Summer Cruise 2021 – Week 3

Ships passing on the Savannah River

Tuesday August 3rd Day 15 – Myrtle Beach to Georgetown, SC.

The Myrtle Beach Yacht Club is in a small lagoon that also house two other marinas. In total there are 365 slips available between the three locations.

Crowded marina lagoon

We were out of our slip and underway begore 8am. As we traveled south on the ICW we realized just how spread out Myrtle Beach was. It was over three hours before we were south of the city. Along the way we encountered many businesses setting up for the tourist day, with party fishing boats, jet ski docks, and even a pirate ship!

The forecast called for serious thunderstorms starting late morning. We checked the Doppler radar on line and could see them moving in. So we initially ran from the fly bridge but prepared the Pilot House for a quick move below when the weather changed. And change it did, the rain absolutely poured down. Given it was a week day there were not to many other boats around but we did crank up the radar just in case.

After about an hour of the driving rain Paul had to use the head. When he went below he found rain had been getting into the master cabin bathroom. We realized it was from the damaged area from the collision in St Simons. Sian went below and dried it up and thankfully the rain eased off and it stopped coming in. As soon as we got tied up in Georgetown South Carolina Paul dried off the damaged area and secured everything with good old duct tape!

We had never been to Georgetown proper before, though we had passed it a number of times on the ICW. So we planned to spend two nights here to be able to have a good look at the town. And even better, after we had tied up and looked to see what there was we found a DOG PARK within a half mile of the marina. We took Bella over there and, due to the heavy rains, both Bella and owners were covered in mud before we were through!

Georgetown sailing school

Wednesday August 4th Day 16. Georgetown SC.

Time for another casual and relaxing day at the dock. The temperatures had also dropped about 15 degrees so a good day to explore this historic fishing village.

We went ashore and had breakfast at Thomas Cafe. The food was excellent and the prices extremely reasonable.

After breakfast we walked over to the Gullah museum as we were interested in hearing all about these people.

The Gullah museum was rather disappointing, in fact very disappointing. We walked into a one room building filled with “nic nacs.” We were greeted by a gentleman, Mr Rodrigues. He sat us in two chairs and began to tell us about the slave trade, going way back to the Portuguese in Africa. And he talked and talked without break and no opportunity to ask questions. Over half an hour later and we still hadn’t heard anything about the Gullahs! We were looking for a way to make our exit. Then another couple walked in and we used their arrival to make our escape. We later learned that he was a well know track star in the 50s. He wasn’t even a local, he had moved from Boston to attend university down south. His wife made beautiful quilts detailing the history of the Gullah people and one showing the story of Michelle Obama, which were hanging on the wall. But we never got to discuss them.

After lunch we decide to try our luck at the Maritime Museum. This small two floor museum tells the story of commercial shipping in the area, plus an exhibit on shipwrecks off the coast. It also had a large section on the battleship South Carolina. All in all an interesting place to visit.

Georgetown theater. We would have like to have seen this but we were there before it started.

This evening we went into town and had a pleasant seafood dinner at the Tuscany Bistro.

Paul’s seafood stew
Sian’s lobster and seafood pasta

Thursday August 5th Day 17 Georgetown to Charleston.

The forecast today was for rain, followed by rain, then more rain. So we ran from the Pilothouse the whole way from Georgetown to Charleston, apart from leaving and arriving at the marinas where Paul used the better visibility of the fly bridge.

We were unlucky in the we were following a falling tide all the way south, in fact getting north of Charleston right at low tide. Since we were running inside on the ICW this called for full focus on the chart plotter, the depth sounders, the Waterway Guide and on the bob423 tracks! At times we had less than two feet beneath the keel. While we would have preferred deeper water we were comfortable in that we knew our running gear was well protected by the keel, plus the bottom for this part of the ICW was soft mud.

We made it all the way to just before exiting the ICW into Charleston harbor when we had a strange experience.

At ICW Mile 462, right after the Ben Sawyer Bridge, our depth sounders matched chart plotter showing more than 10 feet under the keel, giving us 15 feet in total. Then we bumped the bottom! Sonas did not stop but carried on and her sounders showed 10 feet again. There was was a creek to our left emptying into the ICW at the spot so we assumed that it had created a short “ridge shoal” for a couple of feet.

We made the Mega Dock at Charleston City Harbor before the rain started again, and had a quiet night tied up.

Sian preparing lines and fenders for Charleston

Friday August 6th, Day 18 Charleston to Beaufort, South Carolina.

We awoke to a strong line of thunderstorms running through Charleston. So Sian and Bella had to wait for a while to start their walk. We had a bit of a late start and ran from below for all of today’s trip as storms passed overhead all day.

For the second day we were basically following the low tide south which made for some interesting stretches of water. We had two especially skinny stretches where we had lowest depth of 1.3 and 0.6 below the keel.

We safely made Beaufort, pronounced BEEW-Fert, as opposed to North Carolina’s Beaufort, pronounced BOW-Fert! We have never been able to find out why the two pronunciations came about, and asking locals they don’t know either! We did receive a suggestion that one was an English pronunciation and the other French.

We were tied up by 3pm and waited for a gap in the rain to take a walkthrough the town filled with beautiful old southern mansions. When we got back Sian booked us a golf cart tour for tomorrow. Later we walked back into town for dinner at Wren. We were placed at a table beside a wedding rehearsal dinner and Sian had a fine time talking to the bridesmaids – about boob tape of all things!!

Saturday August 7th Day 19. In Beaufort South Carolina.

We spent a very pleasant day in Beaufort. We had been here before by car, but only stopped for lunch and didn’t really get the flavor of this small town of 12,500 people. Today we started off by having breakfast at the “venerable” (Google description) Blackstone Cafe. then headed off for our golf cart tour. Our guide Walker took us through some of the history covering Indian wars, the flags the town has been under, and some of the notable people and movies that have been shot here. The star of the tour though were the homes – amazing stately columned homes from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Some in serious need of upkeep but amazing to see non-the-less.

Later we took Bella for a walk through the town ending up at Kilwins Ice Cream shop for ice cream all around – even for Bella! This evening we grilled sweet Italian sausage on the Magma grill.

Beaufort home
Beaufort home
The hanging tree – used mainly on pirates!

Sunday August 8th Day 20. Beaufort to Harbor Town, Hilton Head.

We had a number of nice short daily runs coming up including only 30 statute miles today, so had a lazy start with breakfast at the dock. We were off by 9:00am running from the fly bridge in glorious sunshine and a light cooling breeze.

We had been having trouble with the chart plotter on the fly bridge. On the last couple of runs it kept turning itself off and on. Paul suspected that our 12v battery may need replaced, though all of the other 12v electronics, including the chart plotter in the pilot house, were working fine. We had the cover off the pilot house windows in case we needed to go back down and drive from there. But inexplicitly it worked fine today! One of those mysteries, though Paul is still going to check out the battery when we get back.

We ran down the Beaufort River past the Marine boot camp on Parris Island, across Port Royal Sound and into Skull Creek at the northern end of Hilton Head. The day remained calm and pleasant all the way to our slip in Harbortown Yacht Basin in Sea Isles Resort. After getting tied up, the covers on and lunch completed, we headed off to the resort’s pool for an hour. This evening we had dinner at the CQ restaurant right by the marina.

Tied up in Harbortown, Hilton Head.

Monday August 9th Day 21. Hilton Head to Savannah.

The pump out station at Harbortown was out of order and it has been over two weeks since we had the holding tank emptied. Our next stop at the Westin Resort in downtown Savannah does not have a pump out facility. So today we decided to exit Calibogue Sound on our way to Savannah and go outside the three mile limit to deal with that.

On the way back into Tybee Roads we stayed off the channel as a large Maersk container ship was heading in. As we worked our way up the Savannah River and number of huge container ships came out, we kept well over to the red side of the channel as they passed. One was an Evergreen vessel – but the river remained unblocked (I know, naughty!)

The Ever Lyric
Playing off the bow of the ship

We approached the Westin Resort dock and radioed a number of times with no response. Paul called the hotel direct and tried to raise them but couldn’t find a path through the phone system to a person. He finally tried the concierge desk and got a person on the line who told us he would send someone right down. But no one showed. We did not want Sian to step off and tie up as the current was rushing through and it was a high step down to the dock. Paul finally laid on the horn – ours is quite loud, and a young man appeared. While he was friendly and helpful he had no clue at all about tying a boat up or connecting to the power. We got it all worked out and were tied up by 1:00pm.

Tied up at the Westin Savannah

We quickly got into our swimmers and headed up to the large hotel pool for a cooling swim, a couple of cocktails and a shared side of fries! After walking Bella we had a chicken curry on board and drinks in the cooling air of the cockpit while watching the boat traffic on the river. A couple of pairs of dolphins came past which had Bella frantic!

Tuesday August 10th Day 22. Savannah.

We had booked a walking tour of Savannah this morning. So we caught the 9:10 ferry right by the Westin and took the 2 minute crossing to The Waving Girl Landing. We then grabbed a coffee at Debi’s Deli before meeting our tour at Warren Park. This was a History and Civil War tour and was very interesting. It was supposed to run for an hour and a half but took over two hours. We had lunch in town before heading back to Sonas for another swim in the hotel pool and a well deserved nap!

The Waving Girl Statue

This evening we had tried to reserve a table at The Old Pink House but found it was “promised” for weeks ahead, So we booked a table at the French cuisine Circa 1875 instead and had a fabulous meal.

That night, at around 1:30am, we were awoken by loud engine noises and a huge wake hitting Sonas. Paul quickly looked out our cabin window to find that two huge container ships were passing each other right by us – and the one nearest to us was being guided by tugs. It took us quite a while to get back to sleep after that!

Leaving Georgetown in flat calm
Kissing clouds!
Bella making sure I stay on track!
Fort Jackson on the Savannah River
Dredge downtown Savannah, preparing for the larger Panama Canal ships
Georgia Belle
First church founded by freed slaves
Bella after a hard day’s cruising
Boarding the ferry to downtown Savanna

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