Monthly Archives: November 2014

A day trip to Hilton Head

Beaufort/Port Royal SC
Posted by Bill

We ended up driving to Hilton Head yesterday. We took a walk on the beach and had lunch at Hudsons. It had been years since we were at Hilton Head on vacation and we were still impressed with how nice it is there. They really keep the common areas nice. I was not impressed with the traffic, especially since I haven’t really driven anywhere in several months. I certainly appreciate traveling via water after driving for a day.

Today we are working on the boat and getting ready for our trip home. I am really getting stir crazy. It has been nice to not be constantly on the run, but I am getting anxious to get moving again. I am looking forward to seeing friends and family but not going north and dealing with the weather there.

Unless something exciting happens, the blog will be pretty quiet until after Thanksgiving. I hope everyone has a good one!!

A few pics of Hilton Head:

From a few days ago when we rode our bikes into Beaufort…
Drinks at Luthers:
Beaufort SC 2
Beaufort waterfront:
Beaufort SC 1
We saw this praying mantis at the marina and thought the grandkids would like it:

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

Update from Beaufort SC

Beaufort SC
Posted by Bill

The last couple of days we did some exploring around Beaufort and Port Royal. Thursday the temp was close to 80 and we used the bikes at the marina to ride into Beaufort. It is a quaint town and has a downtown section on the waterfront. We sat and had a Carolina Lemonade at Luthors and watched the boats go by. The town converted a railway into a bike and walking trail that runs from Beaufort to Port Royal and it made for both an easy and scenic bike ride. Also did some boat maintenance.

Yesterday got chilly and was only in the mid-50s. The marina offered their truck for a few hours and we drove down to beach, stopping in Frogmore for some lunch. Tricia made home made spaghetti sauce and noodles from a spaghetti squash that our friends Mike and Sue gave us from their garden. Paleo spaghetti and a nice bottle of merlot!! It was fabulous.

It got really cold last night, and in anticipation I plugged in anther shore power cord to run our heating system. We have also have a cable TV plug-in at this marina, so we have been watching TV at night. I’d say it was a real treat since we don’t normally have that, but there is nothing but crap on TV, so we haven’t been missing much. I do like to see the weather and stock market activity, I must admit.

Dad and Celeste dropped off a car for us to use for a few days while they are traveling, so we might make a run to Hilton Head for the day. We rented a car starting next Tuesday to make the trip home to tie up some loose ends (like winterize the lake house) and visit friends and family. I am looking forward to seeing everyone, but I am not looking forward to the weather up there! It is going to warm up here to 60 tomorrow and 70 the next day, only to be followed by colder weather….50s! Not so much for Ohio. Need to get moving again to warmer weather when we get back.

Day 2 in Beaufort/Port Royal

Port Royal Landing Marina SC, ICW
Posted by Bill

First day hanging out in Beaufort/Port Royal. My Dad lives close by and came to the boat this morning. He brought our mail which we had shipped to his house. It was really good to see him and we haven’t seen him since our daughter Jessica’s wedding. I really miss my Dad. He spent the day with us, showing us around the area via car and having lunch together. We ate at Moon Doggies. I had a shrimp burger and it was awesome, also the crinkle fries which I always like! It was special spending the day with Dad. We also got to know the marina we are at a little better. It is a great place to stay in this area. Mike, the marina manager has been really accommodating and displaying true southern hospitality. I think we picked the right place to stay for a few weeks. Beaufort has a true southern charm.

Dad offered to give us a car for the weekend as they are traveling out of town. He may not know how awesome of an offer that is. We are very appreciative. We are hooking up tomorrow again and are looking forward to it.

We are planning on heading home for a few weeks starting next week. Looking forward to seeing friends and family. We miss everyone very badly!

Alternator update: forgot to post yesterday, but the alternator has performed flawlessly for almost a week….I don’t get it!!!!

Beaufort/Port Royal, SC

Port Royal Landing Marina SC
Position: 32 23.698N, 80 40.673W
Posted by Bill

We tried to leave today to time the tide so that we made it to our marina around noon. We ended up getting there an hour early. We had to dock in tight quarters again with a tidal current, but we made it without incident. We wanted to get a slip at Ladies Island Marina but they were full so we went about 3 miles down river to Port Royal Landing Marina. It is really a nice place. After we docked we walked about a mile to Piggly Wiggly for some groceries, checked out a West Maine and a liquor store that were in the same plaza, and also picked up some fresh shrimp at a seafood market along the way. All that in less than a mile…pretty cool, especially the fresh seafood.

Tricia cooked some awesome shrimp scampi with potatoes and a spinach salad, and we ate like kings. Gotta tell you that I love the fresh seafood! It was 78 degrees today and we were in shorts and T-shirts…man do I love that too. We are going to leave the boat here in a few days and make a trip home. We miss everyone so much…all of our friends and family. Can’t wait to see everyone again. Then we will move south again into Florida.

Coming in to Beaufort:

Ladies Island Swing Bridge:

Beaufort City Marina:

Almost made it

Bass Creek off of Parrots Creek SC
Position: 32 28.859N, 80 32.448W
Posted by Bill

We made the push to Beaufort SC today. It looked doable based on the mileage but it was going to be a long day, so we left the dock at 0640 in the morning. We wanted to catch the tide at slack but we also needed to time going through Elliots Cut just west of Charleston. The tidal current runs so strong there that you need to ride the current or face a pain in the ass passage, so we left before slack tide. Our dock neighbors helped us off the dock which was a MAJOR help…thanks folks, and we left unscathed. I didn’t sleep much the night before worrying about it.

Then I realized I pulled a major oops. We got into Elliots Cut and came up to the Whapoo River Bridge, thinking it opened on the hour and half hour. Turned out it was closed from 6-9 so we had to motor around for 2 hours…real bummer and I felt like a complete idiot. It put us 2 hours behind and also put us at some major shoaled areas close to low tide…not what I was planning to do. We made it through the shoaled spots fine but didn’t have enough time to get to Beaufort by dark, so we anchored in Bass Creek. No one else was around and it was a good anchorage. Tricia cooked a fabulous meal and we got some good sleep.

We got to see a sunset on one side and a rainbow on another:

Whapoo River Bridge:

We got to meet some new people at the Charleston Maritime Center Marina, including Hayden and Radeen Cochran. They maintain a couple of web sites for Island Packet boats that are a major help for IP boat owners. It was good to meet them and thank them for their contributions. We have used the shit out of those web sites and they have really helped us dealing with our boat. I wish we could have spent more time with them. They were really nice people and I wanted to get to know them better. Also they have cruised the ICW and Bahamas many times and we could learn much from them. Everyone we have met that is cruising has been very friendly and willing to lend experience or a helpful hand. It is very refreshing. Our friends and family along the way have also been the same. I can’t describe how beneficial it has been! We are starting to get into the “groove” of living aboard and cruising. It is really fun.

Chillin’ in Charleston…part deux

Charleston, SC
Posted by Bill

Today we walked around The Battery area of Charleston with all of the historic homes. Damn cool baby!! I’ll bet these homes are really expensive to maintain so I am glad I don’t own one, but the location and coolness factor is tough to beat. Some pics of the area:

Got some more pics of Patriots point and the USS Yorktown. My buddy Brian’s grandfather did a tour of duty on this ship…very cool. These are for him:

Here is a pic of our marina:

Our friends Terry and Cassandra from Isle of Palms drove into town to meet us for a Charleston pub crawl…way cool!!! We started with rooftop bars and moved on to the highest rated bars for cocktails. The Gin Joint was the most exotic with ingredients that I never heard of…and I have tried a lot of liquor. Absinth was the most interesting. It was used in the old days as a hallucinogen and it made an interesting buzzzzzz! We finished the night going to The Tattooed Moose for dinner. It was featured in Diners Drive Ins and Dives and was a real hoot. Glad to have another day/night with our friends before we moved on. Charleston rocks!!!! Can’t wait to come back.

Chillin’ in Charleston

Charleston Maritime Center, Charleston SC
Position: 32 47.344N, 79 55.459W
Posted by Bill

We were off to an early start to make sure we caught as much tide as we could and headed toward Charleston. As I mentioned in previous posts, this section of the ICW is considered the worst from a shoaling perspective. The intended maintenance of the ICW was to maintain a depth of 12 feet, Mean Low Water (MLW). This is nautical chart speak for saying “it will be around 12 feet deep at an average low tide”. As we traversed this section we saw MLW depths of 3.5 feet (the actual depths were 9 feet). Our boat needs 5.5 feet, so you can understand why we needed to time the tide.

We went through the Ben Sawyer Swing Bridge…
…and into Charleston Harbor.

The first area you pass is Patriots Point which has a big marina and the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier:
You can pay to take a tour of the ship and it looked like it would be cool to do. Maybe we will!

The view of Charleston from the harbor:

The Ravenel Bridge connects Charleston to Mount Pleasent across the Cooper River. It is impressive:

We were in the main shipping channel and this massive container ship came around the bend:
The channel didn’t seem wide enough! I just can’t describe how massive these are when you are right next to them. Needless to say…I gave him a wide berth.

As we pulled in to the Charleston Maritime Center to dock, we pulled right next to our old/new friends on Paperbird. This marina is in a great location and you can walk to grocery stores, hardware stores, galleries, tourist attractions, restaurants and bars. It is amazing how vibrant Charleston is. The streets were packed with people and the number of restaurants and bars begs the question of how can they all stay in business? But every place was packed. Here is a view of King Street:
I was glad I wasn’t driving. The traffic sucked!

We went to the farmer’s market:
Charleston Farmers Market
Then took a tour of the Charleston Distillery:
Charleston Distillery
We learned how they make vodka, gin and whiskey here, and then enjoyed tasting samples.

We ate lunch and walked around all afternoon, hitting the grocery and hardware store on the way back. Greg and Lyn on Paperbird asked us to join them for dinner, so we walked and tried to get into one of the highly acclaimed restaurants called Husk. It was too long of a wait so we went next door to Poogan’s Porch. The food was very good and we had a good time getting to know Greg and Lyn.

Enjoying IOP

Isle of Palms, SC
Posted by Bill

We stayed another day on Isle of Palms. Love this place, really been having fun with our friends, and we need to time the tide through the ICW between IOP (Isle of Palms) and the Ben Sawyer Bridge (into Charleston Harbor). This section of the ICW was described as “the worst and shallowest part of the entire ICW”. I wanted to have as much tide as we could have to make the passage and also wanted to have slack tide while we docked in Charleston so we waited another day. We did some administrative work, worked on the boat, and did passage planning for the next few days. We went to breakfast with Terry and Cas and they were kind enough to take us to the grocery store, then we walked the beach for an hour before starting the next happy hour. Terry and Cas met us at the restaurant next to the marina and we drank, played corn hole, and had dinner. Great time!!! We hope they can join us in Charleston over the next 3 days. We are going to miss them.

IOP beach:
IOP beach

Sunset at the marina:
IOP sunset

White knuckle day in the ICW

Isle of Palms SC, ICW
Position: 32 48.381N, 79 45.592W
Posted by Bill

So the funding to dredge the ICW has dried up at the federal level, and the states have had to be very selective about their investment, so parts of the waterway have shoaled over. Today we traveled some troublesome spots at low tide…a super low tide courtesy of a full moon tomorrow. We had a heads up from the excellent ICW briefing we attended at Southport Marina and several boats (including Paperbird) helped us as they were ahead of us.

The first hour of the trip was awesome due to the dolphins that joined us (Tricia did a great job of posting about it). We bumped the bottom several times due to the tide and the full moon that is due tomorrow, but we made it to Isle of Palms Marina. We have visited Isle of Palms several times via car and really like this place, so it was a treat to glide in via the water. We also have friends, Terry and Cassandra, that live here and got to hook up with them. Painkillers on the boat, lobster for dinner, and good conversation with friends….a good night!

We will spend another night here to catch the high tide and the Ben Sawyer Bridge opening at the right time, which is better on Saturday than tomorrow. The state of the ICW and the tides create a complicated passage calculation.

Isle of Palms Marina:

Somewhere in the ICW, SC
Position: 33 05.384N, 79 25.404 W
Posted by Tricia

So for years we have been reading blogs by other people saying that they see dolphins in their wake. I was starting to think it was an urban legend that people perpetuated to con unsuspecting sailors into becoming cruisers.   One of the many benefits of giving up most of the creature comforts in life. We have seen a few dolphins here and there, but today we hit the jackpot. We had a few dolphins that traveled with us for about half an hour this morning. We thought it was one dolphin switching from one side of the boat to the other, but later we saw about 4 of them swimming together after they left us. It was the coolest thing. They were so close to the boat, we could have reached out and touched them. We only wished the kids and grandkids were here to see them. Flipper making an appearance was truly spectacular.

Here are a few of the pictures that show proof that this really does happen!
Dolphins playing in the creek:

Closer than at Seaworld:

Yes Virginia, there really is a dolphin by the boat: