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Madcap Sailing
Christmas Cheer
07/12/2009/11:30 am, Charleston, SC

I did laundry in the morning while Jim took the marina shuttle back to West Marine. The new chart plotter wouldn't recognize our radar or AIS and after some sleuthing, he discovered that new software updates were not installed on it. Back he went to rectify that, and pay another little visit to Harris Teeter for some more of their wonderful bread.

Jim arrived back just about when the clothes were dry and we headed off to walk along Broad Street where we caught the end of the Christmas Parade. We saw group after group of high school marching bands and cadet groups, several enthusiastic church floats, a group of vintage corvettes and at the end, Santa Claus himself! We chuckled at the highly stressed parade-traffic-director on our corner and figured he was seriously in need of come Christmas cheer! One float was from a BBQ place and the aroma had our stomachs rumbling so much that we immediately took ourselves off in search of food.

First was a stop at that wonderful sweet shop on Market street that Sue and Terry introduced us to last trip. We stocked up on to-die-for pralines of creamy brown sugar and pecans, and carmelly/chocolaty bear claws. One of our taxi drivers earlier in the week recommended Jim and Nick's BBQ on King Street, so with that smell from the float still tantalizing us, we walked up and along two or three blocks to find it. It was just about 4:30 but half the tables were filled with families so we sat ourselves down and ordered up a couple of platters of pulled pork and ribs. Delicious!

With the idea of finding some Christmas music, and having done laundry instead of following Jeannie's suggestion of going to church in the morning, we visited First Baptist Church for their service of Lessons and Carols. It turned out to be mostly a church school affair, but it was endearing to see the children with sweet smiles, clear voices and doting parents with cameras. Perhaps we'll find Christmas music of a finer kind further along the way. Our long walk- very long because we went a few blocks in the wrong direction first - helped work off that huge dinner and despite the blisters on Jim's feet, allowed us one more enjoyable browse along streets lined with Charleston mansions.

On Monday morning as we were gathering ourselves together in preparation for departure, a Bayfield 36 came cruising by - Kolibrie with Pat and Wayne on board. Pat come down the dock for a chat after they got tied up and made me feel so good by telling me that she'd followed and enjoyed our blog on our first trip. It was great to meet her and we'll look forward to meeting again in some harbour in the Bahamas. That's what happens in the cruising world!

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Departing for Florida
Beth / 49F this am
07/12/2009/9:28 am, Charleston, SC

We've got a nice little weather window to head outside for Fernandina Beach so we'll leave with the tide.

We'll come back in somewhere if the weather changes. We had one whole day when absolutely nothing went wrong so I consider that we are on a roll and all will be well!! Several other boats are making similar plans so we'll have company out there.

I'll put up a new posting when we get to our next stop - or when I have internet access.

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Charleston Adventures
Beth / 47F but sunny
06/12/2009/9:02 am, Charleston, SC

After dragging - or stretching out too close to a boat that had come in and anchored fairly near us, we rose to the beeping of the alarm at 6 am on Saturday and hustled into action once more. This time it was raining as well as windy and cold. But collision was averted yet again and we got the anchor up and ourselves into a new position. Jim got quite a surprise when he finally got the anchor pulled up - and it was a mighty struggle. It was entangled in a rusty old iron ladder. We're not sure if we anchored on top of it - which would explain the dragging - or picked it up as we moved. Generally, all that chain on the bottom holds us in place almost as well as the anchor itself, but the stronger currents combined with higher winds seem to be foiling our old techniques.

We moved over to the mega dock at Charleston City Marina around noon - and got settled right behind Oz!! We were delighted to be able to catch up on news and experiences with Connie and Ken - even though we were shaking our heads at how we left Dowry Creek a day or two ahead of them because we wanted to keep moving south. Misery does like company, and it was interesting to feel ourselves feeling a little more relaxed and part of a group when we heard their stories about the rough times they and other boats have been having.

It is not a myth that travelling this far north, this late in the season is more fraught with difficulty. As we read blogs and reports from other boats, we understand that we have experienced far less damage than others.

Now on to happy things! West Marine had a C-80 chartplotter in stock and has been helpful in getting us back into working order. The marina here has block ice - lasts longer in our icebox. We are clean and we smell good again!

We had a wonderful evening walking in Charleston along streets of balconied and piazzad houses - some of them dressed for the holidays. We watched the kayaks all decorated up in Christmas lights go by Waterfront Park, but got too cold before the parade of brightly lit ships came along (we thought it would be much earlier when they got to this side of the harbour). After mingling with folks on the waterfront (and enjoying chocolate chip cookies shared by one family) we headed for East Bay Street and the warmth of Amen Restaurant. We just stumbled across it but it was a good stumble. The fish (Mahi Mahi for Jim and Striped Bass for me) was perfectly cooked and served with asparagus and smooth, mushroomy grits (Jim took a pass on those!)

Off to more happy experiences today!

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07/12/2009/8:17 am | Glen Gray
Safe and relaxed at Manjack.
Enjoy the ride south... hope you can get some "outside"weather to avoid Georgia.
Let's get together in the Bahamas....
glen & louise

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