Hilton Head, SC, at Windmill Harbour Marina. We are currently staying in this marina surrounded by huge boats and even much larger multi-million dollar homes! It is a gated community and the size and opulence of the homes is incredible. The marina and homes are actually on Jenkins Island with the homes surrounding the marina. There is a lovely sidewalk going around the whole island where you can view the amazing homes. I doubt there are too many social workers living here!
The entrance to this marina is through a lock, which allows the marina to be tide free and current free – a definite plus. The marina hosted a reception for us the evening we arrived at the South Carolina Yacht Club (picture above), which is on the grounds. Let me tell you, it is nothing like our Muskegon Yacht Club, or really most yacht clubs. It is very ornate and upscale, although the harbormaster and staff are very friendly and helpful to us all.
In our last post we were in Charleston, SC. We did spend the day on Friday, Nov. 9, touring the city and it was very fascinating. The history of the armaments and city walls that were built during the Revolutionary War was cool to see. The city changed hands a number of times during the war and there were so many buildings that dated back to that period, or were rebuilt back to that period. Admittedly, we are not the best tourists in figuring out all the history of the area but it was a very interesting place to visit.
We left the Charleston Maritime Center Marina at 7:25 am on Saturday, Nov. 10. The current was once again an issue, but we were able to get away successfully from the dock without incident and headed into the Charleston Harbor and on to the ICW. We very soon came to the bascule bridge we had to hail to open. It took a bit to stop the traffic for the bridge to open, and while we were circling around to wait a large cabin cruiser came up behind us. We were circling with one other sailboat from the Rally and the cabin cruiser got on the VHF and voiced his frustration with us as he wanted to proceed ahead of us. He gruffly asked the both of us if we would stop circling and just hold our positions so he could pass us. We had a 2 knot current pushing us toward the bridge and little area to maneuver so holding a position in a sailboat is next to impossible without slamming into the bridge. We told him we couldn’t stop circling and that he would just have to wait – which he reluctantly did. We have found power boat operators most often have no idea the challenges that sailboats with keels and single engines have.
We eventually reached our anchorage around noon that day and put the anchor down with little fanfare – we actually did have to move once away from a shoal, but it was all good. Where we anchored was Steamboat Landing which is on an offshoot of the ICW, allowing us easy access the next morning. There was a boat launch nearby which allowed us to walk Max for his potty break – always a good thing! That afternoon as we were enjoying the sun (finally!) a pod of three dolphins swam for a few minutes of the side of our boat. It is always cool to see dolphins! I also had fun watching the power we were now getting from our newly installed solar panels. I think they may actually work! It kept our batteries totally topped off all afternoon until the sun went down. They are going to be great when we are at anchor for longer periods of time.
The wind piped up quite a bit that night but our anchor held firm. We always do visuals and sightings on land before we go to bed, and I also monitor our Anchor Alarm app in case we start dragging. We have a 55 lb. Rocna anchor which has served us very well in grabbing well.
The next morning, Sunday, Nov. 11, after taking Max ashore, we once again headed back onto the ICW headed for Beaufort, SC. It was a 36.4 nm (nautical mile) trip and proved to be very pleasant with many turns and winding of the ICW. As we had left at 7:10 am already, we arrived at the Downtown Marina of Beaufort about 12:30 pm. We fueled up and got a pump out and were set. We were fore warned about the fast current at this marina, but fortunately it was almost slack tide so we had little problems tying up. We are one of the faster boats so it is always fun to watch and help the other boats come in.
Unfortunately the vast majority of the time we were at Beaufort it rained. And did it rain! Thankfully our onboard heater is working well now so it allowed us to dry the boat out a bit inside as everything gets so damp. We even hung clothes and coats all around to dry them out, making the interior look like a dry cleaners. But it worked.
We were in Beaufort three nights and two full days. We were able to do some walks in between the rain showers and were able to see the Beaufort Memorial Hospital where our niece, Stephanie, worked a couple of years ago. Sharon was able to get to the grocery store for some provisions, and one night we even had Mike and Marie from Sea Ghost, a fellow Rally boat, over for a wonderful dinner. The other evening we joined Steve and Pat from Our Latitudes for pizza at the local Hearth Pizza restaurant.
It certainly would have been a lot more enjoyable if the weather had not been so wet at Beaufort but we made the best of it we could. We certainly put the city on our list to visit again on our way back north next spring/early summer as we head north for hurricane season.
On Wednesday, Nov. 14, we left Beaufort and headed 20.8 nm to where we are now. It was a cold ride with a stiff wind directly from behind us so we were quite cold the entire trip. Hot chocolate certainly helped during this trip! We had to wait in a que outside the marina to enter as only one boat could go through the lock into the marina at a time so it took a while. We were very thankful we brought our winter coats, hats, scarves and gloves along!
The sun is finally out today (I’m actually writing this on Friday morning), although it was only 37 degrees outside this morning. The high yesterday was only 52 (and windy and cold!!), but it’s supposed to get all the way up to 58 today. Woo Hoo! It is still a lot better than what people are experiencing back home in Michigan, but it is chilly nonetheless. We thought we were headed south for warmer climates!
We had a Skipper’s Meeting this morning to discuss the route for when we leave tomorrow. Our next main stop is at Jekyll Island in Georgia, but that is 109 nm away – too far for one day. We will break it up into two chunks and anchor about halfway in Walburg Creek just off the ICW again. The ICW is known to do a lot of winding and turning in Georgia, and tomorrow’s route includes that and a number of low water areas, so a number of us are planning on going out the Tybee Inlet into the Atlantic Ocean and coming back in the St. Catherine’s Sound Inlet. This will allow us to bypass a number of problem areas such as Hellgate and Little Mud River which have to be timed well to not go aground. This will be our first offshore venture since going down the New Jersey coast in early September. The wind is projected to be NE, from behind us, at 5 – 9 knots with only 2 – 3 foot seas. We’ll actually be able to sail, we hope! In order to maintain our speed and reach Walburg Creek, just inside the inlet we’ll be entering, before sunset we may end up motor sailing but at least the sails will be up! There will probably be 6 – 8 boats all traveling together on this outside passage, so that will be good. We’ll let you know how it goes!
P.S. I posted a YouTube video of our passage through the Dismal Swamp Canal yesterday so be sure and go check that out. Go on YouTube and search for SV Adventures Await and you should find it. Or, either click on this link, https://youtu.be/F-irPENdoZM, or copy and paste it into your browser to see it.
I offer no promises of when, but I hope to finish the current video I’m working on of some of our time on the ICW and will let you know when it’s done (and when I can find decent enough WiFi or cell signal strength!).