Monday, August 9, 2010

Charleston SC

Saturday August 7 – Monday August 9

We are tied up at the Mega Dock at the Charleston City Marina by 9:30 Saturday morning after an overnight from Hilton Head. This floating concrete dock is a MEGA dock a ¼ mile long. YES a ¼ mile long, and of course we are almost to the end as we were planning to fuel up and at the end is where the diesel pump with the small hose is located. Closer in they have the pumps with the BIG hose's for the REALLY BIG boats to fuel up. So where the 80 gallons we put in seemed like a lot to us the boats further in were putting in between 800 – 2000 gallons of fuel! When we checked in at the marina office we got a pleasant surprise of a “welcome bag” consisting of a cloth carry bag with marina name & logo filled with maps & tour books of the Charleston area. A great idea that probably cost the marina virtually nothing, helped the local businesses, and saved us the trouble of gathering the information ourselves. We hope the idea catches on with more marinas. We think our boat is a pretty decent size, but the walk back down the mega dock with many mega yachts in the 80-100+ ft range has us feeling pretty small. We are feeling pretty tired after the long stormy night off shore, so decided to spend the day cleaning the boat & doing laundry, get caught up on email & rest and plan the next day's sightseeing. After dinner around 9:30 we hear fireworks, go up on deck & get to see a firework show from up river a little ways, not a bad welcome to Charleston. Sunday we catch the marina's shuttle van (yes, a free shuttle van to anywhere downtown, with stops at a supermarket and West Marine, and pickup on demand – we hope this idea catches on with more marinas too!) at 10 am to go to the visitors center to get the bus for the 90 minute tour of the city. We get off at the last stop by the city market to do some walking around in the open air market and shops along the road. They have some neat things, we just don't have any place to put them, still enjoy looking. Find a place for lunch, then walk over to the waterfront park & sit in the shade enjoying the view & breeze. There are several historic houses to visit near by and we wind up at the Victorian style Calhoun Mansion. The owner actually lives in this house when he is in the city. He is still collecting and adding things to the house. It is quite overwhelming with all the antiques and “stuff” the house has. The wood work & architecture are beautiful but a little on the gaudy side with the amount of rarities it has on display. After the tour we walk around some more just enjoying the old streets, find a place with some live music & stop in for a cooling drink. We have been lucky today with a little cloud coverage helping to keep the temperature bearable, Saturday after the gloomy start to the day the sun came out with a vengeance. We find a restaurant for dinner and enjoy a nice meal before getting a cab back to the marina. It is abut 9 pm when we get back and as we are walking back to the boat we meet the owners of the 105 ' mega yacht Champagne Cher. Cher & John are actually from Baytown Texas, this boat of theirs (they have several) has never been to Texas, it is the former Privacy owned by Tiger Woods. They stroll down the the dock with us talking about their travels & ours. They are very nice and are also heading up to the Chesapeake, the boat & 3 member crew by sea them by plane to meet the boat. Monday we are off to do another house tour that our bus tour came with, we go to one only to find out that one is not included so we walk to another one that is. This one more realistic to the time frame of 1800's . Missed our opportunity to go see Middleton Plantation as only one bus going out there & it left early morning & it is too far to get a cab, so we wander the streets and find a nice place for lunch then walk to the grocery store to get some provisions. Call the marina van for a pick up and back to the boat around 3. Time to get things put away and ready for our Tuesday departure to be timed with high tide at 8 am. The tide is about 7 feet, and the outgoing tide will give us a 2-3 kt current pushing us down the river & out the inlet with a speed of 9-10 kts over ground instead of 3-4 kts if the tide was coming in. That will save us a couple of hours of travel time. We will be heading up to the inlet to Georgetown to anchor out overnight. We'll see Georgetown on our way back down the coast in the fall, when we have more time. Will continue the following day up to Bald Head / Cape Fear North Carolina.  Think this is the first time to post a blog from the actual place covered in the blog, but that probably won't happen too often.
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