Friday, May 10, 2013

From Wrightsville Beach Back to Charleston

The sailing being done for this trip, we spent the morning seeking a longer term haven for the Black Dog. She needs to be there for a wedding next week, then Bob and Ronda will take a short anniversary cruise for themselves.. We wound up in a berth at the Sea Path Marina. It is a nice little place, and the people were quite friendly, and they got us setup pretty quickly. We were able to have a nice hot shower after cleaning up the boat and packing up out gear. We wanted to be presentable for the parade, as we were pretty sure that rounding Cape Fear would warrant a hero's welcome in the town. Bob thought we might even get presented with the key to the city. But the people of Wrightsville were strangely unimpressed. It almost seemed as if they were unaware of our magnificent feat! Sadly, there was no parade.

Not seeing any reason to stick around, we hot footed it back to Charleston courtesy of Enterprise. We made it back in time to meet up with Bob's wife, Ronda, for dinner at Virginia's. The shrimp and grits were all that I has been hoping for. The only thing missing was my wife, for the perfect double date. We ended our night at the old haunted county jail for a ghost tour. I can't wait to get my daughter on a ghost tour. Spooky!

Tomorrow will be a casual day downtown, soaking up some local culture, and then a flight back home to my own family tomorrow night. Is been a good trip but I do miss them and wish they could be here.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Where Wise Men Fear to Tread

Last night based on the weather report, we decided the winds would be right to round Cape Fear. This would require us to go through a slue in Frying Pan Shoals, part of the notorious Graveyard of the Atlantic. We could not resist the lure.

We topped off fuel before leaving Little River, just in case we had to motor more than we anticipated, and we got underway. The winds were with us early on, and we made good speed. We meet up with another sailboat, the Tioga, heading to Moorehead City. We wish them a safe voyage.

We made the slue at about 15:30. The shoals are very unassuming, and therein lies the danger. There is no indication on the surface of what lies beneath, until you veer off the slue, and watch you depth fall off too quickly. We held the course and saw the other side of the shoals safely.

The rest of the afternoon was a nice easy sail to the Wrightsville Beach Inlet. The inlet itself, however, proved to be one final challenge of the day. The current and the swells made handling the helm something of a wrestling match, and things were not well marked on the charts. We had to search out the navigation aids in the dark of night. Patience and caution got us to a good anchorage, however, and tomorrow we will leave the boat at a local marina.. Today was our last day of sailing on this trip.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Give Me a Tall Ship and a Star to Steer Her By.... and Wind, Don't Forget the Wind

We had another early day getting out of Georgetown, and the current was with us, so we were back out to sea in no time. The channel was a lot easier going in the light of day.

We had a mostly sunny day, save for one small rainstorm, but the winds weren't what they were yesterday. We motored a good portion of the day, but for the last two hours had an amazing sail. We put sixty miles behind us, and tied up in a nice little Carolina town named Little River. The people were most friendly, and the marina had a place for us to shower. Feeling greatly refreshed after that, we meet an old friend of the Waffler's, Mike Shaw. We did some catching up over some drinks and dinner at an amazing little restaurant called Clark's. My duck was delicious, and everybody else enjoyed their meal as well. We all had a good time. The bartender was most notable in that he asked me if I preferred my martini shaken or stirred (stirred of course)

Bob and I are winding up the day with a scotch and the weather report. Our course for tomorrow will greatly depend on the weather.

Out to Sea

Long day! We headed out of the North Edisto River at eight-thirty this morning into the Atlantic, and have just anchored at Georgetown at midnight. It was or intent to sail throughout the night, but we are making better time than expected, and calculated that we would be in the middle of a major shipping channel at two AM. So we opted feet an anchorage. Georgetown has a narrow channel, but is well marked so it is navigable after dark.  We made about eighty miles under sail today, and are half way to our destination. Tomorrow we press on.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The First Day Out

The first thing I heard this morning was the wind whistling through the rigging. Number two was rain pounding the deck above me. Not an ideal day for sailing, but we are trying keep a schedule, so we set to work doing the needful. We had some prep tasks to be completed for this morning that had been delayed due to issues mounting the radar yesterday, and we set to completing those, and late morning saw us leaving the dock.

We cleared the entrance to the creek before in became impassable, but we were faced with a decision at this point; do we hawed out to open water, or ride out the bad weather while motoring up the intracoastal? It is one thing to be caught in a squall while at sea, and another to head out in one. We opted for the intracoastal. We donned foul weather gear to stay dry (as much as we could), and by combination of sail and engine, made the North Edisto River by about 7 PM. We are enjoying a comfortable anchorage off Edisto Island, and will be back at it in the morning.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Down to Beaufort

Close your eyes and imagine a small southern town or of a Hollywood movie, with majestic oak trees drapes in Spanish moss, beautiful gardens, and people who meet your eyes, smile and say hello as they walk by you on the street, even though you are a stranger. That is Beaufort. We drove down today to get the boat ready, and also had a nice visit with Clive and Jennifer, Bob's parents.

Coming back to board the Black Dog felt like meeting up with an old friend you haven't seen in a while. I am happy to be back aboard. Our big task today was to mount a new radar dome aft, but as is typical with these projects, it required an extra trip to the hardware store. But we think we have it all worked out(famous last words). We had to stop just short of completing the task due to a lightning storm (no one seemed keen about holding a long metal pole to the sky during the event), but we will be up early tomorrow to finish the mount, and be underway by ten thirty. Cat Island Creek, where we are docked, has a shallow at the entrance that will require us to pass before the tide recedes, so time is critical.

After a few hours of working on the boat to make her ready, we were starving. Clive recommended the 11th Street Dockside Restaurant in Port Royal to us, and we loved it! We split some Low Country Hushpuppies for an appetizer, and a has the best steak I've eaten in a long time. Bob had the surf and turf, and he managed to get down enough crab legs to make a centipede.  I will sleep good tonight, with a full stomach and the boat rocking in the wind.

Flight Delays

Nothing ever goes without a hitch, so of course the plane broke down. Happily, it did not malfunction in midair, but was discovered on the ground before boarding. In that frame of mind, I was able to easily stand a two hour flight delay. I made good inroads on an interesting book on pirates (how's that for a pre- sail read?) and the two hours passed rather quickly.

I always love stepping out of the airport in Charleston. It always feels like I can smell the ocean from there. Sadly, it was too late by then to head out to the Gin Joint, so Bob and I headed back to his home for some refreshment. Bob always has the best in the beverage department, and today I was shown his latest find... Hand crafted tonic water from the Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. It was bottle number 46 out of some unknown number. Along with Bob's cannonball ice cubes, it makes for an exceptional gin and tonic. I gotta get me some. Remind me to expound sometime on the virtue of a round 'ice cube'.

We plan to set sail on Sunday. The winds arm favourable in the forecast, which is calling for 25 mph coming from the south east, which will be a good direction for us. Tomorrow we provision, then head to Beaufort to maker the Black Dog ready for another trip.