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Puffin II's Log
Charleston, SC
Rain, wind, crappy
04/04/2013, Ashley Harborage Marina

Charleston has an anchorage that is exposed to wind and has strong tidal currents. Add to this that the best locations are full of derelict and sunken boats and you'll understand that this is a fair weather anchorage only. Somehow I always seem to be in Charleston when the weather is bad: At least that was the case in 4 out of 6 visits. In the fall of 2006 I spent several days on Curlew at the Mega Dock of the municipal marina, in torrential rain and strong winds. Due to the wind direction (on the beam) and the swell in the marina I had to constantly check the fenders, which had a tendency to pop out. The next spring Mary and I stopped here again and were stuck again for several days, thanks to an early tropical storm (it was the first named storm of the year). This fall it was the same all over again: wind and rain. And now the weather forecast for the next two days: wind and rain, what else did I expect! So instead of anchoring out I am staying at the Ashley Harborage Marina. This morning I walked down to the Mega Dock, and I was glad that I was not in the anchorage: It looked more like a rodeo out there, with tide against wind and boats rolling and pitching.

I decided that this was the perfect day to stay on board and do engine maintenance. The raw water impeller was due for replacement. After several attempts to pull the old impeller out I gave up. Shortly after I bought Puffin II I had replaced the (original?) impeller, which was deformed and had several blades missing. (See my posting of 4/11/2012.) Perhaps that was why I was able to pull that one from its pump housing. I called a mechanic and he will be here tomorrow morning (I hope!).

ICW trip 2012-2013
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Church Creek
04/02/2013

I left the anchorage at 0830 and dropped anchor in Church Creek at 1445. A pretty anchorage with drying mud shoals and lots of wild life: Loons, grebes, white herons, skimmers, and more.

ICW trip 2012-2013
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Shopping
04/01/2013, Factory Creek, Beaufort, SC

In the morning I left the anchorage, and moved to nearby Factory Creek. There is a Publix supermarket and a hardware store within walking distance. I bought two new hose connectors and hose clamps to fix the fuel hoses permanently. There was also a new restaurant nearby, Dockside, and I had dinner there later.

In the entrance to the creek I saw a sailboat hull with an unfinished home-made superstructure. Is this the ultimate cockpit enclosure?

I had been to Factory Creek before, with Curlew in the spring of 2009, and never had a problem with the depth at the entrance. This time I was looking at Active Captain (I don't think that existed in 2009) and several people reported serious shoaling at the entrance. I knew you have to stay very close to the bridge and you must give the green day mark a wide berth to find the channel. On Puffin I have two depth sounders, 4 feet apart. I could see the difference in depth to port and to starboard! You really have to stay very close to the bridge to find the deep water. I never saw less depth than 7.5 ft at dead low water (0.1 ft above chart datum).

ICW trip 2012-2013
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Rainbow
03/31/2013, Beaufort, SC

A quiet day with showers late and a beautiful full rainbow over the anchorage.

ICW trip 2012-2013
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Projects
03/30/2013, Beaufort, SC

Today I installed a new primary fuel filter assembly. I never liked the Racor fuel filter set that came with Puffin II: Although it was a dual filter set, it had aluminum bowls and the replacement filters were hard to get and expensive. You could never see if there was water or dirt in the fuel, or if the filters were dirty. At last year's Annapolis boat show I had bought a new Racor 75500 FGX dual filter assembly that has clear plastic bowls and a built on vacuum gauge. Now I can at least see if there is water or dirt in the fuel. The replacement filters are widely available at marine stores and boat yards. As the filter unit is not in the engine room there was no need for metal heat shields. The existing fuel hoses were not long enough. The hose extensions are connected with a coupler and a hose clamp on each connector. When I test-ran the engine I could see a few tiny air bubbles in the plastic filter bowls. I also could hear some air entering the hose connection. The engine nevertheless kept running, but it was obvious that this needed to be fixed. I temporarily wrapped the hoses with Rescue Tape (great stuff!) and that solved the problem for now. I need to get two hose connectors with longer barbs that can accommodate two hose clamps on either side. I had to move the genset fuel filter further to the side to make space for the larger new filter set. Pictures of the old and the new installation are in the photo gallery side bar under "Projects".

Projects
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Beaufort, SC
03/29/2013

Left the anchorage at the Herb River at 0810. Strong current again, but this time most of it was with us. Along the way a sailboat was approaching us and through the binoculars it seemed that it had a very foul waterline. Strange, because the rest of the boat and the sails and rigging appeared in perfect shape. When I got closer I saw that it was a very cool graphic image of a cayman.

Dropped anchor in Beaufort at 1415. Had a few beers at the local hang-out, Hemingway's. Great little bar where you will meet the locals. Finished the evening with a crispy pizza at Panini's.

ICW trip 2012-2013
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Turbulence
03/28/2013, Herb River, GA

I got up at 0600 to turn on the genset so that I could run the heater: It was 40 F. Went back to bed until the cabin was at a more comfortable temperature. Breakfast, and underway at 0845. Due to the full moon the lunar tides were high and the currents strong. In some places there were tidal rips and mini-maelstroms. I am now anchored in the Herb River, near SM 585. There is a 10ft tidal range and a fairly strong current. I put out 90 ft of chain (which is all the chain that I have on Puffin). Tomorrow's destination is Beaufort, SC, one of my favorite places on the ICW.

ICW trip 2012-2013
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New Teakettle Creek II
03/27/2013

Although still breezy, the wind had gone down in the morning, and it was forecast that it would go down further to 10/15 kt during the day. While I was filling a water tank I met a cruising couple on a Tartan 3800, "Quest", who had kept their boat for many years at the same marina in Baltimore where I keep Curlew. I left Brunswick at 1045. After a few hours I got stuck behind a convoy of a slow moving trawler and two catamarans. As I was not going too far today, and we had to navigate a couple of narrow and shallow channels (and on an outgoing tide too), I decided to slow down and stay behind them. The Little Mud River was the shallowest part, and I hit it right at low tide. Puffin II only draws 3'8" but we saw no less than 6 ft in this area. I dropped anchor in the New Teakettle Creek at 1545, in almost the exact same spot where Greg and I anchored on our way south.

ICW trip 2012-2013
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Brunswick Landing Marina
03/25/2013

It was only a short trip of an hour and a half to the Brunswick Landing Marina. We timed our departure to coincide with an ebbing tide on the Brunswick River. Although we would then have the current against us, we would avoid the rough conditions when a 25 kt wind blows against a strong current. In the PM the wind increased to gale force. The wind generator in the mizzen mast of the old yawl in a slip near us screamed like a banshee.

I needed to provision for the next part of the trip, and we walked the 2 miles to the nearest Winn-Dixie supermarket. People here do speak a different kind of English the version I am used to. When I ordered sliced turkey at the deli counter, the lady asked me how I wanted it sliced. "Thin", I answered. "Thick?", she responded. "No", I repeated, "thin". "Thick?". No, "THIN". Kevin, who is from Springfield, IL, translated: "Thijun!" he said. The lady smiled, and responded, "Oh, Thijun!"
Later we had a few beers and a burger at a local bar, Tipsy McSway's.

The next day Kevin left at 0530 to catch his early flight back home. It was good to have him aboard. He is always good company and an excellent crewmember too.
I stayed in the marina all next day waiting for the blow to subside. It was a good opportunity to do laundry, defrost the fridge and check the engine room. It kept blowing like stink all day and the temperature did not get much above 50F. I walked the streets (two) of Brunswick. It's the same sad story with all these small old towns: More empty storefronts than active businesses. The few shops that were still in business (among which a bookstore and a wine store) were deserted. The recent cold blooded shooting that killed a 13 month old baby after the mother refused to hand over money to a bunch of 17 year old kids is not going to make this town more attractive for visitors.

I had good dinner at a nice Thai restaurant, Basil Thai and Sushi Bar.

ICW trip 2012-2013
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Jekyll Island
03/24/2013

Today the weather had moderated somewhat and we were underway at 1030. The forecast was not good, though. A strong cold front was on its way that could bring gale force winds later in the day and into the next. Kevin had to be back in Ft Lauderdale no later than noon on Tuesday. Brunswick seemed to be our best bet for him to get to transportation.

ICW trip 2012-2013
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Thunderstorms in St Augustine
03/23/2013

Anchor up at 0720. The weather was deteriorating and we decided to go only as far as St. Augustine. We got there at 1400. After loading diesel fuel, water and getting a pump-out at the marina we proceeded to our mooring, which was all the way at the bottom of the mooring field. Showers and thunderstorms had been predicted, and we had barely secured Puffin or all hell broke loose. Thunder, lightning, torrential rain and hail, and gale force winds. Fortunately most of the storms had abated later that evening, and we launched the dinghy to go ashore. We were running low on beer and were going to have dinner ashore. Nice dinner and (too much) wine at the A1A bar and restaurant.

ICW trip 2012-2013
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Daytona Beach
03/22/2013

Anchor up at 0830. On this northerly course the fluxgate compass showed significant deviation again, due to the proximity of the galvanized steel water heater that I put in last fall. I had run a few compensation turns some time ago, but that did not compensate enough. I guess I have to replace the water heater again, and buy a stainless steel one instead this time. Anchored off Daytona Beach at 1815.

ICW trip 2012-2013
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Who: Thierry Danz
Port: Philadelphia, PA
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