Friday, December 4, 2015

Dewees Creek West (ICW 0454) to Charleston Maritime Center (ICW 0469)

Another ADRENALIN RUSH!  Between Dewees Creek and Charleston is an area known for shoaling.  As we wanted to arrive at the dock at slack tide we had a choice of arriving at low tide at 8:30am or high tide at 2:30pm.  We decided to go with the earlier tide and didn’t read the Active Captain notes until we were on the way.  All the notes were about scary shoaling and we were passing through at 1 foot above low tide.  With one eye on the channel and one on the depth sounder we progressed slowly.  We are happy to report no grounding but did have readings as low as 3.5 feet.  Since we draw 4’7” we must have left a ditch in the mud or sand.  Now we have about four areas where we can lend updates to Active Captain reports.

After settling in at the Maritime Center my sister arrived so we had a mini family reunion.  We stayed at her house until Sunday when she, her son Justin and his kids Owen and Ava came down.  We watched the Charleston Christmas parade, just a few blocks away.  Monday was our planned departure date but 1) Forever Exploring was due in, 2) the weather was wet and rough and 3) CMC had space for us, so we stayed another day.  It was nice having a day to visit with fellow boaters and make trips to the local West Marine, Post Office, and grocery store for a few forgotten necessary items…like chocolate.  Plus, my sister came down for dinner that evening.

We had been having trouble with our VHF radio since Maine earlier this year.  We could receive OK, but the transmit was intermittent.  Having 3 or 4 bridge conversations cut short due to the bad xmt, now was the time to deal with it.  We were going to cross the Golf stream shortly and wanted a good radio for safety sake.  I took a trip to the local West Marine, a $20 cab ride, to sort out and play with the various radios.  Looking for the best, we decided on a Standard Horizon over an Icom because it had more dedicated buttons rather than a bunch of soft buttons.  It also has MMSI, AIS, and a host of other fun things.  We are all set now.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Butler’s Island (ICW 0395) to Dewees Creek West (ICW 0454)

We moved in to a closer anchorage for the run to Charleston tomorrow.  From here it is a 2 hour run at 7.5 knots and we have read that it is a good idea to get to Charleston on a slack tide.  We passed a junk with a gaff rigged foresail and tried to hail them but they did not answer Channel 16.  Dewees Creek anchorage has depths all over the map just as described in Active Captain.  We anchored in a 23 foot deep area (at high tide) which was in between two 70 foot plus deep areas.  The tides are described as being strong so we will be vigilant tonight and put out extra scope.  We did not need to use the anchor snubber tonight since we have out all of our 110 feet of chain and another 80 feet of anchor line.  The 10 mph wind out of the North will keep us from dragging our chain over our anchor and the holding is good.  What is not filled up with water is a sea of grass for miles.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Butler’s Island to Butler’s Island

We decided to go to Charleston for the weekend so we stayed at anchor by Buttler's Island and spent the day trying to find someplace to stay near downtown in Charleston.  Not sure whose WIFI we used, but thanks!  We ended up with reservations at Charleston Maritime Center but it took all day and a cancellation.  Most of the marinas were full on the Charleston side.  The rest of the day was spent doing paperwork, phone calls, doctors appointments for this winter and cleaning up.  The day went by fast!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Calabash River, SC (ICW 0341) to Butler’s Island (ICW 0395)

Otter II, a sailboat anchored with us, left about 30 minutes before us this morning and it has taken 3 hours to catch them.  Once caught up we slowed to stay behind them for about 30 minutes so we both would arrive at the Socastee Bridge at the same time for a single bridge opening.   The bridge operator did not answer the radio request but picked up the phone call. 

We went through the Rockpile this morning, a narrow section of the waterway with ledges jutting out from the banks on both sides.  Reading the reviews, there has been a lot of damage caused by those low rocks, the tops of which are only visible at low tide.  Barges pushed by tugs come through here also and when they do there is only room for the barge and tug.  Recreational boats have to wait before entering, or the tug will wait at a wide spot before entering.  We monitored Channel 16 and announced our passage.  Luckily for us there was no commercial traffic when we went through and we met no one coming north so we could easily stay in the very center of the channel. 

Just north of the Rockpile is Barefoot Marina which we had heard mentioned at the KK Rendezvous.  Forever Exploring was there taking a few days off and they said it was also home to Just in Time.  Basically the day was spent looking at all the multimillion dollar houses lining the edges of the ICW.  It is truly amazing how much money there is out there.  There are sections where the houses look like they belong to the more average family but I think that the areas with ostentatious houses are winning.
Mile after Mile of them...

The afternoon found us anchored behind Butlers Island along with two sailboats.  A very spacious anchorage, it is 15 feet average depth in the center channel, deeper on the sides, and someone in Active Captain suggested putting a trip line on the anchor which we did.  A second coat of varnish went on the aft cap rail and a first coat on the port side.  Looking at it now, the port side teak will have to be sanded down again and cleaned before varnishing.  I thought I could get away with it but…not. 

Monday, November 30, 2015

Southport, NC (ICW 0309) to Calabash River, SC (ICW 0341)

 An engine mechanic at Zimmerman’s in Southport came aboard to check out the continuing engine whine at a range of RPMs.  He found one loose bolt on the alternator and tightened the belts, then went on a spin with us down the river and back to check out the sound under load.  No problem, he said, “Just the belts singing to us”.  Dropping him off at the fuel dock we did a “float by” and headed south at 10am.  

Stopping about a mile into South Carolina we dropped anchor in the outer section of the Calabash River, our first time to anchor in a river current as it was maximum outgoing tide.  By low tide at 5pm it was only 5.5 feet deep.  Two sailboats anchored after us, farther up the river, and a shrimp boat came in about 9pm home bound.  Earlier today we went through half a dozen inlets to the sea where tide direction changed and shoals were prominent.  We read all the comments in Active Captain, proceeded slowly and had four eyes watching markers and charts.