14 May, 2016
Our stay in Charleston was wonderful, as usual. Emily picked us up, and we all had a tasty dinner at Leon’s. The eclectic menu featured several Clam apps, grilled Oysters, shrimp wraps, some interesting salads, and really good fried chicken, among other things. I’d definitely go there again. The next morning after church, we met Em for breakfast at The Queen Street Grocery. Cam and Evan came over at 17h00, and we headed to Minero’s for Mexican food. Killer! We could barely waddle down the stairs and out the front door. I should know better than to try and run with the big dogs. C & E are 6’5” and 6’7”, respectively, play on about 5 soccer teams between them, and work out like mad dogs while they’re not fighting fires for the Charleston Fire Department. Yeah, they can eat. The Admiral had an appointment for a cut & color on Monday morning, so after dropping her off at the salon (Lordis Aveda Salon, for you Ladies), I walked through the back streets to the Girl. Wax on, wax off for the next 5 hours while Suz got coiffed and clothing shopped for our upcoming European vacation.
Tuesday morning, we were off the dock by around 07h00 to take advantage of the slack water. Getting out of the marina was a breeze (I had been up since 05h00, concerned about the current). Unfortunately, we couldn’t take advantage of the ebbing tide as our first bridge (the Ben Sawyer) didn’t open until 09h00, and was only 6 miles away. As we drifted downriver with the current, we spotted a Krogen Express at Charleston’s Megadock. As we entered the Intracoastal Waterway behind Sullivan’s Island, unspoken excitement was mounting. We had never traversed this section of the ICW aboard Alizann, but were well familiar with the area, as we have vacationed on the Isle of Palms for the past 30 summers (excluding last year, when we couldn’t make it back from Newfoundland). Summer beach vacation with Suzanne’s family starts with the gang meeting at Morgan Creek Grill before taking possession of the beach house. This year, we got pictures of the Grill from the water.
The rest of the trip to Georgetown was uneventful. The currents were favorable most of the way, and we made good time. Around the halfway mark, we were passed by “Viewfinder”, the Krogen Express from Chucktown. We got a couple sips of diesel at the fuel dock in Georgetown, then moved over to our spot on the face dock. Well……….we were around 12 feet longer than the space on the el, so we pulled out into the current, changed fenders and lines, did a 180 and backed in. That way, our bow hung over, and our stern was secure. Once tied up, the guy that was docked on the other leg of the el came over. He was concerned that we were blocking him in, but felt better when I told him that we’d be leaving before daybreak. Meanwhile, Trig and Alice from “Viewfinder” came over and introduced themselves. Half an hour later, they were onboard with us for sips and chats. They have a second home on Bald Head Island where we were headed, so we agreed to get together there.
It was like a new experience exiting Winyah Bay to the Atlantic the next morning, as the last and only time we were through here, the visibility was zero due to heavy fog. As the sun burned off the morning mist, our trusty little ship turned North for a leisurely cruise to Bald Head Island, North Carolina. Twelve hours and 85 nautical miles after our departure, we were safely tied at our “home away from home”, slip A-3 at Bald Head Marina. Trig and Alice, having arrived 40 minutes earlier on their faster boat did the honors, handling our lines. The Dockmaster told us that our friend, Betty, who has a home here would be arriving on “Lili” the following morning, and that 3 more Krogens would be here by early evening. Yay! Mini rendezvous. Alice invited us to their home for sips the next evening, and Trig told us that he’d leave a golf cart at the marina for our use while on the island. That’s boaters! After sleeping in, we grabbed the cart and tooled to the other end of the island, where we walked the beach at Cape Fear. After hitting the grocery, I’m standing on the dock talking to Betty, Jill & Diane, who have just returned from the Bahamas. Suz walks up to me and quietly says “Marty, I need you to look at something”. My stomach is now floppin’, ‘cause that’s how she ALWAYS leads in to bad news. Back on the Girl, she leads me to the storage area under the settee, where we store our staples and canned goods. OMG! It smells like something died in there. I thought she’d produce a dead mouse. As it turned out, there was a thin film of liquid in the bottom of the compartment that had wicked up through all the contents. Boxes, and bags of pasta, flour, rice, and etc. were sodden. The labels on all the cans were wet and falling off. Everything out, we thought that the culprit was a box of chicken broth. We pitched all the wet boxes and bags, and marked each can with a magic marker, then started working on the (gag, gag) smell. We thought that we’d better check the next compartment to the aft, just ‘cause. #$%@!! Even wetter than the first, with similar contents. Repeat performance. Next compartment back. No food, but a heater/blower is housed there. This one had standing water. AND…. the culprit. The PVC plastic fitting for our shore water inlet comes into this space, and had a stress fracture in it, sending out a fine mist of water. (By the way, this is the same part that failed aboard “Idyll Time”, flooding Jeff & Susie’s pilothouse several months earlier). The next compartment over contains the subwoofer for our stereo, and multiple keyboards, mouses, and assorted computer spare parts. It was dry. Working forward from the first wet compartment, the next was just slightly wet. Judging by the quantity of mold, we’re thinkin’ that it must have been leaking for a week or so. Suz had been in there a little over a week previously, and hadn’t noticed a problem. The good news was that I had a spare part onboard, after already having replaced ours once before. Okay, there seems to be a pattern here. Let’s not repeat the behavior. The new regulator is in, but that’s not the end of it. I get online, and fail to find a stouter (more stout?) water inlet, but I have some thoughts about a design which will be more robust. I’ll hit the plumbing supply stores this summer, and see what I can fabricate. In the meantime, we’ll watch this one like a hawk.
Back to Bald Head. We’re having sips at Alice & Trig’s beautiful home, and the sky is darkening. The wind picks up, and there’s lightning in the distance, so Trig and I head out to the deck to stow the patio furniture. Here comes the first of the 3 Krogens. By now, the marina is closed, and as they beat past us through the whitecaps, we realize that there’ll be no help for them at the marina. We pile into the golf carts and make it to the marina just as they’re getting to the docks. Lisa and Mark, aboard “Tapestry”, Dave and Judy, on “Evergreen”, and Roberto and Maria, “Gratitude”, had just completed an overnight run from Fernandina Beach, and were rightfully proud, although pooped. After going back to the house, we wrapped up Happy Hour, then went back to the marina to join the gang at “Mojo’s”, for dinner. Suz and I enjoyed their “travel tales”, then returned to the Girl, where the contents of the compartments were still strewn about, drying and destinking. We spent the next day putting things back together, and joined the Fernandina crew for dinner at Delphinas restaurant near the marina.
This morning, the 14th, we were off the dock at 05h15. As we bucked the tide and current up the Cape Fear River, the fog moved in. By the time that we got to Snow’s Cut, which is scary in full daylight, we had zero/zero visibility. To make matters worse, the sun was glaring through the thick ground fog, effectively making me “snow blind”. Suz read the chart plotter, doing the “left, “right, left, right” thing, while I drove, staring into the whiteness. Good, clean fun. We exited the ICW at Wrightsville Beach, and are now in the Atlantic under sunny skies, with a 3-foot swell on our beam. We’ll reenter the ICW at Morehead City this evening to cross the Pamlico Sound the next day or so.