Sunday, November 7, 2010

South Carolina

Friday October 29 – Sunday November 7

We are away from our dock in Bald Head at 5 AM Friday morning, there was one very tense moment getting out through the very narrow (50 ft wide) marina entrance. We were leaving at nearly low tide to catch the outgoing tide in the inlet channel. We knew there was going to be a strong outgoing current combined with a North wind that was going to push the bow of the boat south (left) just as we exited the entrance, so we went to max speed to punch through into the clear channel before the wind and tide pushed us south. Everything went to plan, the bow of the boat just cleared the entrance bulkheads, and WE RAN AGROUND in the inlet. NOT GOOD. The bow of the boat promptly went south with the wind and tide and we were crosswise in the inlet. In seconds. Steve quickly reversed, and fortunately we backed off the shoal right away, but the wind and tide were too strong to bring the bow back north with the bow thruster, so we were backing crosswise in the inlet channel, threatening to bang both the bow and stern into the rocks or bulkhead on either side. Just a few feet from disaster on either side, Steve slammed the boat into forward gear at max speed, the bow went north, stern south, and we blasted through the inlet again just a few feet south of where we went aground a few minutes before. That was an adrenaline moment, and we were both shaking for the next hour while it burned off. Our traveling buddies on Wild Thing were on a dock further into the marina and couldn't leave since they were in the mud. They will wait for the tide to come in and take the ICW route down to Georgetown. We have an easy passage out the jetties into the ocean, and as we turn south we are triple reefed in both sails doing 8.5 – 9.5 knots in 20-25 knot winds with 4 foot following seas. Watch the sun rise and enjoy a beautiful day on the water with several birds joining us for part of the trip to rest. A yellow breasted bird who was so exhausted kept trying to fly and would get blown back. I was wishing him to just stay and rest until we got closer to shore but he kept flying off. After 4-5 tries he did not make it back to the boat even though we could see him trying, not sure of his fate. The other bird was glad to stay put and made himself at home even flying down below for a minute before I could get him back up on deck. By 2 we are turning into the channel leading to Winyah bay. Pass by the place we anchored at on the way north, but this time we are continuing up the bay to Georgetown. By 4 as we go up the Sampit River to Georgetown the place we were going to try to anchor is pretty crowded and shallow so after a few attempts to find a good spot we give up and go to Harborwalk Marina. We take a walk through town between 5-6 and the town is doing a city Halloween night out, so the sidewalks are filled with kids in costume along with a few adults. Back at the marina Steve talks to another boat with the same mast height we have that had come down the ICW route & the last bridge before Georgetown had all the wind instruments knocked off as he went under the bridge. Glad we took the outside route! Saturday we talk to Wild Thing and they let us know that they should get there by noon, we tell them about the anchoring problems and about a free dock that they can tie up to for the day. Once they are tied up we move out of our marina, that wants to charge us extra by the hour to stay past noon, and raft up to them. Go to lunch then Jan & I go check out the shops. Back to the boats and we leave Georgetown to go to the anchorage just off the ICW & inlet form the ocean to be ready for our Sunday morning departures. Steve & I are underway by 7:30 doing another jog offshore while Wild Thing leaves at 9 to go down the ICW where we will both meet up in Charleston at the end of the day. Wild Thing is just ahead of us as we travel in the jetties fighting the current. Have trouble setting the hook, but finally get anchored in the Ashley River across from the Mega Dock & City Marina we stayed out on our way up that is now full with boats moving south. Dinner on Wild Thing. On Monday morning we go over to the Charleston Maritime Marina over in the Cooper River--better rate and closer to the downtown area. After docking & lunch we get to see a cruise ship come in and dock just up from our marina. Steve & George do boat work and Jan & I head into town to see the shops. Charleston has a lot to see & do and many great restaurants to choose from. Monday morning we wondered why our boats were rocking so much in the marina, only to see 2 car carriers (Ro-Ro's) came in & were unloading just down the way. Monday night we dine at the rooftop restaurant of the Market Pavilion Hotel looking out at the cruise ship all lighted up and ready for their evening departure. Jan & George are celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary. Tuesday a trip across the river to visit the aircraft carrier Yorktown. I come back early as junior high & high school best friend Nancy & her husband are driving down from Charlotte NC to visit. We have kept in touch through the years but our last visit was in 1999. We have a great time catching up and go to Hymans for dinner. They spend the night on board and the next day Nancy & I hit the open air market as they are opening. After lunch they leave for the drive back home. This marina has A free washer & dryer (one each) so we are taking advantage throwing in a load whenever we can. In the evening we walk to King street to have dinner at a great Thai restaurant called Basil. Thursday Jan & George are leaving for the 2 day trip down the ICW to Hilton Head where we will meet them after our overnight trip Friday night. Friday afternoon we leave a little earlier then we wanted but the marina has another boat coming into to take our slip. We are under way by 1, 4 hours earlier than needed but we are planing a slow ride down to arrive at sunrise. Well the predicted 10-15 knot winds turns out to be 20-30 making the 50° feel like 30°as we beat into 2-4 foot waves. We are more then triple reefed trying to keep our speed down to time our arrival to sunrise so it is a long cold, bouncy night. We are anchored in Broad Creek by Palmetto marina where we stayed on the way north by 9 am. Unlike on our way north, there will be no bike rides along the beach as it is too cold & windy! Our friends on Wild Thing spent Friday night at the marina but now come out to anchor nearby as we make plans to keep going south to warmer weather. We go in by dinghy all bundled up to have dinner. Sunday we plan to go off shore down to St. Catherine’s Island, but the weather prediction is for a high of 60°, winds 20-25, and 6-8 foot waves so as with many boating plans they change and we take the ICW route. Georgia here we come.

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