Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Nov. 2-8, 2010 (Week 5, Day 29-35)

Tues. Nov. 2, 2010 (Week 5, Day 29): All Souls’ Day 
Destination: Still Georgetown (Mile 403)                                                                                                 Weather: cool & cloudy, very few small blue patches spotted in sky                                                    Winds: gusting 8-15K North winds; cool especially when wind blowing

Breakfast at Thomas Café at 0900 hrs. with the Morrows--> good & ample. Chatted away till 1100 hrs. Back to the boat & I changed into warmer clothes, then Graeme dinghied me back to shore--> self directed walking tour of the downtown historic houses dating 1737 to 1901, 1902, 1903 to 1908. Graeme did odd jobs + ?. He & Larry were going to help each other go up each other masts but too cool & windy. Graeme picked me up at 1430 hrs. then we changed out location due to change to north winds & more availability of space closer to Harborwalk. Lynn & Larry dinghied over about 1530 hrs., then Larry & I dinghied to Independent Seafood & each bought 1-1/2 lbs.medium large shrimps (head off -->$ 5.99/ lbs., head on--> $2.99/ lbs.). Supper= thai coconut chicken & rice; Graeme’s opinion was good for chicken well I found it scrumptious. Journal/blog writing then turned in early. Skies remained cloudy & winds still gusting from the north.

I guess this is a good time (beginning of our 5th week) to add comments re personal interaction--- just as difficult as the first time. It is a male/female thing I guess--- women are from Venus & men are from Mars. It is difficult when a multi tasker is trying to work with someone who operates only one job at a time; a constant priority setter vs what’s a priority? It is very helpful to socialize with other cruisers who also are experiencing the same difficulties--- comforting if nothing else. I can’t speak for Graeme as he is Graeme & does not talk of his emotions, thoughts, feelings. I feel internal tension & know that I am not always in control & show this emotion through action, words & body language. I left anxious to get going while we were still in Deltaville & yet I had anxiety as to what was about to occur, what may happen. Two years ago it was anxiety of innocence & not knowing what to expect. But now it is almost anxiety of too much knowledge & the struggle with my internal desire for adventure. There is a struggle between Graeme’s over protectiveness & almost pessimistic attitude & my more carefree approach. I have had my melancholy moments thinking about 2 years ago & how worried I was about my parents. I still think of Dad; I think of the last hours we had together so vividly. My eyes well up in tears.

Wed. Nov. 3, 2010 (Week 5, Day 30):                                                                                              Destination: Georgetown (Mile 403) to Awendaw Creek (Mile 435.7)                                                    Departure: 1015 hrs.                         Arrival: 1450 hrs.                                      Mileage: 32.7 SM                                                                      Weather: grey & cloudy                                                                                                                                     Wind: light & North with occasional gust that got the wind generator whirling.

Garbage was taken to shore; motor was taken off the dinghy & placed securely on the stern rail & the dinghy tow lines were set for towing. The anchor was up at 1015 hrs. & it was nothing but a motorboat ride. Low tide was near it’s completion so we had the current pushing us down the Winyah Bay to the Estherville Minim Creek Canal at Mile 410.5 (an abrupt turn to starboard). The ferry at Mile 411.5 was not crossing & we saw no eagles. Similarily around Mile 425, the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, there were no alligators seen & very few birds except cormorants. And no one was interested in stopping at McClellanville Mile 430 (depths= 9-11 ft.)--> an inside joke. At Mile 435.7 we left the ICW at R48 & motored into Awendaw Creek, with surprising good depths at the entrance of about 9 ft. Three other boats at this anchorage that comprises of 3 sides of salt marshes & one wide mouth that flows into the Bull River that opens directly into the Atlantic. I boiled up the fresh shrimp purchased yesterday afternoon, shelled & froze 2/3, leaving some for supper tonight & for lunch tomorrow in my salad. We tried to row over to ‘Twomorrows’, but the current was too strong so dissembled the engine off the stern & assembled it on the dinghy. A couple of hours of socializing over a couple of drinks. Supper = leftovers to which I added the fresh shrimp to my dinner--- even more scrumptious. The north wind laid down to next to nil & the boat turned 180 degrees from when the anchor was set --> current flooding. Rain & thunderstorm predicted to start near midnight & all of tomorrow. We will finalize our plans in the morning & adjust according to the weather.

Thurs. Nov. 4, 2010 (Week 5, Day 31):                                                                                                  Destination: Awendaw (Mile 435.7) to Whiteside Creek (Mile 451.5)                                                    Departure: 1250 hrs.                       Arrival: 1545 hrs.                                    Mileage: 25.8 SM Weather: fogà solid grey cloudsà fog à rain with some lightning & thunder; heavy rain just after we pulled up anchor.                                                                                                                                         Wind: W & WNW; seemed light in am, about 7-8K down the ICW, & 8-10K upon anchoring & on

It was questionable whether we would move on today because of the fog in the am & weather. ‘Twomorrows’ & ourselves stayed in contact with each other on VHF 16à17 on an hourly basis starting at 1000 hrs. Lynn’s blackberry & internet capabilities kept us abreast of the weather & improving situation till this evening. Lots of traffic conversation on the ICW over the VHF. Another delay at 1100 hrs. so took that opportunity & buzzed Graeme’s hair off, then lunch. At noon we decided to up anchor at 1230 hrs. By this time the tide was low & nearing completion of that cycle, so lots of skinny water seen on our depth sounder. It is kind of alarming when you see depths of 3.9, 3.2 after some of these trawlers pass; they have churned up the channel waters so much to give these false readings. Also the number & size of trawlers & the wake that they create play huge havec on the shores of the waterway. Caution areas to be on a look out at low tide were from R60 to R64 & R84 & 86. I almost forgot, even without a fishing rod we were catching fish--- a 12 inch fish (? bass) had leaped into our dinghy & was frantically flip flopping on the bottom of the dinghy; poor thing! Animal life was more active today; no alligators but we did see a bald eagle perched on a piling & the graceful swimming dolphins were back in good numbers especially approaching R94 & at the mouth of Whiteside Creek. We turned to starboard just north of R96 & anchored in 13 to 18 ft. of water; hard to tell because of the influence of wind & a stronger current that was 90 degrees off the wind. High tide would be around 1900 hrs. & hopefully the anchor chain will stretch out. I tried to rescue the fish in the dinghy but it was too late; rigor mortis had set in, but it’s eyes were clear. I picked him up & Graeme took a photo of the fish & I, then I launched him into the South Carolina waters. I wonder what he would have tasted like? Lynn & Larry saw a mother & baby dolphin (small) at their stern. Well Graeme read & kept checking our anchor, I did some serious reading re Charleston. We had supper at a reasonable hour of 1800 hrs. tonight= sweet & sour pork chops. Night has arrived, the wind is howling & so is the wind generator. A Skipper’s Meeting earlier decided that we would be on the go at 0830 hrs. hoping to get into our slips in Charleston early.

Fri. Nov. 5, 2010 (Week 5, Day 32):                                                                                                     Destination: Whiteside Creek (Mile 451.5) to CharlestonàMaritime Center (Mile 464.1)                   Departure: 0835 hrs.                           Arrival: 1115 hrs.                                 Mileage: 12.6 SM                                                                               Weather: cool (48F) but awesome sunrise to crystal clear blue sky; high temp= 60F                                                      Winds: West at 8K

High tide when the sun rose so the sunshine on the salt marsh grasses casted a golden colour all around. These grasses were nearly totally submerged this am, where last evening even their roots were exposed. Anchor up & totally clean as a whistle. The slips at Charleston Maritime Center were vacant & free for us to arrive any time. The flocks of pelicans were amazing this am; they were following a small fishing boat pulling up crabpots. 1015 hrs. the Ben Sawyer Bascule Bridge opened for our passage & at 1025 hrs. we were in the   
Charleston Harbour at first with the current with us (speed= 7.5K) but shortly against us (speed 3.9K). By Charleston Inlet we spotted a few fishing trawlers, a sailboat & a speck that probably would be a freighter way in the distance; must keep an eye on him. View of Charleston was spectacular---The Battery, the many church steeples (the highest points in the city), Ravenel Bridge, & Patriots Point (Yorkton). Two tugs were awaiting the arrival of the freighter which soon was on our tail. The marina gave us our entry instructions--- the current & wind against us (favourable in this instance). BUT we were not aware of & did not make provisions for the current entering the marina; we were being sucked into the bow sprint of the schooner tied up on the wall outside the entrance. Graeme pushed the ass end of the boat enough so only the blades of the wind gen. clipped the bow sprint--- holy hanna! New moon today so the tides were more than usual (7 ft. tide difference). A quick lunch after tied up, gathered up the laundry but 3 other people in line for use of 1 free washer & 1 free dryer (0800-1800 hrs.). I walked a couple of miles to Broad Street Barber Shop; no lineup, hair cut & done by 1330 hrs. (not a great cut but, get used to it; this is only the 1st of many poor cuts I will have). I walked up Broad to check out church times for Sunday, first at the cathedral then at the Episcopal church, through ‘The Market’, picked up a few groceries at Harris Teeter (open 24 hrs.)& veggies at the ‘Vegetable Bin’ & was back just in time to start my turn at the laundry machines; finished 2nd load at 1800 hrs. This afternoon Graeme & Larry hauled our anchor out on the dock & wrapped tie-wraps along it’s length every 20 ft. Skyped Mom since the family has not heard from us since last Sat. 62 emails waiting! A shower followed by a scrumptious spaghetti dinner at the Morrow’s. Quite cool temp & cool wind blowing tonight but clear, star filled sky & we were toasty warm with our electric heater.

Sat. Nov. 6, 2010 (Week 5, Day 33):                                                                                                             Destination: to stay in Charleston (Mile 464.1)                                                                                            Weather: breathtaking sunrise, mist over the water that looked like little patches of snow hovering just over the surface of the water; cool & a very cool wind                                                                             Winds: ENE about 10-15K; because of the direction of the wind during the night there was a lot of boat movement & slapping of water against the hull so sleep was interrupted.

I was at the laundry facilities by 0800 hrs. & did my final free load of laundry. I assembled my folding bike but walked to the Rite Aid Pharmacy & Farmers Market (every Sat. at the corner of Calhoun & Meeting). Graeme & Larry went up both their masts to observe steaming light in our case & repositioned the anemometer & wind indicator in Larry’s. After lunch Graeme & I walked to ‘The Market’ area & browsed, met Lynn & Larry & had snacks & drinks at Tom Condon & walked home. More drinks & snacks at the Morrow’s; afterwards who wanted supper--- chicken noodle soup & grilled cheese sandwich. Telephoned Mom, then internet. Tonight was quite cold, strong NE winds, clear skies filled with stars. We were very cozy again tonight with the heater. Switched to standard time tonight!

 Interesting history re Charleston: Charleston is also called the “Holy City” because of the many steeples in it’s skyline. It is a religious community whose roots from colonial era has shown religious tolerance--- 1680 the French Huguenots fled their homeland because of religious persecution & later the Dutch & German immigrants, but the French influence was the strongest. Charleston is not just a city, but a way of life where local citizens live & work in the historic homes & buildings. The social history has been divided by some authors into two eras: (1) “Open City” when Charleston acted as a sponge soaking up education, culture & science from all over the world; (2) “Closed City” when large sums of money were concentrated in the hands of wealthy, slave-owing planters. The lower class were there to toil & the aristocracy was there to reap the benefits. It was no longer opened to the outside world. This period produced much that was glamorous & romantic; many tales & beautiful homes had their roots in the planter society. In 1663 all of the land now North & South Carolina was given to 8 lords/friends of King Charles II. In 1669 3 ships set sail from England to found a new colony making landfall at Port Royal Sound but moved north & founded Charles Town on Town Creek on the Ashley River. It suffered many major fires, several hurricanes & an earthquake as well as wars against the British (1780-82) & the Civil War. Hardship years followed until WWII . In the 1950’s & 60’s there were renovation projects that has preserved Charleston’s historic character & they continue today.

Sun. Nov. 7, 2010 (Week 5, Day 34):                                                                                                               Destination: to stay in Magnificent Charleston (Mile 464.1)                                                                                    Weather: due to the time change more day light than when on daylight saving for the same time; sunny+++, blue skies                                                                                                                                         Wind: cold North winds 15K, whitecaps on Charleston Bay

I cycled to the Cathedral of St. John the Apostle for 0800 hrs.--- an extremely traditional mass with even some Latin songs. Mass hours: Sat. 1715 hrs. Sun. 0800, 1115, & 1715 hrs. Then I cycled up to The Battery & in & around all the historic streets & sites of old Charleston. The streets had all been washed down from the horse manure from the many carriage tours. The city was very slowly waking & coming to life. Charleston is so magical. A little housekeeping & fridge maintenance. Larry’s brother & sister-in-law from Augusta, Georgia arrived & they went off to the big store shopping. We drained & refilled our water tanks (45 gal. X 2) & fuel tank in preparation for departure tomorrow. Last bit of grocery shopping at Harris Teeter & packed all the supplies in their appropriate spots on the boat. More walking in the historic district & met the rest of the gang for dinner at the ‘Noisy Oyster’; wonderful food & exceptional waitress. The evening was cool but the wind had died down, a beautiful night for walking, but Rick insisted on making 2 trips to drive all home. I phoned Mom as she leaves tomorrow afternoon for her 3 week vacation to New Zealand & Australia, a lifelong dream come true! Internet, blog posting of Week 3 & 4. We worked out the tides departure time in order to hit the bascule bridge for it’s opening & the passage through Elliott’s Cut with the current---no repeats of last time. Again a beautiful, star filled night sky but very comfy warm with the heater. Bedtime at 2300 hrs.

Mon. Nov. 8, 2010 (Week 5, Day 35): Mom, have the time of your life!!!                                                  Destination: Charleston (Mile 464.1) to Tom Point Creek (Mile 495.7)                                                                Departure: 0735 hrs.                                  Arrival: 1250 hrs.                                   Mileage: 31.6 SM                                                                                    Weather: pleasantly & moderately cool temps & brilliant sunshine, no clouds                                                  Winds: light from the West averaging 6K but variable, Charleston Bay calm

Up at the crack of dawn & dock lines untied & exited port without any issues; all my worrying for nothing. We had a high tide pushing us down the Ashley River towards the bascule bridge so speed & time management important; 14 boats awaiting the Wappoo Creek Bridge (restricted) opening at 0900 hrs.--- circling, forwards & backwards & jocking around. Then single file we flew through Elliott Cut with the current at 8.2K ; I hardly recognized the cut--- high water level right up to the shoreline compared to the rock shoreline at low tide during our passage in 2008. The line of southbound sailboats in time split into 3 groups from fastest to slowest. We motored along with the current at 6-7K down the Stono River with the wind on our nose to the Wadmalaw River (marsh flats covered at high tide). At Mile 480 R40 the current reversed & fought it with at speed now of 4.8K. Mile 495 brought us into the North Edisto River & at R102 we turned to starboard into Tom Point Creek; anchored about a mile into the creek in 18 ft. with 80 ft. of chain; I can tell the exact amount now! Still warm, sunny, blue skies & winds still from the west at 8-9K, enough to keep the wind gen. working. Near low tide water depth= 13 ft. At maximum low tide it felt as if we were in a ditch; mud banks totally exposed & salt marsh grasses higher than our sitting level on the boat. I read from 4 resource books about the upcoming passages & particularly about Beaufort, S.C. At 1730 hrs. the tide & current started to change & slowly the bow of the boat changed from a southwest direction to northeast; wind nil & water flat calm. Skippers’ (Admirals’) Meeting held on ‘Sweet Chariot Too’; in order to pass the Ashepoo Coosaw Cutoff (about 20 miles away)at high tide we need to up anchor at 0630 hrs. There should be daylight by then but the sun will not have risen yet. Supper= hamburgers + extra future meals made with the rest of the ground beef. Clear dark skies with millions of stars. I still have not studied the constellations.

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