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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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Can it really be December already???
High winds, waves, still small craft advisory out
12/01/2008, Charleston, SC

I can't believe that it's December already. The days seem to blur into each other so fast. We seem to move so slowly but seem so far from home at the same time. Very strange...

After listening to the weather and then getting ready to leave, the winds and currents were still pushing us into the wall so we then decided to stay today. We'd missed the optimum time for timing the tides and currents to make it through Elliott's Cut, which has notoriously fast and nasty currents if you don't time them correctly.

Checked back into the marina and this time we have power tonight! They finally got a splitter for us YAY! Took the courtesy van into town - the 11:00 one always goes to West Marine (they bought a splitter there LOL) and after dropping the West Marine people off there, they dropped us back in town and we walked about looking at all the buildings, and through the market area again, this time with camera in hand. I think Wayne aggravated his knee again in the back of the van (it was crowded so he was on a pillow in the back next to Mike) and didn't enjoy the walk as much this time. I went to the Customs house and shot some pictures - it was a beautiful building but I could only go on the first floor. Today a new law goes into effect and all incoming shipments need to have some new ID - it must be keeping them busy in the harbor because there were very few people about.

We went back to the marketplace. One vender didn't want me to take pictures of her cypress bowls, which bummed me out because they looked beautiful, gleaming a yellow gold, in the sun streaming through the building. So I put my camera away while walking through the market.

It looks like all the Bridge People stayed today and are leaving tomorrow. I was trying to budget my time and figure out whether to shower tonight or tomorrow morning - thinking tonight would probably be better and for some strange reason the discussion led to another stupid argument - we seem to be having a few of those lately for some reason.

Oh hey - the picture is of a phone pole where people stand and wait. It looks like there are quite a few gum chewers aye?

Laundry day on the Megadock
Wet, wet, wet - Rain, high winds, high waves, temps in the 50s
11/30/2008, Charleston, SC

After making breakfast, Wayne got a cart for me to haul the laundry to the laundry facilities so I took it over and read some of their magazines while doing the laundry. They have 2 commercial size washers & driers so between leafing through the magazines and loads I propped the door open to cool it off inside the laundry room and watched it as the raindrops splashed off the dock and made patterns in the water. It had finally let up, then really started to really pour as I walked back to the boat. I was glad that I thought ahead and brought large plastic bags to put the laundry in, in case it did decide to rain again. I wish I'd have brought my rain gear for me LOL - By the time I got back to the boat I was soaked and the garbage bags were holding puddles of water as I tossed them onto the boat. I now needed a drier for me!

After we put our laundry away and I dried off, we waited for the pump-out boat and the diesel key for gas (did I mention you can gas up while at your dock here???), then we caught the courtesy van into town (it runs every hour and they pick you back up when you call them) and walked through the Market area where venders sell all manner of goods. There were basket ladies making and selling wonderful baskets and trays that they've been making since the days of slaves. They'd use them to clean the chaff off of the rice (in the days of the plantations). I'd have loved to have bought one; they're beautiful, but very expensive as they should be with all the labor that goes into them.

We scouted out the restaurants, I'd wanted to eat at one of the local ones but we ended up at Bubba Gumps (which is fine with me too - Wayne liked the prices better), and then walked over to the Harris Teeter store for groceries.

Wow, what a nice food store! It's huge and has everything. We stocked up on pop and beer since we don't have to carry if for miles and we got miscellaneous food items, and then waited for the Courtesy Van back to the boat (more rain). I can't believe that the rain and winds still haven't slacked up. The boat is rocking and my rain bucket is between a quarter & half full. We still don't have power at the dock - still no splitter, but since we're leaving tomorrow it I guess it doesn't matter at this point. It would have been nice to charge up and use the computer under power though.

Hope the waves and wind slacken up for our departure tomorrow - it's really howling through here with force. When we got back to the boat you could see the mast slanted towards the dock - we're really at a lean...

Ben Sawyer Swing Bridge
11/29/2008, Dewees Creek SC to Charleston, SC

Rainy, foggy morning & I had to sidestep the puddles on the floor to make coffee. The rain came dripping down the mast again so I had towels all over the floor (we've gotta get that mast sealed) to keep it dry and a bucket under the mast that the drippings missed. It was a rainy blah day out but at least it wasn't freezing - temps got into the 50s so even with the rain it wasn't so bad.

We had plenty of time to get to the Ben Sawyer Swing Bridge and fell in line (3rd of 4) for the opening so I radioed ahead of our intention to cross at noon, but the lead boat slowed and by the time we got up there the bridge still hadn't opened. At 5 after, I radioed to see what the problem was. The Bridge tender said you guys didn't get up here in time to open the bridge, you missed the opening, and next opening is in an hour. Two of the other boats pleaded their case but to no avail so we all circled for an hour until 1:00pm. She'd said something about us not being up by the green sign, we didn't see a green sign anywhere unless she meant the green channel buoy of which we were all beyond that one, so I made sure that I circled fairly close to the bridge and then at 12:55pm radioed our intentions to cross at her 1:00pm opening. This was the first bridge tender that said nothing to us - move up, hustle up or ANY thing to us - until after I'd radioed to see what the problem was THEN she told us we missed the crossing time knowing we were all there in a holding pattern waiting for her to open the bridge. Nice, real nice of her. Not one boat thanked her that passed the opening but I think we all had the same thoughts as we passed through the bridge.

Charleston Harbor is a good-sized harbor - easy to get lost if you don't follow the buoys and we got into the City Marina around 3:30pm and tied to the Mega Dock. 3 of the 4 bridge boats (including us) are tied up here on the Mega Dock Mike & Judy (Sea Sharp) and Carol & Russ (Ziveli). I wasn't sure if Bilbo went on but one of the others said they thought that Bilbo was here too. I can't believe the size of some of these yachts - they're bigger than our house! They have "Mega Yachts" on the Mega Dock Yikes - I can't imagine the amount of money to purchase let alone use some of these floating palaces that are in the 100s of feet long! I'm glad I don't have to worry about the upkeep LOL. This City Dock is amazing - floating laundry and shower docks and unfortunately 50-amp power with no adapters available so we don't have power tonight. If they can find a splitter we're going to share it with Sea Sharp & we'll both have power - they're one of the Bridge people that came through the Bridge with us. I was going to go over and give them our boat card & chat with Carol but the border patrol was going over them (they're a Canadian boat and it reminded me of when we came back from Canada) I hope the border patrol weren't as hard on them as they were on us when we returned from Canada - Mike and Judy seem like very nice people.

We got a wonderfully hot shower then caught the courtesy van to the CVS and got our scripts filled. While there, Wayne discovered that he didn't have the backpack (it was left in the van) but when the van came back to pick us up it was still there in the back seat (whew - our keys were in it).

Made steak and salad for dinner and tomorrow we'll do the laundry and visit the town during daylight hours. I hope I can get some pictures of Charleston; the weather isn't conducive to carrying my camera around.

Pic is of Judy on Sea Sharp (one of the Bridge people)

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