Saturday, May 13, 2017

Southern South Carolina

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Bright and early, we left Isle of Hope marina, and shortly afterwards said goodby to Georgia and entered South Carolina.  Some time afterwards, we were passed by Jim and Louise, on their way to a different anchorage than us.

We had planned to stop just before Beaufort (pronounced BEW-fort) SC at Port Royal Landing Marina for gas and a pumpout because marinas are scarce along the next part of the ICW.  But when we got there, we were told that their pumpout AND fuel dock were out of service!  Not critical yet, but it left me uneasy as we moved on.

We passed by BEW-fort, and, lo and behold, there at the municipal docks were the Nina and Pinta replicas we had docked  next to at Vero Beach Florida!  We were playing leap-frog with them, just like we do with so many other cruising boats!  Except that they had to go "outside" on every leg because they're too tall to fit under the ICW's 65ft bridges!  Yet, still we meet.

Nina and Pinta at Beaufort, SC

Just past BEW-fort, we turned up Factory Creek to anchor for the night.  On the way in, we found that Jim & Louise had made better time than they had expected, and had pushed on past their planned anchorage to Factory Creek too.

We had to anchor in deeper water than I liked ( at high tide it would be 18 ft), so we let out enough rode to have good scope, and for the first time, rigged a kellet on our anchor line using a 10 lb mushroom dinghy anchor as a weight.  Hopefully this would keep us from wrapping our anchor line around the prop!  I do NOT want a repeat of that experience!

After we were settled in, we invited Jim & Louise over for dinner, and grilled steaks on the Magma.  We had a delightful evening with them.

Later, Joanie sent an e-mail to our part-time crewmember Bill, telling him that we would be in Charleston in a couple of days, and half-jokingly invited him and Lisa to come down again and join us.  He replied that by pure chance, Lisa had the next week off, and they were looking for a short trip to do!  So, he said that they would drive down to Charleston early Tuesday and join us in town for a few days!  We couldn't have planned this any better if we had tried!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Apparently, the kellet worked,  as the line stayed free of the prop and the anchor came up with no problem, despite the strong currents that reversed the direction the boat pointed every 6 hours.  We left Factory Creek, headed for a nondeccript anchorage on the side of the Dawho River. 

The weather was deteriorating, and when we got there, I didn't like it at all.  It was completely unprotected from the south, where the wind was coming from, and the chop was already building.  While Joan took the helm and idled us in circles, I got out the charts and looked for a suitable spot to anchor, as there were no marinas anywhere nearby.

I found a spot about an hour North of us, that looked promising, with shallow enough water depths and good solid protection on the south, so we headed out.   Once there, we surveyed the depths and it looked good, so we got the hook set and settled in for the night. 

I  checked our fuel level, and we were now down to about 11 gallons.  This would be about enough for one more 10 hour day, but to avoid the chance of running out at an inopportune moment, I added 12 gallons from two of our jerry jugs on deck.  We were now into our reserves, with only one more 5-gallon reserve jug left.  This should be ok, as we would get to Charleston tomorrow if nothing went wrong.

That night, the shore provided good coverage so there was no chop, although we got some rain and a little lightning in the distance.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Today's big challenge would be a place called Elliott's Cut, just before Charleston Harbor.  Because it was a relatively short distance to Charleston, I had hoped we could get a later start, but it was not to be.  Elliott's Cut is so narrow, and has such a fast current (up to 5 knots!), that you had to time your passage through it to have the tide with you.  Unfortunately, this meant leaving at 6:45 am. :(

There were also some shallow spots along the way, which we negotiated with great care, as we were on a falling tide, and if we went aground, we would be stuck for 12 hours!

The weather continued gray, and started raining on and off.  By the time we reached Elliott's cut, it was pouring, with only 1/4 mile visibility.

Traversing the cut was insane.  Even at low throttle, with the current behind us we were doing 8 - 9 knots over ground, in a steep-walled channel only a few boat-lengths wide!  And then, once the channel widened, out of the gloom, looms a drawbridge! Fortunately, it was an "open on request" one and I didn't have to fight the current in front of it for long. 

Once in Charleston harbor, we slipped under a low 55 ft bridge and entered Ashley Marina, where we got fuel and a pumpout before moving to our slip.  This was another milestone for us, as we had now covered all of the part of the ICW that we had skipped on our way south last fall.

The plan now is to spend 4 nights here playing tourist with Bill and Lisa before resuming our trek northward.

Life is good.

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