A Long Day with a Nice Place for a Short Stop
02 January 2011 | Hilton Head Island, SC
We set out again at first light; about 7:15 today. We made the long run out the channel from Edisto Beach. Bud had conceded that we could follow the coast, in case we decided to put in for the night. We were both dressed in several layers under full foul weather gear. I had on my sailing gloves. Bud, at the helm, had on a wool knit hat and winter gloves. We were motorsailing to start because the wind was right on the nose. I went below to check for a destination in case Bud came to his senses about sailing through the night when the temperature was supposed to drop back into the thirties. I know we want to do some extensive cruising, and I know that means days on end of sailing. But sitting alone at night in the cockpit with balmy breezes caressing your skin is bound to be better than sitting alone shivering with five layers of clothes under your foul weather gear. Even the wind seems hostile when it's cold.
Bud did concede that we should probably stop for the night. The reality of sailing in the cold has hit, and he agreed with me that sailing overnight with temperatures in the upper 30's is not the retirement we planned. However, there was a little confusion over the charts and destinations. I looked at the charts and determined that there was nowhere to stop at the distance we might want to try for a day. So I told Bud we'd have to stop at the southern end of Hilton Head Island at the Harbour Town Marina. I called and they said they could accommodate us, but said it would be best not to arrive at low tide, around 1 PM. I told them our ETA was mid afternoon, so all seemed well.
The wind moved a bit and we put out the genoa and killed the engine. We were really trying to pinch today, but still making an acceptable 4.5 knots or so. Besides, Bud looked at the electronic chart at the helm and thought at our present rate we might get there close to 1, so we didn't push. We tacked around a submerged wreck. When we got back on our original tack, I asked Bud if we would need to tack back out again, as our course was taking us fairly close to shore. He wasn't sure, but as we got closer to the channel, he decided we should go out. We were discussing how far we should go before tacking again and Bud showed me some shallow areas he was concerned about. We zoomed the chart out to get a better idea of the general picture, and I saw that this was the wrong channel. This was the channel at the north end of Hilton Head.
So we tacked out, and we ended up having to go way out. And then we pointed directly to where we needed to go, pulled in the genoa and started up the iron wind again. We needed to hurry now. To confound things, there's no way to get to Caliboque Sound without going over 4 miles past it and staying about 7 miles offshore. Now the destination I had thought would be a short day, was really a challenging day, doubly so since we spent the morning just noodling along.
We spent the next several hours on a grey ocean, under a grey sky, listening to the dulcet tones of our Lehman Peugeot. It's strange to be so far off shore that the haze is obscuring the shoreline, and still be straining your eyes for the lines of breakers that mark the shoals! Not something we're used to from Lake Ontario, that's for sure. But we avoided all the shoals and the crab pots. And we made it to the Marina at 4:50 after 55.99nm.
And what a marina it is. This certainly is the classiest spot we have been, and you can see from the picture that Fuzzy feels he fits right in. I wish we could linger among the groomed paths, the shops, tennis courts, golf courses and the very upscale condos, but at $101 per night, we think it's best to move along.