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The First Mate's Journal
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Great Lakes to The Bahamas
Who: Wayne & Pat
Port: Jackson
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Time to bake a Pumpkin Pie
11/26/2008, Minim Creek to Dewees Creek SC (32 50.207 x 79 43.805)

Several boats came whizzing by us in the wee early hours of the morning (3-5 am). Woke us up each time. I couldn't figure out what was with all the boat traffic here this late/early. Then Before 7am, you could hear gun fire going off all around us. The early boat traffic made sense when I heard all the guns, then later saw lots of small boats with men and dogs in them all up and down the creeks - Opening day for water fowl...

Travel day today and pie baking day too since I need my oven tomorrow for turkey... Navigated most of the day, then decided that if I was going to have pie tomorrow that I needed to get that done before dinner and before dark so left Wayne up top and went to the galley to put together my pie. The water's had been fairly quiet so it seemed like time to get the job done. As I finished it up and put it in the oven and went back up top, I saw a large mega-yacht bearing down on us and thought oh no... Well timing is everything and my gimbaled stove did not move fast enough. As his wake hit us we couldn't maneuver to prevent rolling and when I went below to check the oven I could see pumpkin bubbling all over the oven window... Recking, frecking, smecker (to coin a favorite swear phrase)! All day, not a sign of wave activity until I put the pie in the oven, then not another wave or wake after that! I cleaned the window as best as I could but couldn't do anything about the bottom and sides of the oven (to hot). The pie, while losing 1/3 of the filling, will hopefully still be tasty I must say though that the boat smelled wonderful all evening. The temperature regulation was a bit tricky so the part that sloshed out burned on the pan and some of the crust was a tad "dark". We'll see how it tastes tomorrow...

Crabbers to the rescue
11/25/2008, Bull Creek to Minim Creek SC (33 11.509 x -79 16.761)

Pretty uneventful travel day other than sighting some deer a duck blind boat passed us today - it looked like a pile of grass and hay came whizzing by us. The water depths are pretty skinny in this area and I ran aground making a turn to another part of the ICW. Some crab boats passed us by as I was trying to get ungrounded and one turned around and came back to see if we needed help. I said yes - Please! We tossed them a line and they pulled our nose out to the deeper water. I asked what they had in the bushels - they had a couple of bushels of blue crab, then we thanked them and they went on their way. I don't know if people realize what a hard life they have to catch the crabs that they get, and then, I don't think they make all that much doing it either. Whenever the tide is up or down the crabbers are out there checking their crab traps, throwing the small ones back that probably ate all their bait, and resetting them in hopes of catching ones of saleable size. They do this in all sorts of weather too...

Anyhow - thank you for helping us guys - May your bushels be full for the holidays!

Ski Lifts???
11/24/2008, Coquina Harbor (33 51.852 x -78 38.295) to Waccama River/ Bull Creek Anchorage (33 36.664 x 79 06.151) 10 ft depth

Today we maneuvered through the infamous Rock Pile. I kept calling it the "Dog Pile" - don't ask, I don't know why... Wayne kept making fun of me for it. Since I'm a geologist by training, you'd think the name "Rock Pile" would be a no-brainer for me to remember! Since it was close to low tide, then low tide, the ledges were visible and quite intimidating. Rock is not something I care to run into, whether its schist (most people think it's schist here) or hardened limestone, either is not kindly to a boat.

We followed a couple of other sailboats (loosely) for a while. Actually they passed us and got further ahead, but then at the swing bridge (Barefoot Bridge) the bridge tender held everyone up until we got there (he could see us coming) and I felt badly so tried to turn up the speed so they wouldn't have to wait. No need to have worried though because I got up there when the bridge was scheduled to open really Vroom vroom...

Past the bridge (Myrtle Beach way) it began to amaze me... They had docks along the side so you could tie up and go shopping in mega malls, eat in upscale or downscale restaurants, huge condos, yacht clubs and marinas. After passing by them, I had to look them up and found that the docks there were free to use and in season people raft together with 4 across to spend the night and shop and party... flabbergasted me but a very good ploy to get the cruisers to stop and spend their money. Very smart indeed! Had I known ahead we'd have tied up here for the night (hey what woman doesn't like spending money and eating out sometimes). It was interesting to note that the further along this stretch we went, the bigger the houses and condos became. Some had their own golf courses - speaking of which - we passed this one golf course that had an aerial tramway to take golfers across the waterway to the greens - just like ski lifts! I originally saw these ski lifts crossing the waterway and thought "Wow" ski slopes here? It's not that cold yet! But when we got closer I could see it was a golf course... talk about a posh golf course/club LOL

We anchored at 4:03 in Bull Creek (no bull!) in 10-11 ft of water on the inside part of the bend of a meander where it was shallower and the current not as swift. It's a pretty area, wild looking and isolated. Surveyor, a trawler we saw and passed earlier came around the bend, as we were finishing up anchoring, and anchored behind us for the night. I love these quiet anchorages. There's a lot of Spanish moss in this area hanging in the trees (live oak) and we passed by a lot of areas that look like rice grasses today. The Spanish moss looks dead but in reality it isn't. It's an air plant from the pineapple family that lives off the moisture from the air and rain. People used to use it for making rope, gun wadding and bedding for upholstery during the revolutionary war. I don't know that it's used much for anything anymore but it looks dramatic hanging from the trees...

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