It’s a wrap

Southport NC
Position 33 55.087N, 078 01.717W
Posted by Bill

The last post was from Beaufort SC, and we left on 5/15, anchoring half way to Charleston in Steamboat Creek. It is a great anchorage…very picturesque, but a little buggy. We got good news on the way there, we were able to get slips in Charleston! We left the next day with a beautiful sunrise:
We tied up at Charleston City Marina at position 32 46.796N, 079 57.285W. We planned to stay in Charleston for 3 nights, but the really nice weather window we had was coming to a close, and we wanted to be in Southport before the next front came through. The other factor in the decision was related to a broken engine part. In Beaufort, I had to adjust the prop shaft packing gland, as we were getting too much water leaking into the bilge. While I was in that part of the engine compartment, I checked the oil level in the transmission, and when I replaced the dip stick that screws down into the transmission, the plastic top broke off, leaving the threaded part stuck in the transmission, and an open hole down the tube…not good. We made several calls and found that the marina we were going to be in at Charleston had a parts dealer office and could get the part to us while we were there. I was able to remove the threaded piece and retrieve the dipstick, and after trying several unsuccessful attempts to glue the parts back together for a temporary fix, I settled on using 3M 5200 gooped on the top of the threaded piece. With Matt’s help doing research, we found that the transmission would be fine if we closed the hole in the top of the tube, inserted the tube with only a few threads screwed in, and leaving a pin hole in the 5200 patch to allow air to move in and out of the transmission case with the changes in temperature. If you don’t leave a hole, you can blow the seals in the transmission when it heats up. I was up all night worrying about the work-around, but it held and worked great. The new part was $25, and it should be at the marina the second or third day we were there. So, the arrival of the part was the other factor in how long we stayed. It did arrive the second day, but the price was double what they quoted, which pissed me off royally. Since the work-around was doing fine, I opted to wait until we got back to Southport to order another.

As always, we enjoyed Charleston a lot, hitting some of our favorite bars and restaurants, and getting the boats ready for the final leg of our trip home. Here is a picture of our 2 boats docked together:IMG_1934 cmp
There are some huge boats docked here. Here was a view of the marina as we approached, with some of the big ones docked right along the river:IMG_1933
I saw this power boat along the long walk we had from our slip to land, and the name made me laugh:
Along those lines, there are 2 pump out boats at the marina that will come and pump out your toilet waste right at your slip. The names cracked me up:
I also really liked this T-shirt we saw in one of the shops:IMG_1939 cmp
With weather moving in, we decided to move on after 2 nights.

You need to arrive at and depart Charleston around slack tide because of the strong tidal currents. That was a major factor in how many days it would take to get home. We left on 5/19 at about 7:54, and in spite of a later start, we still made it to Georgetown SC before dusk. We anchored in position 33 21.981N, 079 17.383W. We were starting to get pretty weary of long ICW days behind the wheel, so instead of staying in Georgetown for 2 nights and pushing on to Myrtle Beach, we broke it into 2 shorter days. And we were glad we did. We left Georgetown the next day and tied up at Bucksport Marina in Bucksport SC, position 33 39.064N, 079 05.690W. It is a bit rustic there, but dockage is $.75 a foot (a great bargain!), and there is a really good restaurant right at the marina that was having a band. We were docked right next to the stage, so after having some really good food, we went back to the boats, sat on the bow, made some drinks, and watched the band. They were outstanding, and we really enjoyed the evening. The next day we finished the run to Barefoot Landing in Myrtle Beach, position 33 48.070N, 078 44.750W. It was bike week, and Barefoot Landing was ground zero for the bike related vendors and the temporary “longest biker bar” from Sturgis. The parking lots were packed with vendors, and it was great people watching. We tried a new place for happy hour/dinner, Greg Normans, and it will be a definite “go to” spot when visiting there again. Great food and drinks.

On 5/21 we made the trip to Southport. We all had mixed emotions, anxious to get home, but sad that our trip was ending. Matt and I were so glad to be getting a break from navigating and driving the boat. Since we arrived back in the US, the couple of days that we stopped for more than one night were filled mostly by boat maintenance required to make the next leg. Just after we passed Lockwoods Folley Inlet, we saw a familiar boat coming the other way. It was our good friend John in his sport fishing boat, along with another D-dock friend Mark. They came to give us a welcome home escort:
IMG_1941 cmp
That was cool!

Our trip has taken us 2,798 statute miles since we left last November 1st. It was great fun. This was our 3rd year of cruising, and since we left our marina in Lake Erie we have traveled 9,419 miles. We will take the summer to build a house here in Southport, get the boat back in order (with many maintenance projects), and sell our house on Lake Erie (it is only getting used 1 month per year). Then we may head south again in the fall, or we may take a year off, enjoy our house, spend more time with our family, and do some shorter trips along the coast. I want to do some blog posts to share information about our travels that would benefit people that are going to take off on their boat. We have met several who are just starting. Otherwise, the blog will likely focus on our house building project. We are very excited about it. Thanks for following along!

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