With crew off the boat in Charleston, I am enjoying the quiet of solo sailing. Also, have connected with other friends on Lasata, a 34ft Tartan. Ralph and Stacie made the trip south last year, but mostly off-shore. It’s fun to share the time and share our sailing experiences.
We left Charleston and made the run part way to Beaufort, SC in increasingly nice weather. The first night we found a pleasant anchorage in Church Creek, about half way to Beaufort. It was an uneventful motor/sail treated by frequent porpoise company, and watched a young deer swim the width of the Waterway – about ¼ mile at that point. He/she climbed out, shook off the water and wandered into the tall marsh grasses. Bald Eagles were a common sight, along with other assorted wildlife.
We made a very early start at dawn from our anchorage, breaking up our raft just as the sun was coming up.
It was about a 48 mile trip, and had some adverse current much of the way. We also ran though several of the Waterway trouble spots where shoaling has made for challenging shallows. Every sailor, if they admit the truth, has run aground. Valinor draws 4 feet when loaded with cruising gear and supplies. At one especially tricky spot, well known for its shoaling, I suddenly found the ground coming up fast – made the wrong choice, turned into the shallows and found 3 feet of water – stopped in the mud.
Fortunately I was being followed by a family in a small power boat who stopped, took a line and pulled me about 6 feet off the shoal. Just another example of the courtesy among boaters.
The rest of the trip was a pleasant motor/sail to Beaufort, SC. About mid-afternoon we pulled into the Lady’s Island Marina where I discovered that the dock master previously the managed the DC marina where my former boss, DOI Secretary Kempthorne, keeps his live-aboard boat – indeed it is a small world.
Also at the marina are friends, Mark & Diana Doyle – authors of the best Waterway guides, and a source of great AICW info.
Tomorrow will be a start timed to catch the bridge opening and make a good start to Savannah. I’ll be there a couple days to get a water pump repaired and pick up another friend to crew for a week down to the GA/FL line. If all goes well, we’ll join other cruisers at St Mary’s, GA for a Thanksgiving dinner.