Sunday, November 7, 2010

Mile Hammock Bay to Charleston, SC and points inbetween

Tuesday, Nov 2
Distance travel:  36.32 nm
Total Distance:  1208.35 nm
Phil at Wrightsville Beach (when it was still warm)
Wrightsville Beach, NC

This morning we woke early to increased winds from yesterday and 60F inside the boat.  We raised the anchor at 706am to twilight skies, winds N 8-15 knots.  Phil let out the head sail at 8am.  There were many boats that had already left the anchorage and were leaving like we were to get an early start to make it to Wrightsville Beach, which is the next big anchorage and also marina location down the ICW.  There was still the parade of boats going down the ICW.  We had boats in front and behind us and were passed many times during the day by sail boats and power boats.  M/V Side by Side whom we had met in Hampton, VA, was the first one through the 2nd of the 3 bridges, so was able to power ahead of the sailboats, which I'm sure they were glad for.  There is an etiquette involved when motor boats are passing sail boats.  Typically the motorboat hails the sailboat on Channel 16 and requests to pass either on the sailboat's port or starboard side.  Usually it's port.  Then as the motor boat comes up to the stern of the sailboat, the sailboat slows WAY DOWN, so that the power boat go slow and not make too much of a wake.  It also enables the motorboat to pass fairly quickly.  Then once the sailboat is passed,  you increase the RPM of the motor to pick up speed and turn towards the stern of the powerboat so that you can get through their wake and behind them so that you are in the upside down "V" part of the wake and in smoother water.  Understand that yesterday and today, this happened many times - 10 times or more.  We ended up in Wrightsville Beach anchorage, but it was a little tricky getting there.  First time we tried the Motts Channel, Phil hugged the red marker on Port a little too close and we hit bottom.  We saw one of the other bigger sailboats get through the channel ok being closer to the green marker on starboard and after we got off the bottom that's what we did without misshap.  The as we went through another area, we were too close to the red marker and almost hit ground.  We almost gave up and went to a marina, but tried again closer to the green and were ok.  This channel had a few sharp turns and there was shoaling that wasn't clear on the GPS.  Once we got into deeper water, we anchored about 140pm.  We did get into the dinghy to go to the local grocery store. 
Watching the surfers on Wrightsville Beach, NC
Along the way, was a path to the beach so Phil and I went to the beach for a little while. We sat on a bench and watch some surfers try their luck with the waves coming in.  It was pretty chilly so they had on their wet suits.  Better them than me I say.  Toooo cold for me.  The local grocery store wasn't as well stocked as Skipper Bob led us to believe so we weren't able to get everything on our list, but it was still helpful.

Surfers on Wrightsville Beach, NC

We also spoke to Colin Mills and found out that he shipped the items from Fairport Storage to us for us to received in Beaufort, SC.  We thank him very much for all his efforts and him dismantling the 2nd folding bike to get it in a smaller box so the shipping cost us much less.  Now we'll have foul weather gear for Katie and any other visitors and we'll be able to bike together.

We also heard from our cruising friends, Ken and Jeanne on Sail Away and found out they're in a marina that's changed ownership in Bucksport, SC.  The marina is closed but it's ok for them to dock there and use the electricity, so they'll be there for 2 days.  Hope we can meet up with them later in the trip.

Changes anchored at Wrightsville Beach, NC
We also had a nice long conversation with Glenn and stocks.  He gave us some recommendations that we're going to try to follow.  He sounds good I'm glad to say.  We also want to wish Phil's daughter, Victoria, Happy Birthday.  Phil did get a chance to talk to her and sounds like she had a good day.  After her stay on our boat, her small house in California seemed big, but that didn't last for long.  She once again wants a bigger house, and I don't blame her at all.  Good luck with finding a house Vic.

Wednesday, Nov 3
Distance Traveled:  62.83 nm
Total Distance:  1271.18
Little River, SC

Yesterday when we got to Wrightsville Beach early afternoon, we thought that we didn't want to stop too early in the day today.  What we didn't really count on when we started the day, was that it was going to be our longest day yet, windy and cold.  We woke at 630am to 65F inside.  By 745am we had raised the anchor and it was a day that we didn't have any dew on the boat - unusual.  It was cloudy, at 810am the wind was N 10-12 knots.  By 824am we passed ICW MM 285.  We got to Southport at 1145am and decided to keep on going.  I felt like something warm for lunch and made the Spanish Rice Casserole (recipe from my Mom) in the oven. We ate it all at one sitting.  We entered the Cape Fear River and Phil said we were going 9mph!! with the current.  Normal speed is 6 knots.  We also got a current boost at Lockswood Folly inlet for us to be going 7.4 mph per the GPS.  We hit MM325 @ 222pm and MM 330 @ 310pm and Shoulette Inlet at 320pm.  It seems like coming up to an Inlet (opening to the ocean) the current slows us down, but then you get past the Inlet, and the current speeds up 1 to 1.5+ mph.  BTW, Phil changed the GPS to mph to correspond to the ICW being in statute miles and kept the speed on the boat as knots, which is why you see me differentiating them now.  The last bridge that we had to go through was the Sunset Beach Pontoon Bridge that opens only on the hour and wouldn't you know, we missed the 4pm opening by 10 min!  So we had to jill around for 50 min and made it through by 507pm.  By this time, I was calling around to marinas in Little River, SC.  Most of them were closed at 5pm, but Myrtle Beach Yacht Club and Marina was open and the dockmaster was very kind and stayed late to help us dock at the fuel dock at 630pm during twilight.  He quickly showed us the laundry and restrooms and then went home.  We decided to stay at a marina, because it had been raining on and off, we were cold and needed a shower and to wash clothes.  We put the heater on and it was also wonderful to have a warm boat!!  The dockmaster said there was no rush to leave in the morning as he didn't think there would be someone there getting fuel too early.

Leaving harbor for Myrle Beach YC & Marina
For supper I warmed up leftovers of Brats, potatoes, kraut and rutabaga in the ziploc bag/hot water method. Just the night for them as who feels like cooking after a long day.   After we started the loads of clothes, we took showers.  It was great to take a warm shower, and these were good ones in every way.  Only after you go cruising, do you really appreciate a warm shower.  Then we dried and folded clothes and then after reading a little, went to bed at 11 - 1130pm.  Late for us.
Thursday, Nov 4
Distance Traveled:  36.06 nm
Total Distance:  1271.18
Bucksport, SC
Bucksport Plantation Marina (closed)

This morning we woke to serious fog - 3/4 mi visability on the ICW and a little south, the visibility in Myrtle Beach was 1/2 mile.  I had run out of black thread working on Calvin's quilt and by using Google Maps, saw there was a fabric store "Big Barn Fabrics" 1.5 miles away that was to be open at 9am.   Phil had some boat chores that he wanted to get done, so he got out the folding bike for me and I started biking down the road about 845am.  I brought with me my auto GPS but didn't use it as I was worried about how much the battery was charged and holding it while riding the bike.  I had to go on old Rt 17, which is a busy 2 lane each direction road.  Here there was no extra bern off the road to ride on so I was riding on the grass - up hill - half the time.  I came to the first intersection and continued on through 2 more and then turned left.  I thought that the fabric store would be just a little way down, but it wasn't - I passed the local high school and thought something was wrong.  I called the store and no answer - maybe it was closed down.  I called Phil and saw a Napa Auto Parts store in the distance, so rode there to get 2 spare belts for the Alternator.  While I was there, the salesman told me that the fabric store opens at 10am and is just down the street. I started down the street and by this time I was really thirsty and stopped at what I thought was a general store to get a bottle of water - and behold - it was different than I expected inside.  Turns out that I stopped at RW Woods Grill and General store.  An older gentleman (looked in his late 70's to early 80's) was at the cash register and was very welcoming.  I think he was the owner.  To the right was a counter and grill cooks behind.  There were basic grocery items there and lots of cold drinks to choose from, but there were also several wooden tables and chairs.  Along the top of the wall were many football helmets each in their own little cubby enclosed in glass.  I got a bottle of water and decided that this was a good place to wait for the fabric store to open and have some breakfast that I missed trying to get out quickly.  I went close to the counter and another older gentleman (I learned later is Mr. Woods) struck up a conversation with me.  I saw that the breakfast special was 2 eggs, grits, sausage or bacon and toast for $3.89.  I asked the younger man behind the counter if I could have the special without the grits and he said "That's not the special then".  He did give me what I wanted, but it cost a little more too!  I just didn't want to throw out grits as being a Yankee - I don't eat grits!!  Since Mr Wood and I were still talking, I joined him at the table.  We had a nice conversation and I asked him to sign one of my quilt squares (just happened to have it in my backpack).  He gave it back and then said, "but I didn't put my phone number on it so you can call me"  Know he was kidding, I go to get the square out of my backpack for him to put it on - telling him that I could call him on our way back in the spring.  He said that's ok - and I don't have his phone number.  He got up to leave and 30 min had passed, enough time for me to continue on my way. 

I rode down the street and was able to find the fabric store.  I got off my bike to wait and decided to call my sister on the phone.  While I was talking, the woman heard me inside and opened the store for me 5 min early.  This fabric store had many kinds of fabric inside, quilting and upholstery being included.  I have to say that I restrained myself VERY WELL - there was some of the green fabric that I used in Henry's quilt to back each of the squares that I really wanted to have and another fabric that had a brown background and coral colored baby crabs, which would have made a great border for a theme quilt, but I restrained myself.  I bought the black thread and other some other basic colors.  They did have a what you would put inside while making piping for outdoor cushions that I'm very interested in.  I have it set up that if I want to buy this later, to call them and they will bill me on my credit card over the phone and mail it to me.  Great!  I really would like to have new foam for the seat cushions for the settees and recover all the cushions.  I started home by 1015am and it turns out that the first intersection is the one I was suppose to turn left at, so I went WAY out of my way to get there.  The boat was only a 5 min ride from the fabric store.  It was good exercise.

I made it back to the boat about 1020am, the fog had lifted, and we left the dock at 1034am making it out of the harbor at 1043am.  While I was gone Phil had filled the water tanks and bought diesel.    We are back to brownish water in the ICW, so think that it's brackish water again.  We have 4 bridges to go through today and also the "Rock Pile" which is a section of the ICW that has rocks on both sides of the channel underwater. 
Rock Pile part of ICW
Sign warning of danger

Cat on the rocks - went out of the channel
Story of the above photo.  This cataraman had been anchored directly behind us in Mile Hammock Bay,  They are French Canadians and it looks like that got out of the channel and are rested on the rocks.  I expected that they had to wait for high tide to hopefully float off.  Haven't seen them since but hope everything worked out for them.

Unfortunately, by 1150am it started to rain - hard.  Phil was at the helm for a while as I was nervous about this part of the ICW.  He got really wet with the rain pants and no boots but he said that he wasn't cold.  When I took over, I wore boots, but also had the rain pants.  Turns out not to be a good decision as our pants were wet underneath.  They aren't heavy duty enough in heavy rain.    We continued in the rain until we made it to Bucksport Plantation Marina with many boats at it's docks.  Ken and Jeanne on Sail Away decided to stay an extra day because of the fog and rain, so we have met up with them again.  Fortunately for them, they had electricity.  Unfortnately for us, we didn't as the outlets where we were docked weren't working.  Too bad as we had many clothes that were soaked.   Phil's shoes, socks and pants were wet and hanging up inside the boat - we had the foul weather gear inside the head and then later in the salon.  My jeans and long underwear were wet, so they were hanging up also. 
At the marina, we were able to meet up with many friends and make new friends.  They had organized a potluck held in a covered patio by the restrooms, so I made a rice/grain with ground beef dish in the pressure cooker and got there a little late.  We met up with Bill and Laura Soulier of S/V Second Wind whom we had met at the potluck in Oriental, NC.  Janice and Greg May of S/V Glenice wasn't there as Greg had cut his hand and had to make a detour to a hospital it get it looked at.  Docked behind us was David and Peggy King on  S/V Simplicity a Fountain-Pijot, Venecia cataraman (same one that we chartered for Phil and Terri's honeymoon in Belize).  We also talked with Rob and Sue, Mary and Richard Clow who have done a circumnavigation around the world, Cpt David Reuter on S/V Password, Carson and Hope Green on S/V Carson G II  have also done a circumnavigation.  Joe and Debi Long were also there on S/V Kajon and she was kind enough to take some of my rice dish so Phil and I would have it for leftovers more than one time.  Laura and Bill gave us a tour of their boat, an 43' Endeavor and that's my next boat that I want.  Now how to finance it :)  Laura also has 2 sewing machines on her boat and showed me the homemade quilts that she has.  When we went to sleep it was still cold and raining.  Hopefully tomorrow will be a nicer day.

Friday, Nov 5
Distance Traveled:  28.92 nm
Total Distance:  1336.18nm
To Georgetown, SC

This morning the skies were blue when we woke at 745am but it was 57F inside the boat.  Burrrrr.  By the time we left the dock about 830am, there were only 3 boats left.   We weren't concerned about a real early start as our destination today was Georgetown, SC about 30 miles away.  The trip to Georgetown was uneventful, but you sure could smell when getting we were getting close as there is a paper mill in town and you can smell it  more than a mile away.  We picked up a mooring ball, called a marina and found out it was a private ball.  We waited for someone to come up to us and no one did, so we had it for free.  Sail Away anchored not too far from us.  We also saw that Simplicity and Kajon anchored here also. The Piggly Wiggly grocery store was 1 mile away and we heard that the store manager will come to pick sailors up to take them there and back.  They weren't able to pick us up, but the manager was willing to drive us home.  On went the backpacks and Phil carried the folding rolling crate as we walked to the store.  There are many nice shops downtown even though we didn't stop at any and it was a nice walk to the store.  We did a lot of provisioning, and were grateful for the Store Manager driving us back.  While we were in the meat department, we noticed that there were a lot of smoked meats, pigs feet and chicken feet.  We're talking about 12-15 linear feet of meat counter full of smoked meat.  Also we were looking at the hotdogs and the meat stocker said that the highest rated were Nathans and Hebrew Nationals and he doesn't stock either of them as they are $4/pkg instead of his popular selling chicken hotdogs at $1.29/pkg.  We bought their $1.29/pkg and will let you know how they taste as Phil wanted pork and beans with hotdogs one meal.  I guess their clientele doesn't have a lot of money.

Ken from Sail Away was kind enough to ask if we wanted shrimp when he and Jeanne went to the local seafood store, which we did at $6.99/lb for their largest size.  He got us 2 pounds.  They came over for supper (was a joint effort for food) and then we played Canasta. We played 2 rounds with the guys winning the first round and the ladies winning the 2nd.  Joe from Kajon also stopped by in his dinghy and gave me a bag of shrimp with the heads on and a bottle of sweet red wine as a thank you for the rice for Debi.  He had gotten it from Nick at a local restaurant down the creek.  I don't mind shrimp with the heads on as I was use to it from my days of living in New Orleans. My boyfriend at the time, Herb, showed me a seafood market on the West Bank where you get the seafood from the fisherman themselves, and they always came with the heads on - I digress.

Phil and I have been debating about going outside (on the Atlantic Ocean) from Winyah Bay to Charleston Harbor or all the way to Port Royal Sound.  I'm more in favor of it and Phil isn't given the weather (somewhat ok winds and cold weather).  We spoke to Rick Butler, the SSCA (Seven Seas Cruising Association) Cruising Host for Beaufort, SC.  In the end, Rick suggested that we go on the ICW as at this time of the year any winds greater than 15 knots he considers strong for our size boat and it's cold.  It's to be in the low to mid 30's at night for the next couple nights and highs in the upper 50's to low 60's.  So we decided to take Rick's advice and continue on the ICW.

Saturday, Nov 6
Distance Traveled:  51.77nm
Total Distance:  1387.95nm
To Dewees Creek
condensation starboard window

starboard window another view
We woke at 730am to a clear sky and cold weather. It was 54F inside the boat and colder outside.  We had lots of condensation on the ports and I took a photo hoping it would turn out. 
Sea Smoke in Georgetown anchorage

There was sea smoke on the water which was being blown down the creek.  We raised the anchor at 825am - after Sail Away had left.  The winds at 845am were NW 8 knots.  When we crossed Winyah Bay Phil saw winds gust to 27 knots but once we got into Estherville Minim Creek Canal, they decreased to the mid teens.  I spent most of the morning deheading and peeling shrimp,  getting done between 1030am and 11am.  I have a digital scale on the boat, so we ended up with almost 12 oz of shrimp from Joe and 1# 9oz of the larger shrimp we bought.  I asked Phil if he wanted me to take a watch or to make Shrimp Bisque.  He wanted me to take a short watch and then make the soup, and that's what we did.  The Shrimp Bisque turned out very good tasting.  I used my new hand food processor which did cut up the vegetables and shrimp, but wasn't able to get it smooth like if I had an electric blender, but Phil likes chunky soup so all is good and I know that it works. I made grilled cheese sandwiches to go along and tide us over as I don't have white rice, so the cooking took 20 min longer than planned for the brown rice.  After lunch, I took a longer watch.  Ken from Sail Away hailed us on the radio and let us know that they were at marker 455, so we went past  Whiteside Creek where Kajon and Password were anchoring and continued on to Dewees Creek.  The  water at this anchorage was about 16-18' feet, the deepest that we've been in.  We dropped anchor at 430pm and then I cooked roast beef with cabbage, carrots, onion in the pressure cooker - actually forgot about the potatoes and there wasn't room in the 4qt pressure cooker by that time.  Phil peeled the potatoes and we cooked them separately.  I made an Roman apple cake for dessert.  Ken and Jean came over and we played 10 Penny.   I know that my friends at home are saying "Don't Buy!" - will they ever let me live that down?   NO :)  After two rounds, Ken rowed them back to their boat and they made it ok.  This was a concern as the current took them 20 feet past Changes when they came over and Ken had to row like heck to get back to us.

Phil talked to Kay Herdman and his sister, Virginia today and we found out that Northern Ohio got snow.  We're glad that we didn't get snow, but we're pretty cold too, especially living on a boat without heat.  My solution as you've probably guessed is to cook and heat up the boat with the heat of the stove.  Works well, but we've found that have to crack the companionway hatch to let the steam out.  Before supper it was 66F in the boat and after it got to the mid to upper 70's.  Warm enough temporarily that I needed to take off my many layers.  Last night I put the flannel top sheet on and got out my flannel PJ's.  Really made a big difference in my comfort last night.  I didn't need to put on the third quilt.

Sunday, Nov 7
Distance Traveled:  16.54nm (shortest day)
Total Distance:  1404.49nm
Charleston, SC
First time wearing the red hat
We forgot to set back our clocks, but my watch changed to the correct time for the Fall Back time change.  We woke at 7am (new time) and it was 54F inside the boat.  Weather reports stated that it was from 31 - 36F outside.  Of course we had the mass condensation inside the boat on the overhead and ports.  The strength of the wind had increased as we could hear it more clearly inside the boat and last night we couldn't hear it.  Phil put on his red watch cap for the first time and also put on his winter coat.
Pelican as entering Charleston Harbor
  We raised anchor at 730am and Sail Away was long gone.  Winds were NW 9-11knots and we were almost going upwind in the channels.  I called the Charleston Maritime Center to see if they had a dock - all full.  Then I called the Harborage at Ashley Marina and they had a dock they would save for us.  Give them a hail on channel 16 when we get closer.  I called Sail Away and let them know the above and later I heard them hailing Ashley Marina and they also were able to get a dock.  We passed through the Ben Sawyer Bridge at 9am, timing it perfectly so we didn't have to jill around.  They only open on the hour.  We noticed that S/V Blue Yonder was going through just behind us and then passed us 5 minutes later.  Phil noticed they were flying the red SSCA bungee on their boat.  He think that they are commodores for the SSCA.
As we entered Charleston Harbor, there were some Pelicans fishing and flying close by.We docked at 1015am at D18.  Sail away is at D28 and Kajon is at D32.  While we were checking in, I noticed that Missing Link was docked at D5.  They are from Geneva, Ohio and I've been hoping that we would catch up to them sometime soon.  They weren't on the boat, but a I left them a note to come see us or call.

One of the first items on my agenda today was to take a shower and wash clothes.  I figured that I could start clothes at the laundry on premises, take my shower while they were washing and then put them in the dryer and do something else.  It worked out, but we had used up our quarters at Myrtle Beach YC & Marina so I had to walk down the docks to the end of D dock to get quarters at the marina office.  I had left my shower stuff upstairs, so quick as I could I start a load of clothes.  Then by the time I got up to the shower, someone was about to take a shower, but she let me go first.  I came out and spoke with another woman who had been working on her boat.  I also met Meg from S/V White Seal, mother of Mary who let me take the shower first.  We got to talking as I do, and somehow we got to talking about haircuts.  I mentioned that I have my Flowbee and offered to cut her hair with it while my clothes dried in the dryer.  Back to the boat I went and along the way I met Chris and Mike Link from S/V The Missing Link.  Mike had been talking to Phil and Chris met me at the restroom house an his recommendation.  We talked some as I went back to the boat and decided we would try to meet up later as they decided to stay another night here.  I was able to cut Meg's hair and showed Mary how it worked.  Meg seemed happy to have shorter hair and it's been a challenge for her to get her hair cut on the trip.  Mike is a retired CEI guy and knows Jim Lynch.  Chris is did blood testing in Madison.

While I was doing my thing described above, Phil took the daily 2pm shuttle to West Marine.  Chris told me that there is a nice grocery store close to West Marine.  Phil just said there is a nice one close to here, but we are set for provisions at this time.  Phil got back before the clothes were dried and was able to exchange the broken new battery charger with a new one.  He also got a new florescent light to replace the one that broke on the port side of the salon and also got a foot pump for the sea water intake into the sink.  He bought some yellow rescue tape on the recommendation of the West Marine Sales person.  The yellow paint on the anchor chain is almost off and it's difficult to see how much chain is out.  So one of the jobs on the list tomorrow is to bring up the anchor chain, wash it off, let it dry and I'll apply the yellow tape around the links on the chain.  We'll mark at 30 feet and mark every 10 feet.  We also want to walk around Historic Charleston.  John and Karen Gaag, who are Harbor 220 partners, live here and we were able to connect with them thanks to Kathy Christian.  We are going out to supper with them tomorrow, so will be splurging and staying another day here at the marina.  They have a freeze warning for tonight, so will be glad to be able to have heat for another day.

I had another errand to do today, in that my I pod nano was having the sound go through the head phones and the outside speaker at the same time and didn't have the stereo sound.  Lucky for me there is an Apple store 1.5 mi away.  Phil put the folding bike together for me and I rode over.  They were able to see me and even though they don't have a red ipod nano in stock, they gave me a hot pink one  and a new cover!  I have been spending time now charging and updating the new Ipod so that I have music and my ebooks on it and updating the blog.

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