Thursday, November 13, 2008

Wrightsville Beach, NC to Green Cove Springs, FL

We decided to stop at a marina in Charleston and see the town. On the way north we'd gone to dinner at the incredible Robert's, but had not spent any time in the city. Our stay this time didn't really go as planned - slept late and missed breakfast at the recommended Hominey Grill; had hamburgers for lunch on Market Street; Joe had to go back to the boat to meet a repairman (KVH for satellite TV). The marina had a free shuttle so I stayed downtown and walked and walked and walked. The houses, with the small gardens tucked in between, are impressive. I also wandered in and out of some shops. "Sophisticated Whimsy" is a really cute gallery/shop. Good thing there's no room on the boat for more stuff! Unfortunately, Joe had taken the camera back to the boat with him so...
The shuttle stops after it's 5pm run and the repairman was still on the boat, so I went back to the marina. The plan had been for Joe to come back downtown for dinner. Once the repairman left, it was time to go for dinner but neither of us was actually hungry so we had hot dogs on the boat. Charleston - seafood, soul food, restaurant city - oh, well. We were thinking of staying another day anyway.
Once Joe started looking at the weather he found that if we stayed one more day, we'd probably have to stay three. He did all his planning and decided we should leave around 7-8 and we'd have a nice current helping us along. So we left the marina at 7am under an overcast sky. We were still in the harbor when everything turned white. Pea soup. Where's that bridge? Okay, there's the bridge; there are the fenders marking our way under; oops! that's a boat coming through at us! Thanks to quick maneuvering on both sides, there was no collision. As we passed they said that they had decided to turn around and go back to the marina. The idea of finding our way through the anchored boats in the harbor again was not appealing, so we continued on. Once we blindly made it safely through another bridge, we decided it was time to stop. The picture is of the bridge we had just gone through. We saw a nice set of docks with LARGE no trespassing signs on them. Then we saw some that you couldn't see the signs on until you were right up on 'em. Really nice docks, power and everything. Surely there must be some rule - any port in a storm? So, we tied up - didn't plug into their power, though. After about an hour the fog was lifting and we took off without being reprimanded. Less than a half hour later, the fog had descended again but we pushed on slowly. Finally, about 10 the fog lifted and left dreary, gray clouds.
The rest of the day went fine for us - better than for a couple sailboats we saw. In this area of the ICW the water can be very shallow at low tide. The currents have a tendency to move the shallow places around, too. As we travel with the pack, we hear what become familiar voices on the radio. One sailboater, Breeze Hunter, had a distinctive accent and regularly was on the radio complaining that wakes from passsing boats were taking the water out from under him. He was not one of the ones we saw stuck - so far.

Of course this is the area of 9ft tide swings, so things look a bit different at high tide.
As many of you know, Joe stays in touch with fellow travelers by computer and phone. We've actually run into several people that he recognized from the trawler/loop chat sites. One guy, Chuck Gorgen, lives in Beaufort, SC and offers his dock to loopers as they pass his way. He's expecting to have 16 boats stop by this fall and had almost that many last spring. He lives on Distant Island and has several docks at his disposal. We stayed two nights along with two other boats.
Chuck and his wife, Claria, are incredibly gracious hosts - offering to take everyone sightseeing, shopping and inviting all of us to wonderful dinners. We had a great time and are finding out what a small community we've joined as we learned we had many acquaintances in common. Left to right - Barbara & Greg (Goncruzin), Chuck & Claria, Judy (Jubilee), Punk and Joe. Judy's husband Bill was the photographer. The sea gulls, as well as the cold, are chasing us south and Rocky doesn't like either one of them! We must look like a shrimp trawler to the gulls because they stayed right on our wake in Georgia. Rocky's fierce barking kept them from actually attacking.
Friday, November 21, we'll arrive at Green Cove Springs, FL (south of Jacksonville on the St. John's). We'll tidy up the boat and then head for home in a rental car for a couple months on the hard. Carolyn Ann will have some work done and Joe and I will make the rounds of the medical professionals to see how much work we need done. The plan - at the moment - is to start out again in February with a trip to the Bahamas and then to start on the Great Loop.
Happy holidays to all - we'll be in touch when we take to the water again!
If you'd like to see more pictures, follow the link to our picasa albums: (it's not always updated at the same time as this one, but I catch up eventually!)

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