We are having our master bath demolished back to the walls and totally remodeled. Our “guy” gave us a start date of August 19th. Since it was only early July we thought we could squeeze in a three or four week cruise – to somewhere!
We had gone south through Florida and the Keys in the spring, and since it was summer and heading north out of Florida seemed like a good idea, we decided to turn left and head north for as long a time allowed before heading back! No schedule, just go!
Tuesday July 20th Day 1 – Home to Cumberland Island.
Due to other plans we couldn’t get away from home dock until after two so we were aiming for our favorite anchorage at Cumberland Island today. Afternoon thunderstorms were forecast so we used the AICW rather than running offshore. We didn’t want to be tallest thing out there if a storm hit! We beat the storms to the anchorage and quickly launched the dinghy so Sian could take Bella ashore. Unfortunately the heavens opened with an almighty downpour when she was on her way back and both got drenched. An hour later the storms had passed through and we had a wonderful calm night at anchor.
Wednesday July 21st Day 2. Cumberland to St Simons.
The marine forecast was for 1.5 – 2 foot seas all week, plus we had an outgoing tide to push us out the St Mary’s inlet so went outside to St Simons. it was a very enjoyable run offshore. We passed the Golden Ray, about half of it still there two years after it capsized, and tied up on the face dock at Morningstar Marina. Marina attendant Walter helped us load up with a couple of hundred gallons of diesel.
Paul chatted with the owner of the Kady Krogen 48 tied up behind us, stern to stern. He had bought the boat a month ago in Tennessee having moved up from a sailboat. They were leaving soon to run offshore to Beaufort, North Carolina. We then went down below for a nap when we felt a slight bump. We got up just as there was an almighty crash. Paul opened the starboard side pilot house door to find a bow and anchor pointing at his chest.
The KK had reversed out of his berth, kissed Sonas on the way past our stern, over corrected and plowed into our starboard side right by the pilothouse. He pulled away and got tied up further down the dock. He came onboard and apologized and gave us his personal and insurance information. The damage unfortunately is extensive, though not in a location which would stop us from completing our cruise. We contacted our yard back in Jacksonville and arranged to have her repaired soon after we get back.
Walking down the dock we saw another trawler called Sonas! This is only the second other boat with our name we have come across after seeing a sailboat with the name in the Chesapeake. This evening we had dinner booked at Southern Kitchen at the marina. The place was packed with tourists and we found a number of menu items sold out. We generally found the menu and service was not as great as previous visits when we were more out of high season.
Thursday July 22nd Day 3. St Simons to Hilton Head.
The offshore weather was holding so we went outside again today. This was likely to be our longest run of the cruise if all goes to plan. Some of this was the distance offshore inlet-to-inlet, but also the long run once inside Tybee Roads, crossing into Calibogue Sound and up to our marina for the next two nights, which would take another 90 minutes. We untied at 7am and were tied up at Shelter Cover Marina by four.
As we got off Sapelo and St Catherine’s Sound a line of fast moving strong thunderstorms developed along the coast and started moving offshore towards us. We had one or two pass in front of us and a couple behind us so we thought we were going to get lucky, then one hit us square on, with downpours and lightning. We were in it for only 30 minutes but it felt a lot longer!
As we approached our turn into Tybee Roads we saw a massive thunderstorm to the north of us, with lots of rolling black clouds and forked lightning. The CG came on and put a Pan Pan out warning boating of the dangerous storms that the weather services had indicated could contain waterspouts! That all boaters should seek shelter immediately. Thankfully it was passing north of our inlet so wouldn’t affect us.
After we had tied up at Shelter Cove we took Bella for a walk and were stopped by the gentleman in the boat two slips in. “So you were the boat that got hit in St Simon’s!” He has a friend who keeps his boat at St Simons who had told him of the incident plus our boat name. Bad news sure travels fast!
Since we were running a long day today Sian had prepared a creamy tarragon chicken dinner in the slow cooker and it was perfect by the time we arrived.
Friday July 23rd Day 4. At Hilton Head.
We had a relaxing day at Shelter Cover. We took Bella for a walk over to the Kroger supermarket for a few things. In the evening we walked over to Scott’s Fish Market for dinner, eating outside on the deck overlooking the marina. We had also looked at next days trip to Charleston and decided we didn’t want to do another long day offshore. So we looked to split that run in two. Beaufort was too close at only three hours away, so we chose Dataw Island Marina as our next stop. We called Charleston City Marina and pushed our reservation back a day, and booked into Dataw Island. Meaning we would be running inside for the next two days.
Saturday July 24th Day 5. Hilton Head to Dataw.
We followed the Haig Point IV ferry boat out of our marina and saw him take a shortcut through a gap in Broad Creek. If we could also do that it would save is 45 minutes! So Paul radioed the captain and asked him about the cut and was informed that there was plenty of water. We got permission to follow the ferry across!
We had a relaxing five hour run today through some beautiful low country. Since it was a Saturday there were quite a number of smaller boats out, especially around Beaufort. As we passed through Beaufort we saw numerous flags along the waterfront and later learned that there was a festival on that draws in seven thousand visitors to the small town.
The Dataw Island Marina on the Morgan River is attached to a gated residential community of 900 houses. The marina was totally destroyed by Hurricane Matthew and the previous owners refused to clear it up or rebuild. So the community purchased the rights to the marina, along with the dry stack and boat fork lift. They have only built one long dock so far, with plans to add. They had space for Sonas right at the end of the dock, with about 13 feet of her bow sticking over the end of the dock! Chad the dockmaster was excellent and we chatted to many of the residents who kept their boats on the dock. That evening we went for dinner at the Morgan River Grill.
Sunday July 25th Day 6. Dataw to Charleston inside.
Today’s run was only five and a half hours so we took our time leaving Dataw. We ran north along the AICW with good water all the way. It was very pleasant sailing – until we got to Elliot Cut that links the Stono and Ashley rivers. There were dozens of boats running the cut and the current was fierce on our stern. There were two sail boats and a sports fisherman waiting for the Wappoo bridge and the current was pushing us down on top of them even though we had the engines in idle.
After everyone passed the bridge we had to apologize to the two sail boats as we had to slip past them. The current was grabbing our broad stern and unless we went to neutral we were quickly catching the sailboats! They understood and waved us by. We were tied up at the Safe Harbor Charleston City Dock by 1:30.
Jacksonville neighbors John and Angela on Joie de Vivre were spending a month in Charleston and invited us over for cocktails before we headed off to Magnolias where we had a 6:30 reservation.
Monday July 27th Day 7. Charleston.
Monday brought housekeeping! Sian vacuumed and polished the interior while Paul laid new bilge pads, installed a new fresh water filter and completed some other engine room chores. He also got after the galley faucet which had decided to come loose!
This evening we had John and Angela on board for a cookout/in. Steaks, sweetcorn and green beans. With Angela’s home made dip as an appetizer.
Week one is in the books!