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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween

You can’t escape from trick-or-treater’s, even at the mega-dock in Charleston. Noah teamed up with the kids from Wandering Dolphin and hit up most of the boats in the marina before proceeding into town. We walked along the Battery and thoroughly enjoyed trick-or-treating among the gorgeous old homes. Residents were very gracious and many decorated extensively for the holiday. Noah made quick friends in Charleston and will miss everyone, but promised to keep in touch. After finding so few kid boats, a family with five kids was better than finding buried treasure. He was treated to a “Trunk-or-Treat” party on Sunday night at their church, so had a HUGE stash of candy.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Exploring Charleston

Jim, Barb & Missy (the wonder dog) Thompson joined us in Charleston. Friday was ugly and rainy and we treated them to a “rockus” night with 30+ knots of wind, but they bounced back quickly and the rest of the weekend was beautiful. Walked around the city, ate lunch at the brewery where Jim and Mark tried the sampler while Noah kept a rating tally. Relaxed on a mule drawn carriage tour and learned more about the interesting history of the homes and former residents. President Bush was in town, so the helicopter patrols were out and about, buzzing very close to the stately old mansions. Sunday Jim helped with boat projects (thank you!) after we enjoyed a big breakfast at the marina featuring “Earl’s Pumpkin Pancakes.”

Friday, October 27, 2006


Thursday morning we meandered down the intracoastal, moving from isolated salt marshes into vacation home areas and finally, into the bay guarded by Fort Sumpter and on to Charleston proper. It was exciting to see the historic battery waterfront from the ocean side.

We’re at the City Marina through Halloween and finding all kinds of helpful people.  Nelson Hicks, the USPS port captain and former IP 40 owner has received some parts for us. Other IP 40 owners, Blaine & Janet Parks along with Max & Bailey their intrepid golden retrievers are based here and found us last night.  Jim & Barb Thompson are meeting us here by car for a weekend of exploring the city. The staff here is great and so are the facilities.

We walked into town last night, enjoying the restored historic homes along the way. Many are decorated for Halloween. This is the first place we’ve found a kite shop since leaving home so Beth has finally replaced the kite that was “eaten” by a tree in Juno Beach. After dinner, the van from the marina came and picked us up so we didn’t have to hoof it home after dark. Today it is raining, so a good time to do school and clean up the boat to make room for company.

The new SSB radio didn’t come and won’t arrive until Tuesday, therefore we will be here until at least then. Receiving goods while traveling is proving problematic. Companies don’t seem to understand that if they don’t deliver when they promise, it is expensive to stay extra days in marinas waiting for packages.

To s/v Doodler:  We didn’t actually post from Price Creek, we posted from Charleston. We can post from remote areas via cell phone, but it is painfully slow and needs to be done after 9 pm which tends to be later than we can stay awake!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Georgetown to Price Creek

Wednesday morning started out a might bit chilly at 39 degrees. We took our time getting started and put away some hot water in the thermos. Joe from s/v Sunshine helped us cast off. I was in a hurry to grab something from below and slipped on the companionway ladder giving my tail bone a reason to remind me it is there. Other than being cold, we had a good passage to Sale Creek where we were told there are some moorings available. This section of the waterway was fairly secluded with lots marsh grass between the ditch and the ocean – a great place for birds and small fish. Lots of creeks wind in and out, so the currents reverse on a regular basis. There were a couple of dolphin sightings, but none as close as on Monday.  We’ve met several cruisers, a couple from New Bern, NC one from Hillsborough, NC several from Atlanta, another from Ithaca, NY and even a couple from Burlington, VT. Price Creek connects the ICW to the Atlantic and we motored down close to the mouth in search of moorings. We did find them being guarded by a Bald Eagle perched on a telephone pole. Tried one, but between wind and current it was rubbing against the boat so we opted to head back up the creek and anchor. Beth did a great job of coordinating the anchoring with squash and chicken in the oven so we had a hot meal shortly after we had the boat settled in. There is only one other boat anchored about a half mile to our North around a bend.

Noah’s book for today was “The Boy Who Could Fly Without a Motor.” He figured out that we needed to find a place to anchor in at least ten feet of water because there are five foot tides here.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Myrtle Beach to Georgetown

What happened to no socks, bathing suits and a relaxing year of sailing?  It was COLD this morning with frost making for slippery decks and it is supposed to continue. You can see Beth is relaxing in her latest beachwear. Opted to leave the protection of Coquina Yacht Club and head down the ICW. The stretch past Myrtle Beach is called “The Rockpile” because the banks are lined with rock rip-rap and shale shelves that wait to catch the unwary navigator. The passage was close to low tide and uneventful because there wasn’t much traffic this morning.  One interesting feature in that stretch it a gondola used to take golfers across the ICW on a course that spans both banks. We made it to Georgetown, SC today after winding our way down the picturesque Waccamaw River with cypress swamps and abandoned rice plantations lining the banks. The only sign of life were other “snowbirds” trying to head south. Currents helped us along again today as we put 55 miles under the keel in just under eight hours. Our speed over the ground hit 8.3 knots at one point on the Waccamaw. Of course, the current can slow us down as well. We are tied up at the Georgetown Landing Marina and are seeing speeds of 1.3 knots as the current sweeps past us towards the sea.

Noah’s reading “Me and Kaleb Again” by Franklyn Meyer.  It was too cold for school today. We had leftovers from last night’s excellent diner and have enough remaining to go another meal.

Monday, October 23, 2006

On to South Carolina

The Kasberg family treated us royally on Sunday in Wrightsville Beach. Matthew and Keith came out for a dinghy ride and boat visit and invited us to their home to visit with Liz and Grace. Their hospitality left us with clean laundry, full bellies and new friends for Noah.

This morning we pulled anchor and headed out, wondering if it would be too rough to cross the Cape Fear River. Bundled up with fleece face masks, sweatshirts and overcoats we passed two swimmers in the ICW that really made us feel like wimps! The next surprise was a trio of dolphins swimming along with us for 15 minutes, so close that we could have touched them. Noah broke away from his book for that and even shot some video. The wind was with us and timing of the favorable current actually made the two hours on the river enjoyable. We passed a container ship, a car ferry and a couple of tugs with loads. Exiting the river at Southport before noon, we decided to continue on and make it to Myrtle Beach where we could have heat for what is predicted to be the coldest night so far this year. The ICW passes several inlets on this stretch where currents can be fairly strong. We hit 9.2 knots near Lockwoods Folly and had to throttle back as we met a slew of small boats where people were fishing in and very near the channel. A pontoon bridge was the only other impediment to navigation. It opens on the hour and was interesting to see in operation. The center of the bridge just floats over to one side to make an opening for passage.  

Tonight we are in North Myrtle Beach at the Coquina Yacht Harbor. The dockmaster is a liveaboard and she was very friendly and helpful.  We followed our noses to Umberto’s restaurant where we were served an excellent five course meal. We brought enough leftovers to get us to Charleston. Noah was excellent in the restaurant, tried all the courses and enjoyed the live piano music. The harbor is an old quarry that has been attached to the ICW, so should be very protected from the 25-30 knot predicted winds.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Wrightsville Beach

Pulling the anchor at Mile Hammock Bay was a bit of a challenge as we aren’t yet used to pulling the combination rode and chain of our spare anchor set-up. After about 45 minutes we had it figured out and were moving South with the other snowbirds. This stretch of the ICW has three bridges, two of which only open at the top of the hour. Beth planned the route and speeds so that we hit each bridge with only a few minutes to wait before we passed through. It was interesting that we caught up with everyone that left before us at the very first bridge. From there, it was a parade all the way to Wrightsville Beach. The ICW here is lined with huge homes overlooking small islands and sawgrass between the ICS and the atlantic. The most surprising sight was a life size statue of a giraffe on the front lawn of one home. Upon clearing the Wrightsville swing bridge, the group separated with some continuing South, some pulling into marinas and four boats heading over to the anchorage in Banks channel. This time we dropped the hook smartly and it set right away. Unfortunately another boat was anchoring and dragged back too close, so we spent another hour exploring before finding a better spot.  We launched the dinghy and went ashore to find easy access to the beach. Lots of folks were surfing and the beach was active for a Saturday in October. Ate ashore and headed back to the boat just before sunset for a much more peaceful night’s sleep. The new thing (for us) here is the reversing of the current in the channel where every six hours the boat is facing the opposite direction. It is interesting to watch how long it takes for different boat designs to be affected by the current and the wind.

Noah has made up a new solitaire game and is reading “The Secret of Hermit’s Bay” a mystery set in Scotland. He wanted me to type that it was written in 1962 so people will know to look in a used bookstore if they want to find a copy.

Note to other cruisers: Fuel just south of Swan Point Marina was $1.91 for Diesel and $2.25 for gasoline, the lowest prices we’ve seen.

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