloody day for weeks on end.   The only other inclination that I have an interest in birds is the desire I have to see flamingoes in person (stay tuned as I WILL see them this time around in the Bahamas) and my love of the movie ‘The Big Year’ with Owen Wilson, Jack Black and Steve Martin.   If you have not seen it, check it out – though in all honesty, it wasn’t the birds that caught me it was the cute story line full of feel good Steve Martin style humor and the cute life lessons and food for though.   But it is also about birds. 

How much more can I say about birds.   I think I am reaching my limit!


“Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

 – Robert Frost

4 Responses

  1. Fishing on a beach on South Strady, I found the perfect way to get close to them (wanted or not) is to feed them some of your luncheon meat from your sandwiches…you will never have to try and get close again, they come to you and are definitely not shy. Never tried it with the pelicans in Florida, but I am sure they are all the same. Maybe worth a try when you are not so pressed for time ;)


      1. Although I have not been, I am most positive that in the Bahamas, there is much more interesting to see then pelicans! 😉
        Enjoy the well earned warmth!

        1. You are correct! Busy catching up on captains logs and want to make that first YouTube video. Been prepping to do some boat projects! Been running from the weather a bit but there is a light at the end of the tunnel for some fun soon!

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