Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Back on the ICW

Saturday, April 9
Passage Beaufort, SC to Wappoo Creek
Charleston, SC
Distance Traveled:  51.43 nm
Miles to get Home:  865.90
Total Distance Traveled:  3558.43

We were sorry to say goodbye to the Butler's, but woke early so we had plenty of time to make our destination of Charleston, SC.  Rick sent us off blowing his conch horn - how wonderful - at 733am.  There winds were from 295 degrees (WNW) @ 13 kts and we had about a 1 kt adverse current.  By 1145am we were at mile marker 505 and the water was brown and brackish and we had lots of no-see-ums.  Yuk!  Good thing that I had bought the netting jackets and hood as we both used the hood and I had on long sleeve and pants to protect us from them.
using the hood to protect from no-see-ums
As we got closer to Charleston, the winds picked up to the low 20's and gusts in the upper 20's on the nose and we had 2-3ft waves in the river by 345pm.  Of course it was my watch, and I called Phil up to say that we needed to find a place to anchor.  The closest was Wappoo Creek just past Elliott Cut.  Last time we went through the cut there was terrific current and waves - this time we had the current with us thankfully so we flew through at 7.2kts, but not the waves so we made it through easily.  We were able to anchor just past it in an area that has a small island but then this wasn't easy either.  At this time we had the winds - about 15 kts in the protection and the strong tide in opposite directions.  There were 2 boats already anchored - one of the S/V Salty Paws (a cat) whom we passed when we went outside.  We tried to anchor between them, but the anchor dragged before it set.  Too close to the Cat which moves around a lot with the wind/tide.  So we raised the anchor and had better luck the 2nd try.  We were at N3245.897' W79 58.845'  The least amount of water under the keel was 2.9ft but we were ok and not too close to the other 2 boats.
Wappoo Creek anchorage
Once we were settled, Phil called John Gag to let them know we didn't quite make it to Charleston but would tomorrow and could we get together.  So we'll give them a call tomorrow once we are anchored.  Tonight I made steak, instant mashed potatoes, fresh broccoli and carrots.  Now this is the first time on the trip that I've tried instance mashed potatoes which I'm usually not fond of.  I used the potato buds and using milk to reconstitute them I have to say that they were better than I expected.  I also added cheese and garlic powder.  Good enough I have to say that I'll bring more on our next cruising trip.

The evenings entertainment was Phil reading and I knitting Phil's socks.  At least we didn't get the rain and thunderstorms that were predicted.  We heard on the weather radio of Tornado watches, but they must have gone south of us.

Sunday, April 10
Wappoo Creek to Charleston Maritime Center
Distance Traveled:  5.55nm
Miles to get home:  871.45nm
Total Distance Traveled:  3563.98nm

Phil decided last night to splurge and get a spot at a dock instead of us anchoring.  We needed to do laundry so we decided to try the Charleston Maritime Center on the Cooper River, which is closer to downtown and the ICW when we continue our trip northward.  There is the wake from the ships and traffic from the harbor, but they have heavy concrete/wood floating docks and that helps to keep the bounding to a minimum.  We were dock opposite of the Harbor Tour Boat M/V Carolina Belle.

We raised anchor at 846am with the wind from the NE @ 3 kts.  We also left at almost slack water which turned out to be 1 hour after low tide - something to remember for the next trip down.  We went through the Wappoo Creek bridge at the first 9am opening of the day and were at the red #4 marker into the harbor by 909am.  When we reserved the dock, Skip the dockmaster said that there was heavy fog in the harbor so I was glad to see that it had raised up enough that we had easy visibility.  The top of the Cooper River suspension bridge still was in fog but not at the water level which eased my mind.  By 10am as predicted, we were tied up at the dock.  My first order of business was to take a shower as Phil paid for the dock for 2 days.  I was done at 1045am and it's a good thing as the Gag's came to pick us up at 1110am for lunch at the Fleet Landing.  
Fleet Landing in front of Customs Building 
We had brunch there and then walked to the shopping area on King Street via Market and Meeting Streets.  I'm on the look for a baking stone that will fit in my oven, about 9 x 12 or 10" round.  No luck in Williams Sonomo or Charleston Cook stores.  By 230pm we had enough walking and John and Karen drove us back to the Marina.  We had a very enjoyable time with them. 
Lorraine, Karen Gag, Phil and John Gag
The rest of the afternoon we spent on the computer and I made Brats with sauerkraut, fresh broccoli and carrots for supper.  I am missing our cruising friends.  On our way back north, we haven't been traveling with anyone.  We are moving to fast for most people or going outside when they're on the ICW.  After many days of this, I'm not as happy as when I'm getting more social interaction.  We spent the evening reading.

Monday, April 11
Charleston Maritime Center

Changes at Charleston Maritime Center
We woke to heavy fog and clouds.  Today is the day for getting chores done.  Phil took advantage of free and readily available fresh water to wash Change's deck.  This hasn't been done since sometime in the Fall when we can't remember.  I took advantage of the free washer and dryer and did 5 loads of clothes.  Good thing that we got there at 8am as there was another woman who was right behind me with clothes to wash.  By late morning, we both were done and decided to go to the nearby Harris Teeter store which reminds me of Whole Foods stores at home.

At 1230pm s/V Clear Day pulled into the dock next to us.  The boat name sounded familar to me and then when I saw them, they looked even more familiar to me - but couldn't place them.  Lucky I had their boat card and we had met in St. Marys at the SMYC BBQ on the yacht club boat.  Small world.  They are going to stay one week on their way back home.

By 1pm we were back at Changes and the provisions were put away.  I started working  at making the mat from the line I bought at the nautical flea market on Treasure Cay.  I started making the ocean plait but couldn't quite remember the way to get it started.  Phil wanted to ride bikes so I took it apart in hopes to find a book on making knots at Waldenbooks.  We got there on King St., but no luck.  We continue riding bikes on less busy streets until we got to Battery Park.  By this time it was sunny, warm and the fog had lifted completely so that we could see Fort Sumter in the distance.  It is the 150th anniversary of the Civil War starting on April 12 & 13.  Click on the Fort Sumter for more information.  We continue riding bikes through back street and alleys between buildings.  They are only a side walk width and then some opened up to streets that went to the houses garages.  One had rectangles of slate laid out in 2 lines for car tires and then cobblestones in between which made it a little difficult for riding bikes.  (insert photo)  We continue riding up the northeast side of the peninsula to Waterfront Park and then rode home.  Waterfront park is very nice and has a couple water fountains that people wade in to cool off.  Even though it wasn't real hot today, there were still people in the fountains.  Her is a photo from the water.  Click on it so that you can see one of the fountains.
Waterfront Park Charleston, SC

We once again stopped for a few items at Harris Teeters and saw Scott and Lisa from S/V Messenger.  I didn't get a chance to talk long as Phil was rushing to have a cold beer once we got back to the boat.  Once at the boat I went to the office to try to use the internet and met John for M/V Fresh Ayre (pronounced air).  We had a nice conversation and then I went  back and worked some more on the Ocean Plait mat after I was able to find directions on the internet on how to do.  Isn't the internet wonderful?!  This time it worked out good and I was able to get to the point that I had to tighten everything up.  John and Charlotte on S/V Abbotsville II stopped by to admire and we started a nice conversation which I continued after supper on my way back from taking a shower.  It turns out that Charlotte and I have a lot in common in relation to challenges living on a boat.  Nice to know that I'm not the only one. :)  I was invited on their boat and it was nice to see what a Pearson 365 looks like inside.  Very nice but not big enough for our next boat.  Soon after getting back to the boat we went to bed as we're leaving in the morning to try to get to Georgetown, SC - a long day.

Tuesday, April 12
Passage to Georgetown, SC
Distance Traveled:  55.67 nm
Miles to get Home:  927.12
Total Distance Traveled:  3619.65nm

We woke and cast off from the dock at 804am.  The Ben Sawyer Bridge's first opening is at 9am so need to get up early.  We were lucky in the there wasn't any fog in the Harbor - what a relief!!  It was a little harry getting off the dock in that the current pushed the bow towards the dock, but Phil being the good helmsman that he is, got us off without any problems.  It helped that there wasn't anyone docked next to us and we had a lot of room to back out of the marina.  The wind was from 226degrees (SW) @ 12 knots and we had a favorable current going down the harbor so we were able to make the bridge opening with time to spare.  In fact we were lucky to have a favorable current for a while after going through the bridge.  S/V Convergence, Wetted bliss and M/V (power cat) Zep Tepi went through behind us and it wasn't too long before they passed us and then disappeared ahead of us. We had clouds on and off and then it starting to rain about 1035am which continued on and off thru the day.  It was pretty chilly and Phil was kind enough to take watch until 1230pm after I fixed lunch for us.  By 2pm we started having a favorable current again with a GPS speed of 6.6kts +/- and boat speed of 5.5 kts +/-.  By 340pm we had reached the first anchorage location and with Georgetown less than 15 SM away, we decided to continue on.  It's nice having a later sunset!!  I started getting supper ready to cook at 430pm - starting corn bread to go with a Pasta and Black Bean in Saffron-Tomato Sauce dish (an experiment).  By 530pm we had entered Georgetown and searched for a place to anchor as all the mooring balls were taken this time.  Close to the steel factor we found the other boats that passed us and were able to be anchored by 547pm at N 33 22.025' and W 79 17.025'.  Supper was good and Phil did fine with no meat after adding Parmesan cheese to the dish.  He said ok to repeat it.  That's good as we have enough for leftovers. The no-see-ums were out so it wasn't too long that we were inside the cabin with the screens in place. I continued knitting on Phil's socks.  Phil talked to his sister, Ginny.  I still miss the cruising friends that we met on our way down.

Wednesday, April 13
Passage to Bucksport, SC
Distance Traveled:  24.9 nm
Miles to get Home:  952.02
Total Distance Traveled:  3644.55nm

Our plan is to try to get to the anchorage past the Rock Pile to mile 342 on the ICW and our fall back is to get to Bucksport Marina and anchor close by if we can't tie up.  We didn't start real early which as it turned out was a mistake.  It was cool but sunny with a variable breeze.  There was condensation on the inside of the windows this morning as the Cabin temp was 66F and the Air temp was 58F.  I put on 4-5 layers and Phil had his sweat shirt under his foul weather jacket with the hood up.  We raised anchor at 755am and let out the head sail at 815am.  The water is calm.  By 830am we had passed under the Lafayette Fixed Bridge and there were a couple boat behind us.  The wind was from 310 degrees (NW) at 10-12 kts.  The GPS speed was 4.8kts and boat speed was 6.4 kts.  Not good and as the day progressed the adverse current coming into low tide got worse.  During my watch we ranged from 3.8 to 5 kts GPS and the boat speedo stopped working. 
Lorraine bundled up and wearing gloves to stay warm.
About 11am S/V Tourne Brise from Montreal passed us and then not too much later, John from s/V Bambonshay hailed us saying that he had lost his GPS chartplotter and wondered if we could pick up speed so that he could follow us and get to MM342 anchorage.  We couldn't pick up speed and so he passed up and after a few hails the Montreal boat answered.  They couldn't pick up speed (he wanted to average 5.5 kts GPS speed) and John passed them too.  I wondered if he found a boat to follow thru the rock pile and how far those boats got today.  Us - we continued at a slow speed - with a low of 3.6 kts at green 63.  The wind didn't help us much either alternating between 0.5 kts and then gusting to 8-10 kts but not in a direction that helped.  Finally just before noon we rolled in the head sail and Phil started his watch.  We got to Bucksport Marina at 130pm and that it would take us 8 hours at our current speed, we decided to stop here for the day.  We went to the anchorage just past the marina and behind an island and dropped the anchor at 140pm.  It's 30feet under the keel here but we think that the anchor is set with all the chain out and some of the line rode out too.  We're at N33 39.25' W 79 05.743' and plan to get an early start in the morning.
Anchorage at Bucksport behind island

We had lunch of sandwiches with fresh fruit salad on the way, so I decided to take advantage of some free time and post on the blog.  I think that it's a little cool for the no-see-ums as they aren't around today.  It wasn't too long that Phil put up the Farouck and I opened the fore hatch. 

Phil got hungry around 330pm so maybe I'll warm up leftovers instead of cooking something.  We have the left over corn bread to eat too.

One thing nice about all this motoring - I don't have to worry about using the batteries with the computer.  They are charged to the max.

We checked the weather and it turns out that we could have gone outside to get to Southport.  Too bad we didn't as now it will take us another 2 days to get there instead of one overnight trip.

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