While I really intended to separate our blog posts into “shore leave” and “trip logs”, for the past week I think I can condense the happenings into one.
We arrived in Beaufort, SC tired, hung over, and cranky, looking forward to a few days of relaxation and shore leave. We were happy to be greeted by our new friends Leigh and Shannan on s/v Blue Dog, who dinghied over and invited us on their boat for a little cruisers’ happy hour. Leigh and I had connected via a Facebook group called “Women Who Sail”, which has been an awesome resource for advice as well as connecting us to fabulous people. Once I got a shower in me we headed on over, and were so happy to be treated to a few beers, delicious guacamole, and great company!
Here’s the thing about cruising. You are with your partner 24/7, and so you better like them. Luckily, Brian and I really do like each other, and can fill the time by talking as our cats and making terrible jokes, and we sincerely enjoy our time together. But when you get the chance to spend time with other people that you hit it off with, it is a wonderful treat. Leigh and Shannan are about our age, doing the same thing we are, and so we automatically have that common link. Plus, they have the awesome pup Pepper and sweet kitty Zoe, so we were thrilled to get a new pet fix!
In any case, we had a nice happy hour and then a nice dinner on land, and invited them over to see our boat the next evening.
On Sunday, we were thrilled to be able to sleep in for a change, and then we headed into town to check out Beaufort and watch the Knicks game. Beaufort’s a great little town, very cute and great bars/restaurants, although it’s very tourist-focused so there isn’t much in the way of grocery stores right downtown. But the marina store had the necessities (beer) so we were pretty well set.
Had a great time hosting Leigh, Shannan and Pepper on Summertime Rolls! Again, it’s really such a treat to talk to people who aren’t your spouse 😉 We were hoping to catch up with them sometime along our way up to NC, but since we’re behind schedule (stay tuned) I’m not sure we will. So I guess they’ll just have to come up to Nantucket!
We intended Monday to be our final day in Beaufort, so that morning I attempted my first solo dinghy trip with the laundry. It was ok until I made it to the dock and realized I’d left my wallet and phone back on the boat, and then couldn’t get the engine started again right away. So really, my first solo trip was two trips, but I did ok, and now am fairly confident I can do this on my own again!
Storms hit later that afternoon, so we couldn’t get out to do our provisioning. We decided that we may as well stay another day, as we were still pretty good in terms of schedule. It’s been a bit hard to let go of the idea that we have to be somewhere by a certain day/time, and that it’s ok if we decide to stay somewhere a bit longer.
Next day we walked to the Piggly Wiggly (god bless the south!), got the boat in order, had barbecue for dinner in town, and slept poorly. But the next morning we were off again, northward bound!
ICW Days 6-7
Once we got back on the ‘road’, we were feeling good about making some progress. It was a pretty uneventful day, and we managed to get 48 miles under the hulls. At anchor that night, we realized (the hard way) that our starboard holding tank was full, so we knew that the next day we’d need to stop at a marina to get a pump out.
The next morning, we got an early start and found ourselves fighting strong currents and even stronger winds as we slogged north. Our anemometer is still on the fritz (been too windy to send Brian up the mast to check it out), so while we didn’t know exactly what the wind speed was, we knew we were fighting gusts of 30+ knots and more importantly, it was exhausting us. Brian found a marina just past Charleston Harbor, and suggested we pull in there for the night, instead of just making a pit stop south of Charleston, which sounded good to me. I mean, as we went through a section called Elliott Cut just south of Charleston, we had the engines revved up to 3000 RPM and were moving at about 1.8 knots – not exactly fast!
Once we arrived at Toler’s Cove Marina (which is just south of the bridge that connects Sullivan’s Island with the mainland), we were thrilled as we entered and the current/wind was blocked by the nearby condos. I’d decided that I needed to practice docking, so I was at the helm. The problem was that the dock where we were tying up was just beyond the buildings, and so when we rounded the corner…bam! Walloped by the wind! I of course panic, as that’s what I do, and I managed to get us grounded on the edge of the marsh that borders the marina. Thankfully, the marina staff hopped in some power boats, came out, and pulled us off the marsh. I knew we’d ground eventually, and I pretty much thought it would be me to do it, but we were lucky to have it happen where we had help around, and weren’t in terrible danger of breaking the boat.
Sullivan’s Island / Charleston
While we intended to stay just one night, we took a look at the weather forecast and spoke to the marina staff, and quickly realized these northerly winds weren’t going to stop for quite a few days. Luckily the dockage is only $1.50/foot, including power and wifi, so we figured we could splurge and wait out the blow.
And we’re so happy things worked out this way! We’re a mile walk from Sullivan’s Island and some great restaurants, and we had the chance to check out Charleston, which we were going to skip.
On Thursday night we did the walk over to Sullivan’s and found a great place called Poe’s Tavern. We met two kids that spend their summers working on Nantucket, had some awesome food and a great time.
Yesterday, we slept in and then one of the marina staff drove us over to Charleston. We decided to do one of the carriage tours, which was ok, although we didn’t really get much of an insight into the history of the place. However, the homes are absolutely breathtaking and we got to see much more of the town than we would have on foot. After a dinner of that most southern of cuisines – sushi of course – we watched the Knicks win and got a cab back to the marina.
Today, we plan to have a “work day” – clean up the boat, walk over to the Publix and West Marine, then maybe get back over to Sullivan’s to watch the Derby.
Tomorrow’s forecast does show a chance of thunderstorms, but the winds will die down and shift out of the south east, so we’re optimistic we’ll get out of here. Then we’ve got a 4 day grind to get to Wrightsville Beach, where we’ll pick up Brian’s dad and sail with him up to Norfolk. He arrives on the 10th, and while he knows the drill – we can tell you where to show up, or when, but we can’t guarantee both – I’m hoping we still arrive by the 9th so we can have a chance to provision, clean, and check some things out before we make the trip with him. Wish us fair winds and calm seas!