10 December, 2014

Hola Amigos!

We depart Myrtle Beach Yacht Club at the civilized hour of 0930, as we want to hit the part of the Intracoastal affectionately known as the “Rock Pile” around low tide.  This part of “The Ditch” was cut out of rock, so instead of the usual silty shoals, the edges of the channel are rock ledges.  Read somewhere that low tide is a good time to transit, as you can clearly see the edges.  This approach worked out well as The Girl cruised through on a beautiful, sunny, 67 degree morning.  The Admiral declared this to be “Turtle Day”, as the shores and downed trees along the way were littered with turtles sunning themselves.  After leaving the Myrtle Beach area, the ICW meanders through miles of Cypress swamp.  Lots of good scenery.  Suz picked out an anchorage in Cow House Creek for our evening stop, and it was a good call.  Shot down the anchor in 12’ of water, in a narrow creek, surrounded by cypress swamp and marsh-felt like we were a thousand miles from anywhere.  Got a little reading in, then an early night, as we hoped to get to Georgetown, SC by midmorning.  By 1027 we had the hook down in Georgetown’s harbor, which was a little tricky, as the anchorage is filled with private mooring balls, and there isn’t much room to swing when the current reverses as the tide changes.  In Canada, we wouldn’t have hesitated to pick up a private mooring, but here in SC, we weren’t sure about the local customs, and didn’t want a confrontation with “Bubba”.  It was a drizzly day in G’town.  First things first, we walked a mile or so to the boatstuff store, as I needed to pick up some plumbing fixtures for the external fuel filter (remember fouled-up outboard on dinghy) that I’m installing on “White Star”.  After that, it’s to the UPS shop at the local newspaper office to send back the extra 2 filter rigs that Boater’s Plus sent me when I had only paid for, and wanted only one.  The Rice Museum (that’s right-the Rice Museum) was next.  Rice made this area the richest in the United States (per capita-I’m pretty sure counting Whites only) prior to the Civil War.  After Emancipation, the rice-based economy went into a steep decline, and the economy stayed depressed until the World Wars brought the good times back.  It looks to me that the local economy is hovering on the brink right now, but the steel and paper mills provide steady employment, and the development of tourism will be a plus.  As we finish our stroll through historic Georgetown’s Pre-revolutionary neighborhoods, and boardwalk on the harbor, we stop at “Independent Seafood” for some fresh shrimp.  The Admiral is thinkin’ about cookin’ up some shrimp “gumbalaya”-I’m in.  A day is about what we need to spend to see the sights here, so we’ll be off in the A.M..  Not much on the ICW, and lot’s of trouble (shallow water) down the way.  We vacation in Charleston every summer, and have for thirty years, so no need to stop there, so we’ll pop offshore to get to Beaufort, SC.

At 0700, it’s so #$%@!! Foggy, that we can’t see the bow.  Let’s hear it for Radar and GPS!  For the next 17 hours, we see many types of fog-brighter, dimmer, thicker, and thinner, with the only constant being that we can’t see diddly.  With 6 foot swells, the big green seasick monster is always knocking at the door, so no reading or movie watching.  As we cross Charleston Harbor approach, crossing traffic is an issue.  The good news is that it is soooo foggy, that traffic is one-way, with a 5 mile separation, so after talking to the pilot boat, we slip across, 1/8 of a mile behind a container ship that we don’t see until we’re about 300 yards away.  It’s a peasouper heading up the river to Beaufort,SC at midnight.  We can’t even see the bridge as we go under it, but as we make the final approach to the mooring field at Beaufort Marina, the fog lifts for around 15 minutes, and we get secured and fall in to bed at  Beaufort.  I could live here.  The 3rd oldest town in SC, with many of its’ pre-revolutionary homes still standing (and beautifully restored).  Downtown is vibrant, with more shops and restaurants than you can shake a stick at.  First order of business is to take a carriage ride to get the highlights (highly recommended).  Seems that Hollywood loves Beaufort (The Big Chill, Great Santini, Forces of Nature, Forrest Gump, G.I. Jane, and etc.).  The carriage driver related a story-can’t speak to its’ veracity, but…..It seems that Barbara Streisand had rented a house in town while directing a movie here.  She called the commander of the Marine base at Parris Island, and demanded that the flights be stopped, as it disturbed her naps-guess she wasn’t real ladylike in her choice of language.  The following day, a pair of aircraft roared over the neighborhood at minimal altitude.  That Sunday, in the local paper,  appeared a piece by the commander apologizing to the residents of town for the uproar, before saying “to Miss Streisand, That, my dear, is the sound of freedom”.-or somethin’ like that.  It’s a good story, anyway.  So, after the ride we took a couple hour walk through the old neighborhoods, filled with centuries-old Live Oaks dripping with Spanish Moss.  We checked out the “Big Chill” house, and snapped a couple.  Some friends from Michigan moved here several years ago, so we went out to dinner with Chuck and Zoe to “Saltus”, and had a too-short evening of catching up and great grub.  Next day, the owners of the marina, Rick and Mandy lent us their car, and we were able to pick up some fresh stuff at the grocery.  After we returned, the Admiral needed to do some Christmas shopping.  Since that’s not in my job description, I stayed aboard and put the new fuel filter on the dink.  Meanwhile, we get a call from Bill and Lisa (Changing Course).  They’re at the marina up the next creek, and she saw Alizann while walking in town.  We’ll get together the next day, ‘cause we’re all in withdrawal.  After breakfast at “Blackstone Cafe”, which has manfood breakfast for cheap, we hike over to their place, that we had driven by on our previous roadtrip.  Their marina is pretty cool, and very funky.  The couple next to them came in to spend 1 night 7 months ago-still there.  Several liveaboards there, many working on boats.  The marina maintains a large, well-equipped workshop, and the boaters are free to use the facility at any time.  Great concept, I’m not sure how they make $.  Later in the day, I’m trolling with hamburgers, and have the hook set hard, and Bill reeled in before he knows what hit him.  They’ll be over to our place for dinner and the Beaufort Holiday Boat Parade (Christmas lighted boats) that evening.  A good time is had by all.  We bid them a “See Ya”, as we’re headed out tomorrow and Bill has some projects to finish up before they leave here.  Our next stop will be Savannah, GA, so we’ll…..

See You Then.   

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