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Mostly Retired on Eos
Stephen and Lynel Lemon no longer have an agenda...... There is a time to every purpose
Surf City
Stephen
05/09/2012, Miles = 898

Since it was too far to make Beaufort in a day, we decided on a shorter trip today, with a stop at Surf City on Topsail Island. Again, there really aren't many reasonable anchorages along this stretch, so we stopped at the Beach House marina.
Surf City is a small community on one of the barrier islands where nearly all facilities are aimed at tourists and seasonal residents. The marina staff was very helpful and friendly, we walked through the small town and over to the Atlantic, but there really isn't much here. Another slice of life in a small North Carolina town.
A front is forecast for tomorrow afternoon with thunderstorms and heavy rain, so we will get under way early to make Beaufort before things get unpleasant.

Atlantic Coast Northbound
St. James Plantation
Stephen
05/07/2012, Miles = 855

Anchorages are mostly unavailable through this section of the ICW. The channel is narrow, straight, and man-made. The depths go to only a few feet as soon as you get out of the channel.
We took an overnight slip at the new St. James Plantation marina, a new facility in a planned community mostly devoted to golf. It was a beautiful place with a nice restaurant, but we felt like we were in a Hollywood set for The Stepford Wives.
We walked several miles around the neighborhood and the golf course, the had dinner at the restaurant with the crew of "Wild Oats", a Brewer 44. Tomorrow more of the same.

Atlantic Coast Northbound
Thorofare Creek
Stephen
05/06/2012, Miles = 798

The anchorage at Georgetown harbor was really unattractive, so we went on to an absolutely delightful side channel called Thorofare Creek. Isolated and quiet except for the remarkable symphonyf birds and bugs. Later in the evening the loud calls of owls echoed through the forest and marshes.
This was probably the best anchorage so far.

Atlantic Coast Northbound
Charleston
Stephen
05/05/2012, Miles = 734

The trip from Beaufort to Charleston was uneventful, but it was a hot Sunday afternoon (4/29) and it seemed like everyone within 100 miles was on the water. The Ashley Marina staff were friendly and helpful, and once we considered the list of things that we wanted to see, it was clear that we would need a week. We rented a car and did an excellent job at visiting all of the "must see" sights. including: Fort Sumter, Middleton and Drayton Hall plantations, the Manigault and Nathan Russel houses, Charleston Museum, the Old Slave Mart, the Dock Street theater, and a series of churches. We attended an evening musical program at the Circular Congegational Church, and on Saturday drove to the old navy yard and saw the Hunley exhibit.
Shrimp and grits, fried green tomatoes,, pulled pork with mustard sauce, and many other "low country" dishes rounded out the experience.
We leave Charleston with a much greater appreciation for the history of this area, as well as a better sense of the impact of both slavery and the Civil War on this country.
In the morning we will head for Georgetown.

Atlantic Coast Northbound
Beaufort, South Carolina
Stephen
04/28/2012, Miles = 682

The overnight run from Fernandina was uneventful, but I think that we are both realizing that overnight passages just are not fun. We arrived at the Port Royal Sound sea buoy early, so had to make the long run (8 miles) up the channel in the dark We anchored in a small cove near Beaufort and took the rest of the day to recover.
Today we went into Beaufort and had a great days' visit. The town is very historic, has a number of great shops and restaurants, and is easily seen in a day. We enjoyed a soft shell crab Po'Boy sandwich at Plums, walked through the historic district, and at a small sweets shop had an excellent ice cream dessert.
On a street corner there was a sign announcing the 10th annual Spring Concert by the Low Country Childrens Chorus at the Beaufort Baptist Church, so we decided to attend. What a great experience! The Savannah Childrens Chorus did several numbers (they had just returned from an international competition in Verona, Italy) and then the Low Country Chorus did the remainder of the program. There was a mixture of religious, contemporary, and Gullah pieces, and we enjoyed them all.
Walking through the cemeteries behind some of the churches was also most interesting. There were many confederate flags on graves with the CSA emblem, a reminder that the Civil War remains a recent memory here.
Beaufort was certainly a good stop, but tomorrow it's on to Charleston where we have a reservation at the Ashley Harborage Marina. We plan to stay for as long as we want in order to see all that Charleston has to offer.

Atlantic Coast Northbound
05/03/2012 | skip shipman
Glad to see you are enjoying non-Florida. Enjoy the Carolinas. Beaufort, New Bern [old colonial capital] and Ocracoke are all worthwhile. If you take the ICW north check out Coinjock. You have a slip waiting on Church Creek, South River MD.
05/09/2012 | John Haynie
I'm glad you got here for soft shells. Very short season this year with the lack of winter we had. Good luck on your journey North.
Fernandina Beach
Stephen
04/26/2012, Miles = 578

We stopped in the marina at Fernandina Beach to clean up and to prepare for an overnight passage. After looking at all the charts and talking to several people, it seems best to not go through Georgia on the ICW. Apparently congress has not given Georgia any Corps of Engineers funding since 2005, so there is very little dredging or other maintenance being done. Some areas are only passable at high tide, which really restricts travel time.
The knotmeter is working, but registering 20% low, so the indicated miles are off. I'll put in a compensation factor, but will eventually have to pull it again to see what is wound up in the paddlewheel.
Fernandina Beach, at the north end of Amelia Island, is an old and quaint town that is changing into an upscale resort destination. But shrimpers still use the waterfront, and there are two cranes for container shipping. There is a paper mill, but somehow it does not produce the aroma that we came to know so well in Longview.
We will leave Fenandina about 4 PM today to make an overnight run to Port Royal Sound in South Carolina. This timing puts us on a flood tide and should make going in easier. The weather looks OK with 15 to 20 knots of wind from the SSW. I'll put up the riding sail again to see if it helps at all.
Once we get to Beaufort (prounce "Bew furt" as opposed to the North Carolina town pronounce "Bow fort") we'll probably take a day to see the town before moving on.

Florida and the Bahamas

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