Heading Through South CarolinaKeith, H and H
South Carolina bridges have a warning not previously evident to me. Puts a whole new twist on the concept of no turning back. I'm anchored tonight off Buckskin Marina about 30 miles into SC. It is dark here tonight with only a sliver of moon. It is also hot, muggy, buggy, and swampy. I've got the little fan going full tilt clipped onto the table where I'm writing. It helps. The dogs are hanging out on deck. I've been trying to rehydrate for the last 1/2 hour. I'm, 4/6ths through my ice supply for the day and I'm on my third diet soda (I watch my sugar intake, thus the "diet"), having gone through all the cold water in the fridge. I almost passed by this anchorage because it was so hot when I arrived at around 4:00 p.m. I figured I would just press on and at least have the breeze the comes from moving, but another 10 miles after the 35 already traveled just seemed too much. This place is actually cozy in a sticky southern swampy sort of way. After the sun went down we dingied to the marina, which was pretty much empty. I checked out the bathroom/shower house and it was unlocked and air conditioned. It felt so good in there I actually hung out inside with the dogs for several minutes just enjoying the AC. This is the muggiest place we've been yet. I applied 100% deet bug spray when the first skeeter hit through my shirt and have been reapplying as needed. Fortunately I have a large supply of deet. There is a small live aboard community here, if you can call it that. It is more like subsistance boating. I met some of the local characters since I am the main attraction this week. They confirmed that there is absolutely nothing to do here. The marina hasn't had a paying customer in weeks. No work for anyone. No commerce in the area. I asked how they get food and supplies and got blank looks. I was treated to a dim flashlight exibition of the little gater that plies the shore of the marina. I am informed that water snakes also inhabit these waters. This didn't stop Jake from attempting to play in the water in the pitch dark. He could not understand why I was so insistent he stay on dry land. If there is a demarkation between north and south on this trip, I think it lies here at this anchorage. Tropical Dreamer is the nicent accomodation around tonight so I suppose I'll just enjoy it. Should be a bit more comforable in bed since I replaced my Ralph Loren comforter in the forward cabin with a single cotton sheet.
Sunset At Calabash AnchorageKeith
08/04/2008, Border of NC and SC
As I type this it is dark. Very dark. There is a sliver of moon but that is all. No town lights tonight. I can hear the animals and insects in the forest beyond the shoreline some 100 yards away. That is all. This screen is putting out a huge light and when I finish this post I will shut 'er down and experience this night. The dogs still on deck and I'll probably have to force them to come inside tonight if I don't fall asleep out there myself. Another shot of bug spray then before I go out. Goodnight.
Anne On The GuidesKeith, hot
08/04/2008, Calabash, NC anchorage
We arrived at Calabash creek anchorage around 2:30 p.m., which is a really hot part of the day at this place at this time. You may have gathered that from all the winging I've been doing about the heat lately. First item of business after anchoring was putting up the sun awning, which makes a huge difference in the temperature of the cockpit and makes the whole deck into a shaded area. Now that we're at South Carolina, my awesome collection of charts is broken. The ICW Chartbook is still good through the Keys. It's really all I need. The North Carolina Guide and waterproof map set is of no use to me anymore for now and gets stored tomorrow. The author of that book wrote a South Carolina/Georgia guide which I will buy when I come across it, but it has a lot of information I don't really need. Still, it is fun to know more about where we're cruising and you never know. I already may need to stop into a marina for a thing or two depending on whether I can take care of them myself without sinking the boat. Skipper Bob's book about anchorages on the ICW has been very useful. Simple, to the point, just enough extra information for what is needed. It won't be my last volume purchased from his family (the Skipper himself passed on I understand). Anyway, the dogs have picked up on the value which I hold the charts and guidebooks. Indeed, they are what keep me on track for the hundreds and hundres of miles I've cruised so far in the last few years. Since the chartbooks are important, the dogs like to lay on them. I guess doing so makes the dog important too. I can't tell you how many times I've had to fish out a particular guidebook from underneath the belly of a dog, usually Jake. This time, it was Anne. No matter, I won't be needing some of them after today. The pamphlet on top is the periodic publication of the Seven Seas Cruising Association, which is an organization for people who live on sailboats and cruise in them throughout the world. I can just about make it down the ICW with my dogs without hurting myself or others. The China Sea... well lets first make it to Charlston.
Dingy To The Mud Shores Along The Way To Calabash, NCKeith, hot but bearable
Calabash, NC AnchorageKeith, very hot but stable and clear
I cruised 25 miles from Southport to here today. I crossed the border to South Carolina this afternoon, but this anchorage is slighly backtracking back into NC. It was a pretty uneventful passage today with deep water almost all the way and current with me most of the time. I've been lucky to have the current going with me most of the way from Oriental, but I sometimes think it is the bad weather to the south becking me with good currents and I will pay the price later. I passed several inlets today, which are striking to experience because you can see the open Atlantic and there are always currents and shoals adjacent to an inlet. This particular anchorage is evidently the only good anchorage in these parts. It is quite nice, I must say. At first I anchored too close to the center of the channel and the large ferry or whatever it was blew its horn at me, which hurt my feelings. I pulled up and anchored much closer to the shore and seem to be doing fine. Dropped the dingy, put on the little engine, and rowed the dogs ashore to play. The shore was like quick sand, but the squishy muddy sand felt kind of good in the hot sun. After the dogs were back on board the mothership, I took off by myself to town, reputed to serve excellent seafood. The dingy was going really fast with just one person and the 3.5 horsepower engine, but the engine is not altogether reliable and sometimes dies or threatenes to die, whether because it is out of gas or for some other reason. It's not a bad engine, just rather basic. I should have brought the honda 2 hp as a backup, but I was planning to head north and I thought I could get it when I passed back through Oriental... and that's neither here nor there now since I'm a long way south already and not going back north as of this moment. As the guidebook predicted, I was rather underwhelmed with the quality of the seafood in Calabash in spite of the town's reputation, but the air conditioning and the several large glasses of 1/2 sweet/1/2 regular ice tea were very welcome. I got the deluxe seafood platter, which has a bit of everything they serve. I've got enough leftovers to last at least all of tomorrow. I gave the fried oysters to the dogs to enjoy with their dinner tonight since oysters gross me out still no matter how they're cooked. Still an hour or so until the sun goes down, then maybe it will cool down a bit - maybe not. We'll be ok either way.
Ice, Wonderful IceKeith, hot and humid
08/04/2008, Southern, North Carolina
As I travel southward, it is naturally getting hotter. The afternoons are starting to really get going. I have a well known and respected brand of Fridge/Freezer. It keeps the perishibles cold using only about 2.5 amps per hour. It's my biggest draw, but its worth it. There is a little freezer, just big enough for 6 ice cube trays. I haven't yet used all 6 in one day, but its definitely possible. That ice makes cold soda, cold water, and cold cocktails. It is a little bit of icy cold bliss in what can otherwise be an extremely hot existence.
Dock Leading To An Opening In the MarshKeith, overcast and muggy, but at least its not sunny
08/03/2008, Southport, NC
It's noon here in southern, North Carolina. We've decided to park it in Southport for a full second day. It's Sunday and most of the shops are closed, but I don't do much shop shopping anyway. I pretty much have everything I need and a lot that I don't need. There is a Walmart 1.5 miles up the road, but I don't really need anything from there either. Perhaps a small vegetable stand would be of some interest. Otherwise, I'd like to use up some of my dry stores because things don't last forever in this environment. We took an especially long walk this morning and enjoyed this historic town. There is a lot more to see. I'd like to catch some of the concert in the park at 4:00 this afternoon. Maybe a shower and shave as well today. I've got to work on putting more ads for the truck and the other boat and the house for rent. Not much progress in that realm to date. Also need to pay some bills and otherwise attend to some matters back at home. So its a hang-out day in Southport.
A Little About The Cape Fear RegionKeith, cool, calm evening - I think I can hear something eating something off the hull
We are traveling through a very historic area for the United States (and the Confederacy). Southport is located at the mouth of the Cape Fear Inlet, one of the main capes and inlets on the east coast of the US. Beyond the inlet are the frying pan shoals extending for many miles out to sea. The markers placed and maintained by the government take boats large and small by the shoals safely to open ocean. There are many, many wreaks littering the shoals. The long, deep Cape Fear River flows to the sea here. I traveled it today for 10 miles from from the cut to Carolina Beach. It was nice to be in deep water (40 feet plus) and not constantly watching the depth meter (I did anyway, but not as much). The largest ammunition loading platform in the eastern US was/is located up the Cape Fear River. Transports exit the river into the Atlantic and then head for Europe or Vietnam... now the Middle East. The original photo I chose for this entry wouldn't download. It is a memorial for the crew of a transport ship that was torpedoed by a German U-Boat outside of Cape Fear. During the civil war, the south controlled the entrance to the Cape Fear River and used that to undermine the North's attempted blockade of Cape Fear inlet and to further prevent the Northern ships from entering Cape Fear river and taking Wilmington. The futuristic looking iron topped steam battle ships were placed here to guard the entrance (and because they were too heavy and underpowered to take to sea). Eventually, of course, it all fell to the North. Now Southport is a city of peace.
Free Dog Beach In Southport, NCKeith, sunny and humid - but we are used to it and it doesn't bother. I've learned, for example, that panting doesn't mean exhausted any more than sweating does. It just means hot. The body can function if we go at a reasonable pace and stay hydrated
Town Dock In Southport, NCKeith, hot and humid
I've fallen into a daily routine which goes something like this: Wake up, make coffee, dingy the dogs to shore for a long walk, back to the boat to feed everyone clean up and get ready to travel, put up the dingy and store the outboard, head off to next destination (usually 15-30 miles away), arrive early afternoon and anchor, relax onboard listen to music and NPR news and write in log book and make sure holding is good, lower dingy and install outboard, take dogs to shore for afternoon and sometimes again for sunset walks, make and eat dinner, get ready for bed. Repeat. It's a good way to slowly make progress while enjoying every place we go. I counted and including the Oriental Harbor, Deatons Marina (remember that first night on the boat) and Whitaker Docks, we've stayed at 10 different anchorages/docks so far this trip and we've slept on the boat 20 nights. We've cruised about 170 miles in the 10 days since we left Oriental on July 24, 2008. We're presently at mile marker 320 in the ICW. Only 600 or so more miles until the Bahamas. At this rate, I could be in the Bahamas by September or earlier. I get a lot of mixed reactions about that, ranging from don't worry to stares of sorry disbelief. I've read about hurricaines hitting North Carolina in October that were disastrous. What if I had waited until October to cruise through NC. I was going to bypass Southport today since it was only 15 miles from my previous anchorage and I wanted to get some miles under me, but my main cruising guide (the one in the picture with the food) said definitely spend some time here. They were right, this town is great. There's so much to say about it but the bottom line is that it has been a haven for mariners for hundreds of years and has a little of everything a cruising sailor and his dogs could want. Another cruising guide (Skipper Bob's) explained that there is a free town dock with power and water. I couldn't find it at first and anchored in the yacht basin. The weather report spoke of heavy thunderstorms and wind this evening (which only marginally materialized) and I was worried about my holding since there isn't room in the basin to lay out enough scope. I looked over and there was a sign for the free and empty town dock space. Those guides are so worth it. We try not to skimp on cruising guides and they almost always deliever their worth and more. I called and reserved the space and managed to land with the help of a kind local. The tide range here is 4 feet, which means we sometimes climb up and sometimes down to get from the boat to the dock. And I do believe my sailboat is the coolest one in the Southport Yacht Basin tonight, which hasn't done much for me yet tonight, but still.
Singer Family Adventures
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