Anchored in Rock Creek
Mike and Kathy
11/15/2007, Rock Creek, SC
Out of Charleston... November 14th
Leaving Charleston on the ICW there is a restricted bridge that is closed during rush hour. 9:00 am is its first opening of the day which gave us an extra hour or so to waste drinking coffee. Today's trip was almost entirely in marshland, swamp, or low country, depending on where you are from. We traveled various rivers and creeks which were connected by short channels. Even when in one of the wider rivers, we had to constantly keep an eye on the GPS and sounder to stay within the deeper water.
In places there were nice homes with amazingly long docks... 300 to 400 yards, out into the river. Most of the time though we were motoring through what seemed to be one huge marsh. Although there were very few trees, we did see Spanish moss for the first time as well a natural palm trees (Let me interject, I think they're called palmettos). We had the occasional dolphin for company, but so far no alligators.
We stopped for the night at Rock Creek with about five other boats. Rock Creek is about 20 miles from Beaufort, SC and just outside the Ashepoo - Coosaw cut which, at the point where this cut dumps into the Coosaw, there is a shoaling problem. We can only get through by waiting for the tide. Our plan is to attack this spot at about 8:30 as the tide is coming in... that way if we have a problem the rising tide will lift us off.
There is a cold front coming through with forecast winds of 20 to 24 mph...which doesn't even phase us after staying at anchor as hurricane Noel passed at sea.
Kathy here..I am the editor of Mike's writing (and I do miss some things), this seems to be the pattern we have fallen into of late. I just want to say that today was a shorts and t-shirt day and when we got anchored I thoroughly enjoyed sitting in the cockpit, watching the tide go out and listening to the birds. We also had another beautiful sunset.
A great city
Mike and Kathy
11/13/2007, Charleston, SC
Charleston with Scott and Meg - November 10-13
The morning was spent putting Sapphire in shape for a visit for Scott and Meg. I went to shore with trash and had a nice visit with the "Madcap" Sailors who also are entertaining this weekend. Our long time friends arrived around noon and after getting situated, we were off to Market Street which is the heart of old Charleston. We wandered around most of the afternoon and evening stopping at a rooftop restaurant for a snack and then decided on the Noisy Oyster for dinner. It was cool with temps in the low 60's and a steady breeze off the water. Kathy and Meg did a little shopping at the Market, but there were too many people in a rather small area for them to spend much money.
We returned to the boat to a head (toilet) problem that just about drove us all out, but talked til midnight before finally getting to bed. The problem was fixed in the morning... but we all suffered most of the night.
With the rare opportunity of a car, we were all off to Best Buy to purchase satellite radio. We have a radio that is "satellite ready", but we really didn't know what that meant. By the time we hit the third Best Buy store, we had a reasonably good idea of what we needed and finally made the purchase. Then, it was back to the City for lunch at the King Street Grille. There was a Veterans parade going on a little later so we got the sneak preview on our way downtown. After a wonderful lunch we returned to the City Dock where we had left our dinghy and said good bye to some of our oldest friends (well, they are not the oldest, we have known them longer than most)... who had a 3 plus hour drive ahead of them to get home.
The remainder of the day was spent ... removing our radio, wiring in the new XM tuner, and then listening to Illinois Basketball as I replaced the radio and cleaned up my mess. We now have CNN, ABC and BBC news as well as about any kind of music that a person might want to listen to. We have both Right wing and Left wing ... channels, as well as books on tape and Ohpra.
We are paying $13 a month to listen to MSU Basketball without Gus.... (Who may or may not have been institutionalized since last season.) Everything else is fluff.
The old part of Charleston is just almost exactly as I pictured it. Wonderful homes, narrow streets and a mix of vegetation. Most of streets downtown are lined with palms. It was fun and friendly.
Our main goal for today was to get our laundry done... It has been too long and I was down to my last pair of jeans. There is a laundromat close by, and we there early and had all but one of the washers in use. I left Kathy there and made a trip back to the boat to pick up our water jugs which I filled at the dinghy dock and then ferried them back to the boat. Then it was back to shore to retrieve Kathy and all our clean cloths. After putting away the cloths and having lunch, we walked in to the old city for some site seeing and shopping. On our return we stopped at a nice grocery store and bought two back packs full of stuff which we then carried back to the boat.
We had a pot of chili in the refrigerator that we had planned on eating with Scott and Meg, but we ended up eating out while they were visiting.... so Steve and Carol came over in the evening to help us finish it off for supper.
Another beautiful day. The boat was soaked with dew this morning so I was down on the hull at about 7:30 to get a least on layer of salt off. Later, we hauled the dinghy on deck to attempt to fix the leak that has been bothering us for the entire trip. The seam between the tube and the fiberglass floor has been slowly coming un-glued for the last few years. If people get 10 years out of a dinghy, they are happy. Ours is a 1991 classic, one of the first Ribs (rigid bottom) ever made and it has served us well over the years (as well as the previous owners) However, we know that it needs replacing. We are trying to get just a few more months of it as we determine exactly what brand we want to purchase.
Kathy here-We had shorts and t-shirts on while reading books in the sun and waiting for the dinghy patching to dry. I also cleaned and waxed some stanchions and other stainless. When Mike thought the dinghy patch was cured, we launched the dinghy and went to shore to do a little more laundry that we couldn't really carry yesterday.
Carl and Marilyn arrived on "Discovery" this afternoon, but we have not talked to them. We are planning on leaving tomorrow to go half-way to Beaufort, SC. We are planning to go out to the ocean on Friday to head for Florida-St. Mary's maybe (which is actually Georgia). They reportedly have a fantastic Thanksgiving celebration for cruisers there.
Out in the ocean
11/10/2007, Charleston, SC
Carolina Beach to Charleston - November 8 & 9
We made a leisurely departure at around 9am today to insure that we had the current with us for our slide down the Cape Fear River. It was cold , 43 degrees, and our trip through Snow's Cut to the River reminded me that our weather has been fabulous. As soon as we left the Great Lakes the number of cloudy days was cut in half.
The Cut was a little tough with a 3kt current on the nose ... it was probably closer to 4 knots at the bridge where things channeled together. Once we made the River though, we immediately had the current with us and it built during the 2 hours that it took us to get out to the ocean. Hitting 9 knots a few times at 1500 rpms.
We were in the Atlantic at 10:45 and found north winds of about 12 knots. The sails were up and the engine off in a blink. We had a very nice sail with the wind just abaft of beam. At about 4:00 the winds slacked off and we needed the engine to push is up the back side of the swells. The sails were still helping, but the engine kept our momentum. It was dark before 6 and we had a nice meal about 9... . I tried to nap before midnight but was up checking Kathy with every new noise. (I'll work on this.) I popped some popcorn for a snack at about 11pm and we looked at stars....lots of stars. At about 2 am the wind freshened , off went the engine and we sailed the remainder of the night on main, mizzen and staysail. (No headsail because we needed to slow down to enter Charleston in daylight.)
Along the way I took lots of photos of where porpoises had just jumped ....and way too many of a wonderful sunset. Neither of us got much sleep. It was a following sea so were rolling a little and the engine is situated 6 inches from our berth. Kathy was a little nervous about ships at sea... in the dark and I was falling asleep on watch form time to time. But we were well prepared for a night at sea and had no problems. (Carl you were right of course; it would be best to avoid Snow's Cut and Cape Fear altogether.)
For those of you who may follow, the only thing we would do differently is to pack good long underwear, warm gloves, and a scarf. It wasn't really that cold but the wind is damp and after a few hours, seemed to seep in...