Friday, November 26, 2004

Beaufort NC � Fernandina Beach, Florida Nov, 2004

We spent the night in a very unusual anchorage, sharing Hammock Bay with a military ship. This was after we had motored through the artillery range, between the tanks/guns and the targets. There was no active firing while we were there, but there were helicopters doing touch and goes during the night.

Off to Wrightsville, where we were able to watch surfing -- another first. Plus we enjoyed some great fish, bought at one of the many fish marts. Leaving Wrightsville we went aground at Green 153. This area had been written up in Skipper's Bob's and we were being cautious but obviously didn't "favour the green" enough. We could see the dredgers up ahead, so we hoped this section might be already done. When Bev called an approaching sailboat to warn them about the "stuck boats", the dredgers called back to let us know they would be dredging that spot tomorrow. Great. We didn't have to wait -- the rising tide and a power boat wake got us off. We had left Wrightsville at low tide, because we needed high tide to get into the anchorage at Pipe Canal.

Nov 11/04 Barefoot Landing, Myrtle Beach A shoppers paradise!! 500feet of free dock next to a huge outlet mall, complete with a live theatre, restaurants and cheap buses into the city. The dock was full when we arrived, our group had gone ahead, (we had stopped for fuel and pumpout), and had secured a place for all of us to raft up. The next day was rainy, so we did our Christmas shopping. It was also Deke's birthday, and that was a good enough reason to "party". We planned to give Deke a weed sprayer bottle like the one we use for our shower. At Walmart, the bottles were sold in pairs -- one "bug" the other "weed" so we also had a gift for Gail on RagtimeII -- both were greatly appreciated, and a lot of wine was drunk at the bash.

Early the next morning we were up, as the winds had picked up, and we needed to put more spring lines to the other boats rafted to us (we had ended up next to the dock). We shoved off to continue south. The ICW at this point is definitely more populated, we had to slow down for 3 dogs crossing in front of us, and watch overhead as the golfers crossed in their gondola cars. We anchored behind a small islaGondolas carrying golfers, crossing ICWnd just off the main channel, but one powerboat thought the channel must be where he saw other boats, and came into the anchorage full speed, fortunately for him there was enough water, and we just rocked in his wake.

We anchored off Georgetown, which is a lovely historic town, with beautiful moss covered trees, great waterfront boardwalk, and nothing open. Guess Sunday shopping isn't available here.

Nov. 16/04 We have made it to Charleston. We will be staying here for a few days waiting for Bill to arrive from Canada to travel with Ron. We are all looking forward to the change of pace and it is finally warming up. Temperature at the nav station is a comfortable 22 deg C. Bev is in her shorts for the first time in weeks. Nights have been colddddd. Happy hours contiue to be a regular occurance. Today is a maintenance day, oil change, grease thru hulls, change alternator belt(cracked) normal kind of things. Bev did laundry and fetched water from the marina. The dolphins are becoming a regular sighting. Everyday there seems to be one near the boat.

We were concerned about anchoring in Charleston! All the guides discourage anchoring due to the current. Since we don't like paying for marinas, we decided to give it a try . We put out a single anchor, in the Ashley River, just south of the bridge, across from the Municipal Marina. The weather forecast didn't reveal anything to be concerned about. We kept swinging with the current, which is strong, but the anchor held fine. We had no difficulty leaving the dinghy at the marina and didn't mind paying the fee, since they allowed us to use their laundry, & water. We spent a couple of days walking Charleston and it is a beautiful town, with lots of history and charm.

We are looking forward to Bill coming, he was on RAFT for the trip from Penetang to Toronto and now will be going with Ron for a couple of weeks. But sadly we are saying goodbye to Chris and Deke, our new friends from New Hampshire. We have been travelling with them for the last couple of weeks and really enjoyed them. They are leaving Chris-Deke in a marina south of Charleston and returning home. It is tough when work interferes with cruising. We had both a goaway breakfast and dinner before they left.

Nov 20/04 Getting out of Charleston Time to go, and we are all ready to put some southerly miles under our keels, but the winds were not really cooperating. The prediction for Saturday was light southerly's, Sunday still light but westerly... We had the choice to continue down the ditch, or go outside, but those winds were going to be primarily on the nose... always a problem with for a sailor. We really didn't want to do the ICW through Georgia. We had heard that the channel weaves around through miles of marshes, and the tides and currents are greater than we had already experienced. Plus, we were cold and wanted to get to the warmth of Florida.

We decided that since the winds were supposed to be light, we would try to motor through them offshore. So 6 am we headed out the Charleston Inlet to the ocean. Of course the winds were on the nose, and a little stronger than predicted. So we ended up motor/sailing/tacking/quartering waves, which the boats could easily handle and the crew, but added significantly to the distance we had to travel.

Bev had the 10pm - 2 am watch and continued the motorsail tack. Ross's shift was 2 am - 6 am. The wind died right down, the ocean went flat and although we didn't sail, we are having a great motor boat trip across and making up some of the time we lost yesterday.

This was our 6th all night sail on this trip, and we are getting used to it. We are sleeping when not on duty. Bev does 6 am - 9am, Ross catches some more sleep. The rest of the day, we just take turns napping.

By mid afternoon we were anchoring off Fernadina Beach and it is hot!! Daytime temps around 30 and during the night it stayed very comfortable, we even had the enclosure windows open . What a nice change from the cold nights we had endured in North Carolina.