Trip Log - Pg 6

October 25, 2011 to October 31, 2011

October 25, 2011

We got up after a good night’s sleep around 0730hrs…well Steve got up…I lingered a bit :)

By 0830hrs we were ready to leave the dock when Steve could smell breakfast…well he twisted my rubber arm and we headed back to the Thomas Café for a delicious breakfast. It’s not a fancy place but the food is good, wholesome and cheap. I had my first taste of Fried Green Tomatoes there yesterday, their vegetable omelet was just as good.

We departed the dock around 0930hrs. We will not make it all the way to Charleston today but will be there by tomorrow.

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We are now equipped The Ultimate Guide to Birds of the Southeast Atlantic Coast – ignorant NO MORE!!! Thanks Carl and Colin for identifying my “Bat Signal” bird as the Cormorant.

While making our way through the Estherville Minim Creek Canal – we saw a couple of Bald Eagles – which we think are quite rare here since a number of boats were pointing them out over the VHF.

The canal is narrow and weaves through different rivers. It is lined with many types of grasses, bushes and marshes. An interesting landscape and a nice change from the fancy houses we’ve been looking at the past few days.

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High grasses in the entrance to the Estherville Minim Creek Canal

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Different type of grass and bushes lining the canal

Steve and I were watching birds all day and trying to match them up with our new guide. So far, we have identified, the Double-Crested Cormorant, the Brown Pelican, Bald Eagle, Hawks – unsure whether they were Red-shouldered or Red-tailed, Steve saw a Turkey Vulture while I was taking a nap, Osprey, a couple of Great Egrets and we think we saw an American Oystercatcher or Black Skimmer and I think I saw a Great Blue Heron – ALL TODAY!!! This list is not including the many types of Gulls – I’m still trying to figure them out.

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Crossing one of the many rivers weaving into the canal

The tidal range in this area can be anywhere between 4 to 9 feet. Steve had a nervous hour at the helm in only 4.5 to 5 feet of water!! He never bottomed out though – so kudos to him!! I didn’t feel a thing thought - I was taking a nap J 

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Low tide…really low

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Fishing boats sunken into the mud at low tide

 

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Abandoned boat at low tide…it must be mostly submerged at high tide.

At about 1600hrs, we saw a few dolphins rounding up their supper -  impossible to photograph. All in all, a really nice day.

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Those are ALL Brown Pelicans!!!!! Some were in the water splashing themselves – too cool!! I wish I had a zoom!!

We anchored around 1700hrs in a protected little anchorage in Dewees Creek – I think its pronounced Doo-wee’s - at least that’s how I’m interpreting it (that’s right Megs - a Creek named after me!!! LOL!!!) 

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Anchorage in Dewees Creek – there are about 3 or 4 other boats in here – lots of room

Stew for supper but NO BREAD!!! I’m cut off!!!!

 

October 26, 2011

We slept in ‘till about 0830hrs and had French toast for breakfast!! (I know…more bread but YUM)

It’s was a lazy start to the day since it’s only about 10 miles to Charleston. We were ready to leave about 1130 when the engine wouldn’t start. The starter seems to be going a little and this morning it refused to turn over all together. Steve assessed it and determined it needs to be re-wired – which is GREAT NEWS!! He made some adjustments and got it going – so off we went.

It’s a beautiful sunny WARM day. We were greeted by dolphins as we were leaving Dewees Creek. I don’t think we will ever tire of them. 

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Coming through the Ben Sawyer Bridge into Charleston Harbor

There are once again LOTS of beautiful homes lining the shore as we were entering Charleston Harbor but they pretty much look like every other beautiful house we’ve seen so I didn’t take any more pictures.

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Old bridge with a few Cormorants J 

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Charleston Harbor

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Entrance to Cooper River

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A Brown Pelican

We headed to the Charleston Maritime Centre. They are the cheapest marina in town and the best located. We docked at the fuel dock and were kindly greeted by the man on duty. He advised that we was not sure he had a space available for us but made a couple of calls. With a bit of luck and a last minute cancellation we secured a dock space for TWO nights! This is a great facility. Fuel, ice, laundry, internet, water, SHOWERS – all here at the facility and we are located right downtown – walking distance to the grocery store and their market.

We got cleaned up, checked email and headed for a walk to find a nice/cheapish restaurant. The market area is fantastic and we are looking forward to exploring it tomorrow.

The key to finding a good restaurant according to Steve is to pick the one with the most people inside – he is right every time! We ate at an Oyster place call Pearlz – delicious!! Steve had fired oysters and fish tacos (his new favorite food) and I had a crab cake sandwich J

 

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Steve and his new favorite food – FISH TACOS!!!

 

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C

rab cake sandwich and beer J

We had a nice walk back to the boat – early night. Tomorrow morning, it's laundry and after lunch we will explore the market.

October 27, 2011

It’s a beautiful sunny day in Charleston South Carolina! 

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The Charleston Maritime Centre – we are docked towards the back on the right (you can’t see us)  

It’s a shame to spend all my morning doing laundry but we did get to meet a knowledgeable cruiser named Rick who has a 42 foot catamaran called Sojourner. Rick was waiting for the washer as was I, so he asked me where I was from and what kind of boat did I had…and so it goes with cruiser chit-chat…  Rick and his wife have been live-aboards for the last 7 or 8 years. I think they are from Texas and spend their winters in the Bahamas. Rick is a very helpful guy who gave us so many tips and suggested stops that I hope we remember them all. They do what they call the “Abacos shuffle”. This is where they sail around the Abacos by following the winds. When the winds are not in their favor they stop. Each lap around the Abacos they stop somewhere different and they do this for the entire winter - about 5 months. They did visit other islands during their first trip but prefer the Abacos and felt they didn’t need to go anywhere else. He definitely sold us and the Abacos could very well be our first stop.

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Laundry day on Diana docked at the Charleston Maritime Centre

Around 1330hrs we headed to the Historical Charleston Market to do some shopping. What a market!!!

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This is just one of the market buildings – There are three or four in total!!! Lots of interesting local art to look at…we got a little carried away J

 

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A park along the waterfront

 

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One of the streets…I think I would like to live here 

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Interesting building…some are a little more elaborate with great big balconies or court yards – just beautiful.

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Cobblestone streets…

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Along the waterfront just outside the park – a big cruise ship behind me.

 

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This is just a regular fountain – there are several and they all have this sign!!! LOL!!!!

It was a beautiful day spent in Charleston – we spent too much money so we decided to have dinner on board and watch a movie. We are heading out tomorrow morning  towards Savannah, Georgia!

October 28, 2011

First thing this morning – I took a shower (my fourth since we’ve been here). We needed to get fuel and ice then we would be ready to go! It took us what seemed like forever to get going. Subconsciously I don’t think we wanted to leave but it’s another sunny warm day and a cold front is coming – time to go!!

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This bag of ice is ONLY 4$!!! So, I bought three of them!! Good for another few days

Just as we were about to leave the dock Rick stopped by. He asked us where we were headed next. We said we were headed to Georgia, since we haven’t been there, it was on the list. He strongly recommended against it. He said it is very shallow especially at low tide. He told us a scary story about almost running around then said…”well I don’t want to discourage you but if you can avoid it…do” that Georgia “Would have seemed like a good idea at the time but in the end…wasn’t”. We wanted to see Savannah so we said thanks for the tip but planned to go anyway. Rick said he is going to be in Beaufort S.C. on Sunday and they intend on jumping out to sea a couple of days after that, then popping back in once they reach Florida. We said we would look for him if we chose to spend any time in Beaufort but certainly said we would meet up in the Bahamas.

We left on a falling tide which means we will be against the current for a few hours today. We didn’t think much of it until we came to a section called Elliott Cut. 

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It’s the really narrow passage in the middle. Well, when the tide is falling the current is REALLY strong – like almost 5kts strong!! We came through that tight spot at 1.8kts!!! That was full speed!! It was a white knuckle 30 minutes or so coming through there for Steve. However, once through, we were then WITH the current and were moving anywhere between 6.5 and 8.2kts!

We anchored in Church Creek around 1600hrs. 

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Anchorage Church Creek

We are expecting a little rain tonight so Steve when to work fixing a leak in the mast boot. I decided to review the charts and guide for Georgia – Rick’s words were hanging in the back of my mind. 

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The book with all the yellow highlighter is the guide. On the other page, the guide indicates the southern part of South Carolina and the Georgia ICW route has not been dredged in years because of lack of funding. The author indicated all of the shoaling cautions are from 2009. The highlights are SOME of the cautions. I only highlighted the cautions where the MLW (mean low water) was less than our draft of 4. 5 feet. I’m sure things have gotten progressively worse or better since then but we don’t know for sure. If we follow the tides and travel in these areas at high tide we can get through Georgia with not problems but is it worth it? The only place I wanted to visit was Savannah which is the first stop in Georgia – I’m not sure want to see Savannah that bad. At this point it is much safer to head out to sea for a 100 miles or so – about a day and a half- then spend four days white knuckling it in Georgia.

We will head to Beaufort tomorrow – get a weather report for the next few days, then make a final decision. I’m leaning towards jumping out at this point and I know Steve would prefer that option as well.

October 29, 2011 

It’s about 45 degrees, cloudy and foggy this morning. 

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Foggy morning at anchor

This is the view from Diana from our anchorage. There are 3 other boats there but we can only see one because of the dense fog – yikes!! We are not heading anywhere until this dissipates a little. We were up early to get in a full 48 miles to Beaufort but at this point we will not be able to leave the anchorage for a few more hours.

Steve and I reviewed the charts and had some oatmeal while waiting for the fog to lift. We were finally able to leave the anchorage around 1000hrs. It’s still foggy, cold and windy but we can see enough to get started.

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Along the way…fog lifting... 

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Shoreline…

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Lots of gulls!!! They seem to hang around the fishing boats…we saw quite a few dolphins as well here… The tides were changing which means lots of marine activity.

 

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What a difference a few hours makes!! This is sometime after lunch…it’s still cold but at least it’s sunny.

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Entering a narrow cut

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My view of Steve from the cabin as I’m working on the blog – hats and mitts again BOO :(

We weren’t sure whether we would make it to Beaufort SC since we were against the current doing about 3.5 to 4 kts for an hour or so but by 1630hrs the tide changed and we were up over 7.5 kts again!

By 1815hrs, we were anchored safely in Factory Creek just east of the Lady Island Bridge into Beaufort - exactly where we wanted to be tonight. 

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Anchorage Factory Creek

Tomorrow morning – first thing - we will head to the town dock in Beaufort. We can dock there for free for the day. We need charts, a weather prediction for the next few days, propane, provisions and a few other things – hopefully we can get it all done here. Then we will get Diana ready for the sea J

October 30, 2011

Slept in until 0830hrs!!! We headed into Beaufort SC and docked at the FREE dock for the day.

Not much to report other than it’s really cold again!!! Low 40’s eeks!! We went for breakfast then to West Marine, the grocery store and an internet café. We took care of most of our needs except propane – that’s on the list for tomorrow. Other than that, it’s a lovely town and if it was warmer we would have spent a little more time walking around – maybe tomorrow.

We’ve decided to skip Georgia and are planning to head out to sea either Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday. It’s only about a 100 miles or so. It will be nice to get out of the ICW for a bit and do some sailing. The weather looks good – we jump out at Port Royal and come in at St. Mary’s. It should take about 24hrs – not sure on the specifics yet – we will do the math tonight and make a plan.

Happy Halloween Everybody J  

 

October 31, 2011

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Happy Halloween!!! The above pumpkin was displayed at the Factory Creek Restaurant – designed and carved by their chef! I love it!! It’s beautiful and spooky at the same time.

We left the town dock yesterday evening and headed back to our protected anchorage in Factory Creek where we intend on staying until we head out to sea. We got a lead on where to get some propane and it’s conveniently located near our anchorage.

This morning, we took the dinghy to the Lady’ Island Marina to dock it for the day so we could walk around to see what’s available. The Dockmaster gave us permission to dock there for the day and he gave us a map of the area. If we wanted to have a shower the cost is 10$ for both of us – money well spent I say!! He also confirmed the lead we had on propane and showed us where to get it on the map.

While walking to the hardware store, I thought I saw a mirage. I rubbed my tired eyes, pinched my arm and finally asked Steve if he was seeing the same thing and he said yes!! 

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That’s TWO dollars for a 20lb bag of ice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I quickly made a plan to stop here tomorrow before we head out J I better bring a cart!!

It’s my birthday today so doing any work is out of the question. We were hoping to go to the movies but the theatre in the area closed down some time ago. Since we were sticking around until the 2nd, we rented a couple of movies for this evening – movie night on the boat instead J

After our showers, we went to the Factory Creek Restaurant for supper – it was delicious! 

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We hadn’t eaten since breakfast so we were STARVING!!! Steve had Jambalaya, I had scallops and a garden salad. We had delicious Grouper bites for an appetizer - Grouper will be a fish Steve will be catching in the Bahamas so I was relieved to have liked it.

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Steve eating Jambalaya - showing off the LARGE Sea Scallop (in the spoon). He is wearing his new “Pearlz” T-shirt. We ate at “Pearlz’ in Charleston – he liked the food (the lady) so much Steve bought the T-Shirt ;)

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These are Hush Puppies. I have noticed this curious little item on restaurant menus since Morehead City – so I had to try them. They are like deep fried bread balls (I think it may be cornbread) with a little seasoning – I am totally hooked!

The Factory Creek Restaurant offers great food, decent prices and the service was EXCELLENT.

We headed back to the boat for movies and stretch pants ;)

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What’s a birthday without birthday cake – chocolate – my favorite!!! We (I) ate most of it and saved a little for breakfast…yup a new bathing suit is on the list!!