Sunday, October 28, 2012

Week 4: Oct. 24-30, 2012 (Day 22-28)

Week 4:
Wed. Oct. 24, 2012Day 22:        
Destination:  Calabash Creek (Mile 341.7) to Georgetown (Mile 403)
Departure:  0715 hrs.                                   Arrival: 1625 hrs.                                   Distance: 61.3 SM
Winds:  N & light then SE 5-10K
Weather:  fog to start, then sun & blue skies with periodic fluffy white clouds after the noon hour, warm with H= 80’s 
Waccamaw in the Fall

An earlier exit than usual from the creek at high tide & depths of 7.1-9 ft. as we had an ambitious mileage planned for the day.  The reason being that Hurricane Sandy is predicted to have some high wind effect for this area, ie 30-35K winds on Sat. through Sun. with lingering winds Mon. & Tues. to date, Jack needs to get to Charleston to rendezvous with Donna who is arriving from Ottawa on Sunday & we all want protection from this weather.  We fought a 2-3K current & fog in Little River to Little River Bridge (swing—Mile 347.3), then through Pine Island Cut better known as Rock Pile (Mile 347-355), a man made canal with treeless shores, evidence of dredging & commercial development, a hard shale or granite rock bottom & rock ledges.  By Barefoot Landing Bridge (swing—Mile 354.3) the fog was dissipating quickly.  At the Socastee Bridge (swing—Mile 370.9) brownish fall foliage on the trees & Spanish moss (first evidence) contrasted against the blue sky.  Tidal current was now pushing us through the beautiful Waccamaw River area.  This river is an area of swamps, marshes, endless creeks & dense forest for 22 NM to the Winyah Bay.  Both banks are abandoned rice fields with now unused canals, overhung by live oaks with long strands of Spanish moss.  Some inhabitants still speak the old Gullah dialect.  Mid afternoon the tidal current reversed & with the help of a SE wind we unfurled the jenny to keep up boatspeed >6K.  We made good time arriving in Georgetown by 1530 hrs. but the anchorage was crowded & made more difficult with boats on mooring balls scattered throughout the anchorage.  We were unhappy with our first 2 anchoring spots; our third attempt was tight but acceptable for a calm night.  We were only able to layout 40 ft. of chain.  Lynn & Larry  Morrow of 'Twomorrows' arrived earlier today & all five of us met at Ruzzs Roost, off of Harborwalk (revitalization boardwalk project of the waterfront with floating piers for dinghy docking in the middle of historic downtown).  There we discussed the effects of Hurricane Sandy to our plans + caught up with each other’s happenings over some food & Fat Tire beers.  The Morrows & ourselves will stay in Georgetown till the weather improves to move on to Charleston.  We called it an early night.  Boats in the anchorage had moved according to the tidal current.  It was very calm & the night sky was filled with an increasing ½ moon & stars.

Thurs. Oct. 25, 2012--Day 23:
Destination:  Georgetown (Mile 403)
Winds: E & variable 6-8K  gusting to 10-15K
Weather:  sunny & warm, H= 78F

We were both in need of showers after a few of sunny warm days & a particularly warm night last night.  We joined the Morrows for breakfast at Thomas Cafe, right beside Town Clock & the Rice Museum & after saying good-bye to Jack as he was up anchoring & wishing him safe travels until we meet up again.  A must visit was made to Tomlinson.  The cashier, Sandy recommended the barber shop Cut'N Edge (Jamie Adams) for a haircut; no appointment necessary & a reasonable price  ($12.00).  We called Bradley Taxi (Rudolph Bradley) who the Morrows used in the past for a ride to Walmart for some provisioning.  Back at the boat we packed the groceries away & some housekeeping duties while time permits.  After four years Graeme now agrees & decided to try using the V-berth as our sleeping quarters; no more lugging of heavy bins of charts & catalogues imparticular from V-berth to aft cabin during our day travels in an effort to minimize bow weight & to balance the weight of port & starboard at the stern.  Hurricane Sandy  is indeed on it's way; the effects are predicted to be felt here on Sat. & Sun. with high winds from the E to NE to N.  The crowded anchorage cleared out of many boats presumably going to Charleston + others arriving & tying up at marinas.  Other than the permanent resident boats on mooring balls, the Morrows & ourselves were the only ones left & the only ones on anchor.  Graeme checked out Harborwalk Marina just in case but was told there was no vacancy.  The gentleman did give him some advice & information.  We relocated our anchor so we could lay out more chain & still maintain reasonable water depth.  In no time it was Happy Hour on 'Twomorrows' then back home for only a small supper.  On returning though I smelt an odour & heard a hissing sound from the BBQ propane tank; the tank was turned on & the valve was where the propane was leaking from.  Graeme removed the hose & valve attachment & will deal with it.   There was a pink sky at sunset.

Fri. Oct. 26, 2012--Day 24:
Destination: Georgetown (Mile 403) preparing for Hurricane Sandy
Winds: N & variable, 8-10K most of the day, a few gusts during the day & night approaching 12-18K
Weather: warm & partial cloud cover, increased cloud late morning, no rain till evening--> light & on & off

Our Anniversary but not remembered.  Our first night in the V-berth was O.K.  A good powerwalk locating many facilities & sites, finishing at Harborwalk Marina to find there was availability today.

Locals & liveaboards spoke with Graeme & Larry & described the bottom like diarrhea in a blow.  We made arrangements to tie up for two nights at $1.75/ft + $5.00 for shorepower--> ouch!  Larry & I walked to one of two seafood warehouses (Independent Seafood Market & Stormy Seas) & purchased two pounds each of fresh medium sized shrimp ($4.99/lb.).  Bed linen laundered (washers X2= $1.50, dryers X2= $1.75) & showered while Graeme did several preparatory projects for Hurricane Sandy whose effects were to start this evening ie extra tie down lines on dinghy & davit, solar panels, wind generator blades & bimini.  Larry & Lynn watched several weather apps on their iPhones & also decided to come to the marina.  The two of us had a near 60 ft. Fleming motor cruiser to port that should make a terrific wind block from winds from the N & NE.  Happy Hour on SCT, then a late night working on emails & posting my blog with pictures.  Light rain during the night but a non event so far.

Sat. Oct. 27, 2012--Day 25:
Destination:  Georgetown (Mile 403)-- Harborwalk Marina, waiting out Hurricane Sandy
Winds:  N & variable, 10-15K, increased in afternoon with gusts at 25K then subsided with few gusts  but not the strengths predicted
Weather:  gloomy, damp & cloudy, on & off light rain in am, rain in earnest after noon then stopped

A nice, long walk to East Bay Park & Morgan Park; tennis courts, baseball diamonds & location of Farmers Market May to Oct. 13 & lovely homes along River Rd. but especially Greenwich St. which overlooks saltmarsh grasses on the ICW.  Then walked the historic home district & to many shops on Front St. but did not bring my wallet.  Many stores close on Sat. at 1400 hrs.  A well deserved shower then came the reorganizing the shelves of the V-berth & aft cabin to accommodate our change in sleeping quarters.  Mid afternoon heavy rains & increased north winds moved in but only for a couple of hours cancelling our plans to do Happy Hour (1500-1700 hrs.) at Crazy Fish.  I walked to St. Mary's to attend their 1700 hrs. Mass & returned home & no rain; Mass hours= Sat. 1700 hrs. + Sun. 0800 & 1100 hrs. Two separate suppers prepared as I was having my fresh shrimp tonight.  In fact I boiled up the remaining shrimp then peeled them for future meals.  A late night for both of us working on the internet; Graeme was following info on Hurricane Sandy via Boat US website.  There was no rain during the night, just cloud & a few gusts of north wind pushing the boat against the dock.

Sun. Oct. 28, 2012--Day 26:
Destination:  Georgetown (Mile 403)-- Harborwalk Marina, possible backlashing of winds from Sandy
Winds:  N 10-15K & calming mid morning
Weather:  cloudy to partial cloud with sunny breaks & even full sun & blue skies early afternoon till dark

My powerwalk brought me back to East Bay Rd. via Front St.  It was extreme high tide (full moon 29th) & flooding on Greenwich St. between Front & Prince St.  I caught photos of a truck creeping through the flooded streets with water almost 1/3 up it's wheels & kids playing in the water in their rubber boots with water at times running over the tops of their boots.  Again I don't tire of walking up & down the streets of the historic district (homes dated 1837-1905).  Back at the home front, Graeme untied the blades of the wind generator & sanded the blades, hung our courtesy US flag & Canadian flag, freed the bimini of it's tie down, while I scrubbed the cockpit floor & the deck.  A little shrimp juice dripped in the fridge-- smelly!  So a good wash with soap & water & vinegar was in order.  And carpets were shook & the floors washed.  I met Gary & Linda on their Catalina 42 named 'Makana' (last one built) & reviewed anchorages we used to date & recommended anchorages to the south + info re caution areas & passages.  Crazy Fish was closed today; in fact on Sundays the town is closed up like a drum-- kind of refreshing don't you think!  A soup for supper as neither one of us were very hungry.  Phones & toothbrushes all charged, antivirus programs run & updates downloaded on our computers.  We are ready to move on tomorrow.  One glitch; there is no vacancy at the Charleston Maritime Center till the end of the week.  This may change so we will recheck tomorrow & again on Tues. if necessary.  A light cloud cover tonight & clear view of the full moon.

N.B.  If staying more than 1 night at a marina remember to ask for multi night discount.  When we decided to stay here at Harborwalk a 3rd night they would not apply the reduced rate.  Also to note is 1 week costs the same as 4 days.

Mon. Oct. 29, 2012Day 27:
Destination:  Georgetown (Mile 403) to Dewess Creek #2 (Mile 454.9)
Departure:  0745 hrs.                            Arrival:  1525 hrs.                              Distance: 51.9 SM
Winds:  NW 15-20K & gusty, howling, whitecaps; NW 20-25K in the afternoon but several gusts evening & night
Weather:  cool & crisp, but full sky of blue & sun; H=64F & L=48

As predicted winds from the backside of Sandy was a factor today & to remain so through to Wed.  Sandy was well off shore when she passed Georgia & South Carolina but 350 mi. wide & now has turned to mainland just north of us.  Lots of rain had already fallen in New Jersey (evacuations X 2 days) & NYC, where the metro closed Sun. at 1700 hrs. & bridges, New York Stock Exchange & schools.   High tide with sea surges caused flooding of 1/3 of Manhatten.  From shorts yesterday to long pants, turtleneck & scarf today but by noon are enclosure was like a greenhouse.  We helped the Fleming 65 footer, ‘Towwowie’ beside us off the dock, then ‘Twomorrows’ & then us with the help from Gary (Makana) & good driving by Graeme.  We had a 2K current against us as we traversed Winyah Bay.  Winyah Bay stretches 16 NM from the Waccamaw & Pee Dee Rivers to the Atlantic & is 1 mi. wide at the inlet.  We had a nice ride with 25K winds at our stern approaching Esterville Minim Creek Canal (5 miles long) & especially when turning into the canal.  It was now time to watch for bald eagles, egrets & a variety of birds & alligators as we travel the Santee Delta Region (a huge drainage area secondary to the North & South Santee Rivers, creating a vast grass savanna) & Cape Romain National Wildlife Reserve (nature lovers paradise).  This section of the ICW comprises of numerous rivers & creeks, some deep some shallow especially where they crisscross the ICW & is known as Lowland Country (miles & miles of low lying saltwater marshes).  We saw several dolphins but I suspect it was too cold & windy for those alligators.  Graham Creek Mile 439 looked favourable for these windy west conditions as it has a crop of abnormally higher trees for this area.  We pressed on to Dewess Creek Mile 454.9 & positioned ourselves behind a wide spance of marsh grasses & put out 120 ft. of chain.  There were only 3 of us.  We were positioned 10 miles from Charleston & had a view of the Ravenel Bridge, a spectacular suspension bridge. What a lovely sunset & view of this bridge in the background tonight.  We will be staying here tomorrow as our marina of choice has no availability till Wed. & the wind is blowing X 2 more days.  We heard from Jack & Donna & they are doing a ghost walking tour tonight.  The wind howled & gusted  about 25K all evening & night.  It was partially cloudy & full moon & quite errie.  Will the anchor hold? Will we drag?  Be able to sleep?  We watched a movie as a bit of a distraction from our environment.

I would like to thank so many of you for your emails & phone call of concern & wishes for safe travels!

Tues. Oct. 30, 2012Day 28:
 Destination:  Dewess Creek #2 (Mile 454.9)
Winds:  strong & constant W winds, 15-25K in the am, a relief in the afternoon
Weather:  partial sun but mostly light cloud in the am, more sun in the afternoon, cool,H=62F & L=40’s

Despite an errie & emotionally uncomfortable or worrisome night due to the howling sounds of the 20-27K west winds, I surprising slept well; Graeme stayed up late listening to the radio & the reports of the batter beaten Jersey Coast & NYC from Sandy.  Surely our anchor is well dug in & with this continuing blow all day today it will be interesting when we up anchor tomorrow.  We stayed put today as Charleston Maritime Center had no vacancy for the two of us.  It was a morning of macro cleaning & changing of some linens, tidying up bins & reading & blogging in the afternoon as we listened to the traffic converstion on the VHF.  We also heard the very sad news of the sinking of the ‘Bounty’ 90 miles off the coast of North Carolina in 40 ft. waves; 14 people made it in life rafts & were rescued by the Elizabeth City Coast Guard; 1 body of a 43 yr. old woman was recovered; 1 body (captain) is missing.  Once the sun came out in the early afternoon the enclosure warmed up nicely; warmer & more comfortable reading & doing sudoku there than down below.  There was an additional boat anchored here tonight, a total of 4, + 3 other boats at a different location of Dewess Creek.  Another lovely sunset again tonight with Charleston in the background.    

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