Before we knew it, we were in “Low Country”; South Carolina was just across the Savannah River which acts as the border between it and Georgia. The “low country” is used to describe the geographic and cultural characteristics of coastal South Carolina.
Our goal was Charleston which would take two days on the ICW. On the first day, Mother Nature gave us an early rain, but then tossed in the sun to brighten the way, along with some stronger west winds of 15-20 knots with 25+ gusts to keep us on our toes.
I have been taking fewer photos along the way on this northern trip. Most of the good sights have been photo’d and blogged already on both of the southbound trips. It’s not easy finding new things to photograph and write about. 😉
We love Charleston and that’s quite obvious by my previous blogs – Charleston Charm in 2013 and Captivated by Charleston’ Charm Again in 2015. This stop would be a short one for visiting with friends, grocery shopping, laundry, and a bit of Charleston fun. We were headed for a dock at the Charleston Maritime Center (friendly people, free laundry, close to historic Charleston.) We knew that 4 pm was the best time to arrive, for current and tide, so we tried to dawdle watching those fast little sailboats coming around the Ashley River and into the Cooper River, but……..we were still early. It was only 3:30 pm when we approached the entrance to the Maritime Center. The marina staff said come on in, we will be on the dock to assist. Dan and Marcia were right there as well, but there isn’t much anyone can do when you get stuck partly in and partly out of the slip due to a dead low tide. Oh well. We tied off and sat for a half hour, just long enough to get enough water below the keel and shimmy in completely. I don’t believe that is what is meant by “low country!” We saw a lot of mud churned up under us. Not a pretty sight, and a somewhat worrisome one. Al did some preventive maintenance and cleaned the water intake filter thoroughly.
South Carolina’s dramatic tidal range includes the Maritime Center. Even the water taxi had to use different docks around the marina to avoid the lowest tide.
A different style of “cruising” —-
It was fun to catch up with Dan and Marcia on Cutting Class again. Saturday morning was the first Charleston Farmers Market of the season, so the four of us walked over to Marion Square to check it out. And look at the crafts, buy produce and eat breakfast.
Before dinner that evening, we held a benne wafer “taste test”, in honor of continuing this southern food exploration that began in Georgia.
This was a good weekend to hang out in Charleston. Saturday was the first Farmers Market of the season, and Sunday just happened to be “2nd Sunday on King Street.” The city closes King Street to all traffic so that pedestrians can leisurely amble down the street to shop and eat.
In the interest of continuing our Southern food explorations, we all ate the “lunch express” at S.N.O.B. (Slightly North of Broad, our favorite Charleston restaurant), the best deal in town. The “lunch express” for the day included soup, fried chicken, mac and cheese, and okra with iced tea or coffee for $12.95. The restaurant is beautiful and the service is wonderful. It’s no hole in the wall.
Our walk around Charleston took us through the Old City Market again just for the window shopping experience, although I did buy some bags of benne wafers to bring home, for good luck, as is said.
Monday morning was departure time for both Kindred Spirit and Cutting Class, each of us taking a different route. Cutting Class opted for a long offshore run of 33 hours from Charleston to Beaufort, North Carolina. We decided on the inside ICW route for two reasons, 1) The weather outside did not look compatible with a trawler, and 2) We would be able to stop and visit our friends on Magnolia, our Morgan 43/44 sistership, in Myrtle Beach. Cutting Class departed at 6 am while we waited for that pesky low tide to rise enough for us to slip out of the slip at 8 am.
We enjoy the mix and match between “civilization” and nature. After the civilization of Charleston and Savannah, we had two days of the wiggling and wandering through the marshes of the winding Waccamaw River.
We learned about the indigo and rice plantations that once covered this low country on a visit to the Rice Museum in Georgetown, SC two years ago. Before the Civil War, miles of rice fields lined the ICW. Slave labor cleared the land, built the dikes and gates, and managed the water level by a system of wooden floodgates. The plantations and rice fields are long gone now.
Our second day on the Waccamaw River was much the same as the first but the view changed from marshes to trees lining the water’s edge. It was also a damp and rainy day. 🙁
After only 21 miles, we arrived at Osprey Marina, just off the ICW on the Waccamaw River, to visit with our friends Anthony and Annette on Magnolia. We had left the Bahamas about the same day, but they took the long offshore route for multiple days and skipped Florida and Georgia entirely. This was our first stop at Osprey Marina and we found it to be one of the nicest marinas we have seen. I mean “nicest” in the true sense of the word. – friendly and nice. It may not be the fanciest or be near any stores, shops, or attractions (within walking distance of the docks), but we stayed an extra day because of Magnolia, first, but also because we were meeting nice people. Why should you stop here? Cheapest diesel fuel for miles and miles ($1.54/gal, reasonably priced dockage (a little more than $1/ft), very nice building with a small “convenience” store, and an area with tables and chairs for cruisers, free wifi, AND free donuts, bagels and coffee in the morning. They even give each new boat a little goody bag when you arrive.
The crews of Magnolia and Kindred Spirit shared stories from the past five weeks over dinners onboard, first night on Magnolia, next night on Kindred Spirit. Anthony and Annette had a rental car so we did grocery shopping, West Marine, Home Depot, and……… drum roll………. ICE CREAM!!
The happy hours on the deck at Osprey, rain or shine, were a delight. We met some very nice fellow boaters, sail and power. Some doing the ICW north and south, some to the Bahamas and back, some doing “the Loop.”
During happy hour, Gene and Kimberly told us that an 80-foot long Trumpy would be arriving in Osprey that evening.What’s a “Trumpy?”, I asked (hopefully nothing related to the Trump in the news these days!) Trumpys were built for over 50 years until the factory closed in 1973. They were boats for the elite, status symbols, as it were. The 80-foot Trumpy we would all soon see was the S.S. Sophie, built in 1947 and now owned by Greta van Susteren (host of FOX News On the Record) and her husband, John Coale. The November 2003 issue of Power & MotorYacht magazine has a very complete and thorough article on the S.S. Sophie.
We all watched S.S. Sophie pull into the fuel dock, very competently handled by her captain and first mate, a couple that take care of her (not Greta van Susteren and John Coale), with dock assistance from Gene and Kimberly.
Once Sophie was fueled, watered, and pumped out, she settled in for the night, staying at the fuel dock and planning to depart at 7:00 am the next morning. Hmmm…. we had plans to depart at 6:30 am for a long 78 miles day. Below is all 80-feet of Sophie at the fuel dock perpendicular to little 38-foot Kindred Spirit in her slip. Will there be enough room to maneuver out of the slip in the early morning hours just before full daylight????
Al and Anthony decided it was worth the effort to move Kindred Spirit that evening after our dinner so that Michele would not lose sleep all night worrying about whether we would damage a multi-million dollar yacht (or our own little boat) as we try to wiggle out of the tight quarters. I suspect the “boys” just loved the idea of a clever use of lines to skillfully maneuver her out. Where did Kindred Spirit go? Out to an empty spot on that long dock lining the channel. And that required parallel parking.
We will be moving on again in the morning to make our way from South Carolina to North Carolina.