Friday, July 20, 2018

June 20-22, 2018 Charleston Harbor

Wednesday June 20
Today we put the pudgy in and sailed it to Fort Sumter.  It is free to tour the Fort, but most people pay to get there by ferry.  It was about 3 miles from our boat.  We really have fun sailing it.

check out those new knees-with sun screen
change positions
We spent about an hour touring the Fort.  This is where the first shots of the Civil War were fired.  Then it took us a little longer to get back to our boat with different angle to the wind.  We were soaking wet by the time we got back.

rows of cannons
the semi circle was for moving the cannon from left to right
looking back towards our boat
That evening, there was a regatta in the harbor.  There seem to be 3 different classes of boats racing.  We enjoyed our front row seats.
I guess their used to the cargo ships and stay out of their way

can you see the people sitting on the side to balance the boat?  they have to switch sides when the boat turns

Thursday June 21
Dave planned to run the water maker today.  He has to open a through hull in the bilge that is shared with our air conditioning unit.  That’s when he discovered water in the bilge.  SO we opened all of the bilge compartments in the salon area.  It was red and oily, which made him think of diesel fuel.  He cleaned the bilge and let it dry.

While it was drying, we took our dinghy for a tour up the Ashley river.  We checked out the city marina and went under a couple bridges.  It was also nice to see the huge homes on the water front at the tip of the peninsula that is old Charleston.  They were originally homes of plantation owners.
The Ashley River Memorial Brigde
a peddle pub on water!!

Back at our boat, we watched USCG practice transferring people from helicopter to boat and back.  The helicopter really kicks up a lot of water.  Hope we never have to experience that. 
USCG practicing

Friday June 22
During the night, it dawned on Dave that the water maker has a red oil.  He checked that and found the leak.  There are 2 viewing windows to check the oil level and one was leaking.  He talked to the company and they sent out parts to the marina we will be at for a week with friends visiting, St Johns Yacht Harbor.

We spent the day prepping for visitors.  There was a class for kids to learn to sail near our boat.  Fun to watch.

June 18-19, 2018 Leaving Beaufort, SC

Monday June18
We decided to go back into town for breakfast today.  We walked by the Old Bull Tavern again, but no luck finding anyone there.  We had great breakfast sandwiches at a bagel shop.  We also bought a few for the boat. 

When we stopped back at the marina, we asked if they knew anyone that worked at the Old Bull Tavern.   They didn’t know of anyone to call, but they offered to mail the card to our next marina if someone would bring it to them on Tuesday.  So we left messages to set that up and left them our next address.  Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

We moved the boat to an anchorage just inside the inlet of Port Royal.  We prepared the boat and ourselves for an early start off shore to Charleston.
this is an estimate of our track from Port Royal Inlet to Charleston Harbor that I look at on my phone

Tuesday June19
We were up early and left our anchorage at 5:00am, before dawn.  We were out on the ocean when the sun came up.  Always beautiful.  We had light winds, so we had to motor all the way today.  As we approached the shipping channel to enter Charleston harbor, we could see a mass of ships together on our radar.  As we got closer, we realized they were dredging the channel.  There were 3 large boats dredging and several tug boats with barges carrying away the dredged material.  They seemed to be circling around the area.  So we had to time passing them and heading into the harbor. 


This is our chart plotter.  the long diagonal line is the shipping channel into Charleston harbor.  All the triangle shapes are the ships in the channel.  Our boat is at the bottom of the screen.  The rectangle we are heading for is our "waypoint" that the auto pilot is steering towards.  Then we will reset our course.

dredging in action. always have to keep the channels at a set depth

We entered the harbor by passing Fort Sumter at 5:00pm and were anchored in the harbor by 6:00pm, our estimated time of arrival. 

Fort Sumtper-1st shots of the Civil War when the Confederates reclaimed it from the Union
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We are meeting friends from Minnesota on Saturday, so we have a few days to enjoy ourselves in the harbor AND get the boat ready for guests. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

June 16-17, 2018 Father's Day in Beaufort, SC

Saturday, June 16
We continued to move north today.  Dave was making an online order this morning that was taking longer than normal to clarify.  So we didn’t leave our anchorage until about 12:30.   As we passed Hilton Head, SC, we talked to our great niece and nephew, Claire and Garrett Crawford on Facetime.  It was fun to show them around the boat and the activity on the ICW.  They were able to watch our mast as it went under a bridge.  It cleared the bridge by about 10 feet, but when you are looking straight up at it, it looks like 10 inches.  When we showed them our dinghy, Garrett remembered Dave telling him last winter “you should only step UP into your dinghy”.  In other words, if your boat is still floating, stay with the boat. 

We had a much calmer day: no shallow areas and no crazy tourists.  We made it to Beaufort, SC by about 5:30.  About 3:00, we decided to get a mooring ball at the downtown city marina.  Their mooring balls are $20/night and slips are $2:00/ft plus electricity,  so about $100.  On the mooring ball, you still get to use all the marina facilities.  Plus there will be a lot of activity on the water over the weekend since it is Father’s Day. 

The office closed at 6:00, so as soon as we were tied up to the mooring ball, we dropped the dinghy in the water and headed to the marina.  We returned to the boat, cleaned up a little, and went out for dinner.  We went to the Old Bull Tavern.  They had an “interesting” menu, but some of their tastes didn’t match what we thought they should be.  The Tiramisu was the best part of the meal. 

When Dave remade the chaps for the dinghy, he didn’t make a hole at the bow to mount our lights.  So I had to hold our bow red/green light on the trip back to the boat.  The stern white light had a mount that Dave made from a fishing rod holder and PVC pipe. 

Sunday, June 17
Happy Father’s Day to Dave and all the fathers we know.  We had a great phone conversation with our son last night.  Always miss that guy.

On Friday, as we thought about ending up in Beaufort, I checked on the location of the Catholic Church.  It wasn’t within walking distance.  I decided to contact the church to see if someone would be able to pick me up for mass.  I e-mailed the parish manager explaining my situation.  She gave me the phone name and phone number of someone right away.  I didn’t call him until last night, since I wasn’t sure where we would end up or where to meet him. 

Brian was the head of maintenance at the church.  He also picked up a 95 year old lady.  I guess they used to have a bus for several people, but now he just does this as needed.  I was really glad I thought of this in advance and it all worked out. 

While I was at church, Dave was getting fuel in our jerry cans at the marina.  He realized he had left his credit card at the restaurant last night.  Pretty rare for that to happen to him.

We decided to go out for brunch, so we went by the restaurant.  They were closed today AND Monday.  We were planning to leave on Monday.  So Dave left a phone message, hoping someone would check it for some reason. 

The only place within walking distance that served breakfast had a huge waiting line.  So we stopped at the next place we came to, Q on Bay, which stood for BBQ on Bay avenue.  We were really hot by now, so just had a salad and chicken wings.  Not really what we had in mind. 

Back at the marina, we used their courtesy car to get a few groceries and a few parts.  Dave has been working on the outboard motor for the dinghy and it still needs tweaking.   I thought about using the car for church after we arrived.  But they have a one hour limit.  And it’s on a first come first served basis.  So I didn’t want to rely on that. 

After unloading groceries, we rounded up 2 loads of laundry and I returned to the marina to use their laundry mat, $1.75/machine.  Not your typical Father’s Day.

Once back at the boat, Dave worked on the Mercury 15hp dinghy motor.  He thinks he finally got it running smoothly.  He learned a lot researching what to do online.  Pretty handy guy.

It was too hot to cook on the boat, so I used my fresh produce to make salsa, which turned out pretty good.  We had that with chips and leftover chicken wings.  But the Father’s Day topper was peach pie that we bought at the grocery store.  That made Dave’s day. 

June 12-15, 2018 from GA to SC

Tuesday June 12
We spent another day at anchor here.  Dave organized the aft cabin.  He calls it “the garage”.  We have removed the cushions for the bed.  It is strictly for storage of tools and parts.  Any guests that stay with us have to sleep on the dining table that is made into a bed.  Keeps them from wanting to visit too long. 

While in Brunswick, I shopped at an Asian market.  Tonight we had green curry with chicken on Odon noodles.  Very spicy and very good.

Wednesday June 13
Then next shallow area on the ICW is called Hell’s Gate.  It is about 45nm from here.   To pass through that area at high tide, it has to be early morning or early evening.  We thought we’d go part over the next 2 days, then go early the third day.  We had another relaxing morning and left about 11:30.  The ICW can be mentally tiresome.  We are constantly checking our Garmin/Active Captain app for hazards.  People update shoaling or other hazards regularly.  So it is much more usable than any printed material.  On our chart plotters, there is a “magenta line” that is considered the ideal area to travel on the ICW.  But it can be wrong or not updated after a hurricane.  So the Active Captain hazards are important to follow.  At 2:45, we were on the magenta line in an area with no hazards and felt our keel bump the bottom.  That’s only 5 feet deep and it was 2.5 hours before high tide.  Many boats have deeper drafts that 5 foot, so we added a hazard warning for that area. 

About 3:00, it started to rain and we saw many lighting strikes in the path we were headed.  From the radar, it didn’t appear to be a big storm, so we kept on course.  About 3:30, we decided we could make it to an anchorage just before Hell’s Gate and leave early in morning at high tide, which would be about 7:00am.  At 5:30, we realized we could keep going through Hell’s Gate with high tide at 6:30pm, so on we went.  We entered that area about 6:10 and had no problem.  We found a nice anchorage about 7:00 and brought out the margaritas to celebrate. 
peaceful anchorage

Thursday June 14
Lazy day.  Made water 90 gallons in 2 hours because water was so clear.  Usually 30 gallons/ hour or 3 hours.

Friday June 15
There was a lot of crazy vacationing activity on the river today.  We were following a small power boat under a bridge.  When they got under it, they stopped and looked up at the bridge.  Well, you can’t just put on the brakes, so Dave gave them the air horn danger warning of 5 short blasts.  That got them moving.  At another bridge closer to Savannah, there were about 20 jet skis sitting under the bridge in the channel we had to pass through, the highest point and dredged area.  As we moved closer, they just sat there.  So Dave gave them the air horn, too.  It looked like a group renting the skis, so they probably didn’t understand how the ICW works.  I think they were waiting in the shade of the bridge for the last of their group to join them.  But they could have been off to the side. 

After crossing the Savannah river, the ICW enters “Fields Cut”.  Sometimes the ICW is part of a natural river, other times, a channel was made, called a cut.  Well, the advice on our Active Captain app was confusing and we went aground.  We tried for about a half hour to get ourselves free.  The tide was rising.  Usually you wait for the tide to rise and you can float off of the shallow area.  But the tide was pushing water into this cut and therefore holding us against the shore.  We didn’t think we would be able to motor against the current to free ourselves.  So we called Boat US for the first time since we have been members of this towing service, 2004.  I called them by phone and talked to a dispatcher.   When she asked for our membership number, Dave knew it off the top of his head.  When I late asked him about that, he said he thought we might need it today, so he memorized it.  Never know what he’s thinking.  They said the tow could take about an hour to get to us.  10 minutes after getting off of the phone, we were able to get our boat free.  Another boat passed us and their wake rocked the boat enough for us to move.  We called Boat US and cancelled our tow.  They also gave us local advice about passing through the cut, and we made it through just fine.  Whether you are a member or not, you can call them for advice about navigating an area. 

By now it was about 5:00, so we started looking for a place to anchor.  We passed by a few that had the potential for getting stuck.  We found a beautiful anchorage on a creek just before Hilton Head.  It was funny to see a sunset cruise pass by our boat.  We had an awesome breeze and were able to eat dinner in the cockpit with no bugs.  Of course, cocktails were in order after our hectic day. 

Dave made the shade hanging on the aft of the bimini
we had to go between the red marker and the shoreline on the right for the deepest water
our boat is probably in a few pictures taken from that tour boat
pretty lightening show behind another boat at anchor

June 8-11, 2018 leaving Brunswick Landing Marina

June 8, 2018 Friday
We finally left Brunswick Landing Marina after 11 months of having the boat docked here.  We returned the rental car in the morning and tucked up things as needed.  Then we had to wait for a rain shower to pass.  It was about 2:30 when we left our slip.  It was fun to have friends saying good-bye as we left which brought up mixed feelings.  We were excited to be on another adventure, but sad to leave the many friends we have made at this marina.
broke the galley fawcett just before we left the marina


Sidney Linear bridge behind us
We only traveled about 13nm in 2.5 hours and anchored just off the ICW north of the bridge to St Simon’s Island.  We always see boats anchored here when we drive to St Simon’s and it looked so peaceful.  We tried out our new Mantus anchor and new windless.  The chain is bouncing, so it slips in the gypsy, which should grab the chain.  The windless seems to go faster than our old one.  There are a combination of things going on here that Dave will research and figure out how to correct.

It was great to be at anchor again.

Saturday, June 9
Dave needed to “fix” his new fuel jerry cans before he could fill them with fuel.  After that project was complete, we took the dingy to Morningside Marina for fuel.  We had fun taking the dinghy for a ride.

Once we were at the marina, we easily talked each other into eating at their restaurant.  Luckily, they had outdoor seating, because Dave forgot his shoes.  They had a smaller brunch menu on Saturday and Sunday, but fun.  You could choose 4 levels of spice for your Bloody Mary, so I had to try their hottest.  It was like I would have made it myself, so everyone else must be wimps.  They had “Dirty Oysters” on the menu.  We had to try a dozen.  They were raw with Pete’s Texas hot sauce, caviar, and sour cream, $17/dozen.  They were awesome.  We’ve never seen that offered anywhere else.  $1 an oyster is a good happy hour price around here.  So $17 for the extra goodies seemed fair to us.  Dave couldn’t pass up a hamburger and fries.  But I tried their shrimp and cheese grits with Andouille sausage, onions and peppers and a tomato gravy.  Pretty tasty.
Dirty oysters-raw with hot sauce, caviar, and sour cream
dolphins greeting us

We headed back to the boat full of fuel and food.  After securing the jerry cans, we moved the boat 8nm further to our original destination, Wally’s Leg, a small creek off of the ICW.  We anchored here 4 years ago and remember it as a peaceful spot.  Dave had a Georgia fishing license, so we threw out a couple crab hand lines.  We caught 2  blue crabs right away.  The tide changed and the current picked up, so we didn’t catch any more.  We 1/2 boiled, 1/2 steamed the 2 of them with Old Bay seasoning and dug into them for our dinner.  Yummy!

decided to wait out this one

repairing port hatch handle for the 3rd time

nice sunset at anchor
blue crabs

yummy dinner

 This link is to see a video of us leaving the marina.  I couldn't figure out how to copy it to the blog.

Sunday, June 10
We wanted to run our water maker, so we stayed here another day.  We first ran the water out of the tank, since it had been sitting in there for months.  Dave had made water while at the marina a few months ago.  It’s hard on the water maker to let it sit too long.  After draining that tank, we filled it with water from this area.  We always check the TDS, total dissolved solids, before filling the tank.  It should be under 500.  This registered at 5!!  That’s the purest water we have ever seen.  The water in the Bahamas may look crystal clear, but the salt and warm temperature make it much higher, usually in the 300 range.

Monday June 11
Since we’re “retired”, we had a lazy morning and didn’t leave the anchorage until about noon.  At 1:10 we grounded and came to a dead stop.  We were probably a little too far to port in hind site.  There was a warning for this area, but we were seriously putting on bug repellent at the time. The horse flies have been vicious.  Note to ourselves: do that when there isn’t a hazard in the area.  We were on a rising tide, so that was in our favor, but high tide wasn’t until about 3:30.  We occasionally tried to power through the area with turning the boat from right to left. We have a “bulb” keel, so sometimes we can squirm our way through.  Whenever a power boat came by, we tried to take advantage of their wake.  2 barges passed us on the starboard side and had plenty of depth for their 6 foot draft.  A sailboat came up behind us and started to pass us on the port side.  We called them on the VHF radio to tell them to pass on the starboard, but they didn’t answer.  We waved at them to pass on our starboard and they circled around.  Finally about 5 coast guard power boats passed us on our starboard and they got the hint.  About 2:30, we floated off the low spot, but were stuck right away again.  About 3:00, we finally moved with the rising tide.  It’s a patience game.

We were heading to one of the 3 shallow areas on the ICW in Georgia, Little Mud River.  So we stayed on the trail of the second barge that passed us.  We figured we were safe in his path.

When we made it to our anchorage, we had a great breeze in the cockpit.  That also keeps the bugs away.  We had to sit out there with a couple gin and tonics to debrief running aground. 

May 14-June 7, 2018 Prep for leaving the marina

 5-14 We decided to buy a new Mantus anchor this year. This will be better for anchoring in grass or hard sand.  While mounting the new anchor, Dave discovered the bow roller had stopped spinning and had worn thin.  So Dave ordered a new one, couldn’t get the exact one, and replaced it.

5-14  Dave waited for me to return to put on the finishing touches of replacing isinglass and edging material for our dodger.  He wanted another set of eyes and hands to make sure everything was going together correctly.  June 4 photo

old isenglass compared to new

Done with that project!!
 5-23 Dave put our outboard motors back in the water to test them before leaving.  We have had a 15hp Mercury for 5 years.  And we bought a used 3.5hp Mercury with our used Portland Pudgy dinghy.  Neither one was running smoothly, so after a few cleaning maneuvers, Dave bought carburetor kits for each of them.  Mercury no longer makes carburetors for our 15hp or the kit.  So he had to use a cross reference to buy a Tohatsu carburetor kit.  After a few days of rebuilding carburetors, he came to the conclusion that the 3.5 was beyond repair.  But the 15 hp ran like new!!  He felt like the “Carburetor King” for a few days.

5-24  I spent several days cleaning the boat.  When you live in humid areas, you are always fighting mildew.  Dave came up with a wand for reaching areas that were hard to get a hand into.  It was a cleaning eraser pad on the end of a pvc pipe.  I also used a cleaning cloth on one of our chip clips.  Almost every surface of the interior of the boat was scrubbed or wiped down. 
5-26  We put a call out to anyone from the marina interested in going to the Woodbine Opry for a fun night of dancing.  We ended up with 9 people, 4 couples and a young woman that was crew on a sailboat.  We enjoyed the dancing and won 3 of the baked goods.  My new knees are working pretty good.

Cornelia remembered Dave from his visit in February with Dean
This guy was waiting for us to return to the dock

5-28 I was checking out a bag of bags that were stored on the boat.  The printing on 2 sail bags was coming off and making a powdery mess.  I spent some time removing the rest of the printing before storing them again.

The marina provided a Memorial day party.  They supplied the barbecued pork and buns and the rest of us provided potluck.  They also had a band with dancing.  Everything was moved inside because of the weather.  I thought it was smart because of the humidity and bugs. 

5-30 Dave was doing his routing testing of equipment before leaving.  With the new anchor, he wanted to test the windlass which raises and lowers the anchor.  Well, it wouldn’t work.  He  spent 2 days working on it, getting advice, and trying different options.  By Friday, he made the decision to order a new windlass.  He ended up ordering it through West Marine.  They are made in England, and West Marine had the only in this country.  It would take 3-5 days to get here from Connecticut. That delayed our June 1 departure date. He spent the next few days removing the old one and preparing the area to add the new one when it arrived.   Dave added a back up plate out of starboard to beef it up.  When it arrived, it dropped right in. 

In the meantime, Dave dove the hull to make sure the prop and bottom of the boat were clean.  Someone had recently seen an alligator in the marina, so that was on the back of his mind the whole time.  He was sure he saw the tail swish by him, but realized it was a cormorant swimming under water after it surfaced near him.  Wouldn’t be the first time he peed in his wet suite. 

 Our Portland Pudgy needed to be repaired in a couple spots.  Dave was able to use a propane torch for the repairs, but thinks he would use a heat gun in the future.  He heated the plastic to be repaired, added additional plastic and a metal mesh for strength and sealed it all.

We then took the Pudgy out for a sail.  We bought the basic boat used, but we ordered the sail kit from the company in Portland, Maine.  We also bought the life boat canopy which will enable this to be our life boat when we are offshore.  BUT, the most fun will be sailing the boat when at anchor.  We miss sailing for fun.  This made it all worth while.
Our last beautiful sunset in Brunswick, GA