We left Hilton Head via the Port Royal Sound and Inlet at around 9:30 am yesterday morning. NOAA weather indicated winds 10-15 from the north (following seas which is good) and 2-3 foot waves. Once we were out into the ocean we were getting wind from the south right into our bow (which is not good). By late afternoon the wind had still not shifted. Lots of other boats thinking as we did - it would be better to go offshore and bypass Georgia based on weather prediction.
We motor sailed (sails up and motor running) most of the day then right after the sun set the engine quit. Checked everything we could think of to figure out the problem, did not overheat, had enough fuel, etc. This was done in 5-8 foot seas and winds 15-20 mph right on our bow. We will call this Type 3 Fun (I'll explain later). So, we lowered the main and had about ½ the genoa (head sail) out so we could maintain our course and keep moving. We spent the entire night trying to stay in the trough between the 5-8 foot waves but still getting tossing around significantly. About once an hour 'Anan Cara' would call us by radio to get our Lat and Lon and course heading so they could monitor us.
We finally made it to the entrance of the St. Mary's River at around 9:00 am this morning. We tried restarting the engine several times during the night but it wouldn't restart. We knew we didn't want to try and sail into the river so we called TowBoat US once we were at the buoyed channel to go into the river. The Coast Guards heard our radio chatter and comes out to baby-sit us until the tow boat arrived. We think they decided to do this since at the same time a Navy nuclear sub was coming out the river right by us and going out to sea.
So, we are now at the Fernandina Harbor Marina waiting on a diesel engine mechanic to arrive to find out what the problem is.
Long story short - Maggie on 'Oh By Joyful' called their experience a few days ago of the rudder cable breaking, going aground and a line getting wrapped around their prop "Type 2 Fun" meaning - not fun while it is happening, only when looking back. So, we decided to call ours "Type 3 Fun" - meaning not fun while happening and doubt we will ever look back and call it fun.
It was so rough out there for about 15 hours that it is the first time both Bill and I chummed the fish (seasick). We are hoping that all our "Type 3 Fun" is behind us and will only have "Type 1 Fun" from here on out.
WELCOME TO FLORIDA!!
11/08/2010, Hilton Heach Island, SC
We stayed an extra day at Wimbee Creek due to thick fog this morning and threat of thunderstorms. Bill is a happy camper; he is fishing and just caught a blue crab. "Sparky" (Bill's nick name for the crab) is now in a bucket in hopes that he will have friends to join him soon. No friends found, Sparky lives! (Bill threw him back).
As we sit here Bill and I are discussing/reflecting on our first 90 days of our adventure. As with most things there are positives and negatives. Biggest negative is missing family; biggest positive is all the new people we have met. There have been good days and bad days. Good days are: not going aground, seeing our first dolphins, visiting new places and all the people who have been so great with their help, guidance, friendship and generosity. Bad days are: going aground, inconsiderate speeding boaters, two people living in a very small space and at times under very stressful situations.
Stayed at the Downtown Marina at Beaufort, SC. Nice town. Marina has a courtesy car so we used it to go to the grocery store. Stocked up on beer and cigarettes.
11/6/10 - 11/8/10
We followed Mike & Francie on 'Anam Cara' to the Skull Creek Marina on Hilton Head Island, SC. Francie found a deal for this marina on Active Captain, pay for one night get the second night free. Francie and Mike invited us to their boat for dinner, great dinner with dessert and a birthday candle for me to blow out. Thanks guys!
Bill & I walked to the Boat House bar and restaurant which is just outside "The Plantation". To leave here and get back they require us to have a pass and go through a guard gate (armed guards). Guess they take their security seriously around here. We watched the last quarter of the Vikings game. Mike joined us for a couple of beers.
Maggie, Chris & Tom on 'Oh Be Joyful' showed up yesterday. They had contacted us when they were outside Beaufort with some mechanical problems so didn't know if we would see them or not. We all got together on 'Anam Cara' to catch up on 'Oh Be Joyful' adventures since we last saw them. Tom (Maggie's cousin) will be leaving them in Savannah to go back to Colorado where he has a job at a ski resort waiting for him. It was great seeing them again.
We have heard from several sources that Georgia has lots of shoaling areas so we have decided we are tired of white knuckle days (stress of not knowing if we will go aground on the next turn), along with the cold weather and will follow 'Anam Cara' and go offshore to avoid the ICW in Georgia and get farther south. It will be an all nighter, about 120 miles, from Hilton Head Island to Fernandina Beach, Florida.
My next blog should be from Florida!
11/03/2010, Wimbee Creek, SC
Left the anchorage at Tom Point Creek (MM 495) went aground at MM 512. Charts indicated 12 feet of water but went from 18 feet to 3.5 feet within seconds. Paul & Gaynor on Meridian made a valiant effort in trying to pull us off but we were stuck. Kedging didn't help either. We had to wait about 5 hours for high tide to float us off.
After getting going again we are now at another anchorage located on Wimbee Creek, off Bull River at MM 521. Weather indicates rain and thunderstorms tonight and all day tomorrow then for the next week lots of sunshine.
Still seeing lots of dolphins, several sightings each day.
11/02/2010, Charleston, SC
We had a great time in Charleston, spending Saturday, Sunday and Monday night at the Charleston City Marina. We did all the touristy things in the historic area; toured a house built in 1825, walked along the Battery, visited several really old cemeteries (on Halloween), did a tour at the Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon. I really like Charleston a lot and was glad to visit again. The marina has a free shuttle van which was really nice. We ate out several times but can't really say we had great food, guess we didn't eat at the right places or something.
Thank you to all for the happy birthday wishes........they say 60 is the new 40...........I absolutely agree!!!
Left Charleston this morning and now anchored out at Tom Point Creek (ICW MM 495) along with about 10 other boats. Next stop will be Beaufort, SC.
10/29/2010, Price Creek
As it turned out "The Rockpile" was noneventful, no groundings :). Wednesday night we anchored at Prince Creek (ICW Mile Marker 382). We were the only ones there, very peaceful and quiet. Thursday night we stayed at Hazzard Marine in Georgetown, SC. Nice town and marina. Georgetown is the third oldest city in South Carolina. Unlike many small towns we have visited this one seemed to be doing much better financially. The town has lots of restored buildings and homes with many almost 300 years old. We stopped at a fish market and bought 2 pounds of fresh shrimp which we plan on eating when anchored tomorrow night.
Tonight (Friday) we are anchored in Price Creek, just north of Charleston by about 35 miles (ICW Mile Marker 448). The thrill of the day was having a dolphin swimming along side the boat!! We saw 2 alligators; good sized ones around 6 feet each.
We had shrimp on the barbie tonight. Bill is a happy camper tonight; we are finally in a location that he is actually catching fish. Well, 2 very small stingrays and 5 unidentifiable fish (no keepers) so far. One of the stingrays stung his wrist when he tried to get it off the hook - hopefully he won't pull a Steve Irwin!
Tomorrow we will be in Charleston. We plan on spending 3 nights there, great city.
I received an email from someone at Northern Breezes magazine saying they have been following our blog and asked if they could use some of the material, I replied and said sure. If anyone happens to see anything in the magazine in the future let me know.
10/26/2010, Little River, SC
It's been several days since I have written in the blog. When we left Beaufort, NC we anchored out the next two nights - Mile Hammock and Wrightsville Beach. Both were good anchorages. The Mile Hammock anchorage is right next to Camp Lejeune (military base). They must have been practicing since we heard lots of explosions for several hours. Wrightsville Beach anchorage is right in the town. Popular spot to anchor, there was at least 15 other boats also anchored there. We took the dinghy to the town dinghy dock and walked around, had not very good Mexican food.
After we left Wrightsville we stayed the night at St. James Marina in Southport NC. Problem with not writing for the blog within a day or so of each new location I am starting to forget the details of the places we have been. Don't remember a single thing about St. James!!
We are now in South Carolina at the Coquina Yacht Club just outside North Myrtle Beach. We planned on staying here two nights but have decided to extend for another day to do some boat maintenance projects. Nice marina with reasonable price - $1.05/foot with Boat US members. Sunday night we took a taxi to Fat Harold's. Fat Harold's is well known in this area for what is called Beach Music and Shag dancing. It has been about 15 years since I lived in SC but still love Beach Music and watching people Shag. We came back to the marina early to watch the Vikings play Green Bay on the TV in the yacht club lounge. Yesterday we rented a car and just did the typical touristy walking around Myrtle Beach. It rained off and on all day which gave us an excuse to make several stops to have beers/cocktails (like we need an excuse!).
The last week on the ICW has been a little unnerving (to say the least) due to all the boats who love to zoom by causing our boat to drastically rock and the shallow water areas. The water goes from 15 feet to 4 feet in the blink of an eye, lots of shoaling areas particularly around inlets, junctions of other rivers and drainage ditches. Anyone going through this area I would highly recommend carefully reading the navigation sections of the cruising guides which provides info on the known shoaling areas. We have the ICW Waterway Guide which is very helpful. Unfortunately, one area not noted in the guide is where we landed in 3 ½ feet of water (luckily sand bottom)..........stuck and unable to get off it. We hailed on the radio a passing power boat and for the first time ever actually asked for a wake (hoping it might push us to deeper water). They did give us a pretty good wake but we were still stuck. So, we had two options - wait for high tide or call TowBoatUS. Since high tide was not for another 4 hours we elected to call for a tow. The towing guy was there and had us in deeper water in about a half an hour. I highly recommend having unlimited towing insurance for the ICW. The cost for just one tow ($13/foot and $168/hour) exceeds the annual cost for unlimited towing insurance. For the next 20 miles we will be going through an area on the ICW called "The Rockpile", definitely do not want to go aground there.