We left Spooners Creek with winds ENE @ 8 knots. However as a large low pressure system crossed Florida the outer bands crept across the Carolina's.
We travelled through Adams Creek with several miles of protection from the trees and houses that overlook the waterway. However, the darkening of clouds and an increase in tree top movement, along with our falling barometer, signaled a change in the wind.
We entered the Neuse River with winds now NE at 20 and much stronger gusts. We later learned that they hovered in the 30+ range. The 3-5' wind driven sea in the river was a dramatic change from the calm creek waters just minutes ago. There was no turning back now.
As we turned SW the seas and winds were behind us. We estimated a short 3 second interval between each wave. This made for an uncomfortable few minutes until CALYPSO found her "groove".
With all this energy behind us we raced along at 6-7 knots making for a short eight mile trip to the Hancock Creek entry marks. Minutes before entering the channel, the rain which had held off all day, started. We had been prepared for rain but not what followed.
The rain soon turned to rain with hail. That stopped as fasts as it started, but then it started again. This time it was rain mixed with snow! We looked at each other and said,"we ain't in the Keys anymore"!
As we approached the marks the snow stopped leaving only a stinging wind blown rain. The wind drove us through the channel. At one point as we approached the marina Jeff put the engine in neutral and we were still going over 3 knots.
As we turned towards our slip we were again shielded from the wind by several massive trees. But how do we know which slip is ours?
Friend Donna made a welcome sign with a colorful wind sock to show us the way. Without the wind and with our own beacon to point the way, we were able to easily back into our slip.
An avalanche of memories surface as we travel these familiar waters. After several long miles in the past two days we are again in another wonderful anchorage.
Yesterday took us from Southport up the Cape Fear River and into Snows Cut. In 1999, just past the high rise bridge with rocks on either side of the channel our Sabb Diesel gave its last valiant effort.
Against the current that fateful day "Sammy the Sabb" started making a strange noise. This was soon followed by thick white smoke coming from the exhaust. Jeff yelled to our daughter, 13 at the time, to get the anchor ready. Within seconds this lifetime "boat-kid" had a 60# CQR ready to deploy. As the anchor splashed, Sammy stopped for the last time.
Whenever we travel through this cut we always pay a small tribute to Sammy. We sometimes reminisce about the places we have gone, things we have seen, the fun, excitement, challenges, and yes even the nail biting situations.
Tomorrow, we will moor at the Marine Corp Base at Cherry Point. The Hancock Yacht Club has become home away from home in our travels. Instead of being stodgy it is a place were sailors and pirates freely gather. It will be nice to see our many friends there, again.
We will take a brief pause here and prepare for our daughters wedding. We are sure that over the next several weeks we will take some time to reflect on how our boat kid has grown into a wonderful young lady.
Underway this morning at 1042. We needed to wait a bit for the tide to slack so we could back out of our slip. About an hour after we were underway we entered NC.
Our late departure gave us a fairly high tide as we crossed both Shallote & Lockwoods Folly. These two tricky areas are always subject to shoaling so the extra water was appreciated.
At 1706 we anchored in Pipeline Canal, Southport. Another new anchorage it has skinny water and a lot of boat traffic from a nearby launch ramp. We will put out two anchor lights tonight.
Underway at 0811 from our anchorage at the Oxbow.
With a light wind behind us we slid quietly along the last of the Waccamaw River. Moving towards Myrtle Beach we slowly left the natural beauty of the river and exchanged it for mega homes that compare to those of S. Florida.
We passed through the hazardous "Rock Pile" area without incident. This area of the waterway is cut out from a solid rock base. High tide hides the jagged layers coming out to meet the channel.
We moored at Lightkeepers Marina at 1430.
.Wednesday after a quiet night anchored in Cowen Creek we headed off. This had been another "new to us"anchorage that we both want to explore more in future trips.
It was a long day getting to our anchorage, Wednesday. after passing through Beaufort, SC we entered the Coosaw River. sailing in light air with the tide we were making 6.2 knots in some spots. Then it was time to work.
Just as the Georgia ICW is known for its twisting and turnings sounds, SC should be remembered for its skinny cuts. We passed through both of the Ashepoo Coosaw Cutoffs. Each with only 1.3' under us. "Are we back in the keys?" Wendy asked.
Then we passed the very short Fenwick Cut. It's not very long but a sweeping current from the S. Edisto River can push you into the muddy banks easily. Added to the fun was a tug with a barge that didn't have a name board or answer Jeff's calls on the VHF. In the end all worked out ok and we headed to our anchorage.
Thursday morning we were heading for Charleston. Signs claim that it is," Americas Finest City" and we place it in our top five! Although we planned to anchor, the Mega Dock of the City Marina was nearly empty. The thought of a hot shower and plugging into shore power for the evening was too much. We docked in relative privacy at the end of this huge dock.
After topping off our diesel & ice (we only needed 10#) and took long hot showers we were rejuvenated. Friday morning we woke to our toasty cabin with the help of our small space heater. What a treat!
Underway on the last of an incoming tide which pushed us 55 miles to Minum Creek. This favorite anchorage is only a few miles from Georgetown, SC.
Underway this morning, Saturday, at 0740. Again the incoming tide pushed us along at 5+ knots into the Waccamaw River. Running much higher than normal due to inland flooding, the Waccamaw twists and turns through unspoiled native Cyprus marshland.
At 1508 we anchored in an Oxbow near mile 415.