Why fly when you can ride? (file photo)
Our days of excellent traveling weather have continued, with winds mostly light, and when not, favorable for motor-sailing or even for sailing.
We knew we are getting close to home when we had an attack of flies and mosquitos last night in the Alligator River and this morning crossing Albemarle Sound. Later we were boarded by the Coast Guard for a safety/sanitation/registration inspection. No violations.
This afternoon, just as the South Mills lock raised us 8 feet to the level of the Dismal Swamp Canal, it started to rain. We tied up for the night on the bulkhead just past the lock, and it has rained hard for a couple of hours. Happy to have the dead insects washed off the deck.
Tomorrow we will reach Norfolk, VA, and we will stay there at least one night to get set up for the 150 mile run up the Chesapeake to home. If our weather luck holds, it won't take long.
Shrimp season has started in NC.
We have had good traveling weather for the past two days, and it looks like this will continue for a while. These two days have been a weekend, so small boat traffic has been heavier than usual, and we have left early (this morning before sunrise) and stopped early.
We are at a mooring in Carolina Beach - so new that they haven't started charging for them yet. We are 296 miles from Mile "0" in Norfolk, so we have been moving along.
We plan to leave early tomorrow as well, and have a long day to get set up for getting through Camp Lejeune the next day before they close the ICW to practice firing their guns. If we can negotiate a couple of once-per-hour drawbridges efficiently, we will anchor tonight in Mile Hammock Bay on the south edge of Lejeune... the scene of our late-night circus on the way south last fall.
Waccamaw River scenery
We arrived at Georgetown harbor late afternoon Wednesday and dropped anchor for the night. Thursday morning we moved to a marina. The Captain filled water and fuel, the Admiral cleaned inside, the Captain cleaned outside, and then the Admiral did laundry and walked a mile to get groceries. They provided a ride back.
Georgetown is probably the most interesting little town we have visited. Interesting shops and restaurants. In particular we had a wonderful dinner at Limpin' Jane's, supposedly Hoppin' John's sister, owned and operated by former-swabbie David's former roomate and his spouse.
Had breakfast ashore this morning, Friday, and then a lovely trip up the Waccamaw through cypress swamp. We planned to anchor out, but there is a marina here, Osprey, that has an interesting location, is inexpensive ($1 per foot), and gets rave reviews on the Web. So we decided to stay. But we will be eating on the boat as we are stuffed from 3 meals ashore in Georgetown. We have been reading on their porch, and we also completed boat chores for the moment by defrosting the fridge.
Weather is definitely back to warm. Yesterday in Georgetown it was windy, but today has been calmer, and partly sunny, with rain likely tonight. The next few days look similar.
Sunset over Berkeley County, SC, ancestral home of
the Winter family.
Leaving Thunderbolt, two days ago, we made almost 50 miles
to anchor in tiny Factory Creek near Beaufort, SC. When we pulled
in the creek, there at anchor were the other two boats of the Jekyll
Creek convoy. The cloudy weather continued, and we had two
brief downpours as we approached Beaufort.
The front passed during the night, and yesterday began with temperatures
in the mid-40's. The Admiral was not pleased. Out came the winter
clothing. It was quite windy, but we made almost 40 miles to anchor
in a creek about 15 miles south of Charleston. Expanses of marsh in
Today was cold again, but it warmed up a bit, in part because the wind
was down through early afternoon. After the Wapoo Creek bridge, we
had a nice sail down Charleston harbor, Fort Sumpter in view, and up
the ICW behind Isle of Palms. The Captain is forced to admit that all this
was after he smacked arrow into a mud
bank at cruising speed. The mud
should not have been there, lurking, 3 feet under the surface.
We are anchored in, what else, a creek in the marshes. But the wind has
come up and is gusting to something like 35 mph. (Memo to those planning
and ICW trip: make sure of your anchoring equipment and technique.)
Our anchor is holding fine, and we hope it quiets down tonight.
Tomorrow should be a nice day - warmer and less windy. We plan to spend
tomorrow night in the marshes again, but Thursday will be a relatively
short run to a marina in Georgetown, SC. There we will pick up mail, and
restock the boat.
After Georgetown we will, for a while, be in the swampland rather than
the marshland. A change of scenery will be good.
Motoring into the morning sun.
We have spent three of the four nights since leaving Jax Beach in isolated marsh anchorages. The scenery is beautiful, especially in the morning, and birds abound for the Admiral to watch. Apparently bug season is arriving as marsh flies and no-see-ems are coming around. Not too bad yet...
Weather has been cloudy with a rare shower, but generally light wind, and has been good for motoring northward. Also, our planning for favorable tides and currents has worked out pretty well.
Tonight we are staying at a marina in Thunderbolt, a small community near Savannah. We filled fuel and water, and dinner will be ashore tonight at a nearby restaurant.
Might get some real rain tonight, and tomorrow's plan depends on the forecast.
Left Jax Beach Tuesday morning and ran under power for about
35 miles. Anchored behind Cumberland Island, GA, a very
pretty national park. Today we continued, reaching Jekyll Creek,
which renders Jekyll Island an island, in early afternoon. This
creek is considered one of the shallowest places on the ICW,
with a tidal range of 8 feet. Of course we arrived as low tide
was approaching, but we joined two other sailboats to form a
convoy. The medium draft boat went first, we with the least
draft went second (so we could help if the first boat went
aground), and the deepest draft (6 feet) boat went last. We
slowly picked our way through the creek, and we all got
through with just a slight brush or two with the bottom.
We anchored for the night behind St. Simons Island. Looks like
we will get some rain.
Tomorrow we head up through the Little Mud River, the second-
worst passage for depth. Should be a piece of cake.