South Carolina’s Low Country

We are in South Carolina, the "palmetto state."

We are in South Carolina, the “palmetto state.”

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.

 

plotter speeds

Two pics on the left side — Sometimes the current was with us (going 10 knots in Port Royal Sound ) and sometimes it was against us (going 5.9 knots in Calibogue Sound) . Notice the end arrival times in both cases – same day, same anchorage. Two hour difference. That’s traveling on the ICW.                                                                                                                                                                On the right, another chart plotter picture the following day,  just for fun – 12.5 knots! Now that was a current that was with us. All of the speeds are at the same 1800 rpm.

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. 😉

But it is hard to resist a beautiful dawn in the marshes of the Low Country.

But it is hard to resist a beautiful dawn in the marshes of the Low Country.

Coming around the tip of Charleston by Battery Park, we saw these very fast little sailboats that get up above the water's surface and speed!

Coming around the tip of Charleston by Battery Park, we saw these very fast little sailboats that get up above the water’s surface on what looks like little posts, and the speed all over!

Two of the steeples of Charleston are visible from the water.

Two of the steeples of Charleston are visible from the water.

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.

clean out that mud

Al took out the water intake filter for the engine and gave it a thorough cleaning. Get rid of  any mud that was sucked up!

Kindred Spirit in the slip (2nd boat in) Next time, we will be sure to request a slip that is a little farther out!

Kindred Spirit completely in the slip (2nd boat in) Next time, we will be sure to request a slip that is a little farther out!

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.

Looking from our aft deck to the shore. The top photo was taken at low tide - the buoy is in visible sitting in the mud. The bottom photo was taken at high tide - water all the way up.

Looking from our aft deck to the shore. The top photo was taken at low tide – the buoy is tilted over sitting in the mud. The bottom photo was taken at high tide – more water!

A different style of “cruising” —-

The Maritime Center is near the Port Authority where cruise ships arrive and depart. This was the first time we were there when a ship was loading with luggage and people. Ecstasy is one big ship as she backs up just outside the small entrance to the Maritime Center.

The Maritime Center is near the Port Authority where cruise ships arrive and depart. This was the first time saw a cruise ship loading with luggage and people.
“Ecstasy” backs up just outside the small entrance to the Maritime Center before heading out to sea. We can’t wrap our heads around cruising on such an enormous ship with so many people!

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.

The vegetables and fruits were a thing of beauty. Like artwork!

The vegetables and fruits were a thing of beauty. Like artwork!

Country corn and country music.

Country corn and country music.

We chose breakfast crepes filled with ham and cheese. Charleston is the place for eating!

We chose breakfast crepes filled with ham and cheese. Charleston is the place for eating!

Before dinner that evening, we held a benne wafer “taste test”, in honor of continuing this southern food exploration that began in Georgia.

The history of benne wafers (from a package).

The history of benne wafers (from a package).

Two samples on the plate on each side. The winner? Package on the right -- "Southern Sisters."

Two samples on the plate, one type on each side. The winner? Package on the right, but the actual wafers are on the left side of the plate — “Southern Sisters.”

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.

King Street, Charleston on the 2nd Sunday."

King Street, Charleston on the “2nd Sunday.”

Guys and gals, aimlessly wandering down King Street in Charleston.

Guys and gals, aimlessly wandering down King Street in Charleston.

Food trucks on King Street

Food trucks on King Street. I noticed “roti rolls” in several  places but had never heard of it. It’s not a Southern food at all. Roti is an unleavened flat bread made from stoneground whole meal flour originating in Inda, Pakistan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, as well as South Africa and southern Carribean. I assume the “roll” part means the bread is filled with something and then rolled up.

Dan and Al (n the background) are patiently waiting while Marcia and I asked if we could take this picture -- Southern ladies with style! Wouldn’t that be such fun to do with a few girlfriends??? But where can we find hats like that in New England??

Dan and Al (in the background) are patiently waiting while Marcia and I asked if we could take this picture — Southern ladies with style! They looked awesome and were ever so gracious. Wouldn’t that be such fun to do with a few girlfriends??? But where can we find hats like that in New England??

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.

Juicy and flavorful Southern fried chicken with creamy mac and cheese, and okra. My first taste of okra - not bad at all.

Juicy and flavorful southern fried chicken with creamy mac and cheese and okra. My first taste of okra -not bad at all.

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.

flower boxes

The blooming window boxes declared that spring was here in Charleston.

Fountain near the waterfront.

Fountain near the waterfront.

Enjoying our time in Charleston with good friends and good food.

Enjoying our time in Charleston with good friends and good food.

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.

icw creek

Creeks flow into the Waccamaw on both sides.

That'a lonely (or private) home sitting marshland.

That’a lonely (or private) home sitting out in the marshland.

The marshes can be quite lovely in the right light.

The marshes can be quite lovely in the right light.

Pelicans and egrets everywhere.

Pelicans and egrets everywhere.

We were still spotting dolphins all through the ICW. I have always thought of them as ocean creatures, but obviously I was wrong about that.

We were still spotting dolphins all through the ICW. I have always thought of them as ocean creatures, but obviously I was wrong about that. These dolphins were in playful moods, splashing and flipping their tails around.

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.

We passed several structures that could only be the remains of the gates built to regulate the water in the rice fields, letting in water when needed and keeping it out when necessary. Supposedly a slave chid would sit atop the gate and wash his/her hands in the water on the non-field side. As long as the soap lathered, all was well. As soon as the soap no longer lathered, it was a sign that the water was sea water and salty. Any sea water let into the fields would ruin the soil for many years.

We passed several structures that could only be the remains of the gates built to regulate the water in the rice fields, letting in water when needed and keeping it out when necessary. Supposedly a slave chid would sit atop the gate and wash his/her hands in the water on the non-field side. As long as the soap lathered, all was well. As soon as the soap no longer lathered, it was a sign that the water was sea water and salty. Any sea water let into the fields would ruin the soil for many years.

Our anchorage for the night, just off the ICW in Butler Creek. All alone, just us and the sound of the birds.

After 61 nautical miles, we ended our day in an anchorage  just off the ICW in Butler Creek. All alone, just us and the sound of the birds.

Another glow on the eastern horizon accompanies us as we get an early start on the day’s miles.

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. 🙁

We are still seeing Spanish moss hanging in the branches.

We are still seeing Spanish moss hanging in the branches.

Reflections in the water, even though it was overcast and damp.

Reflections in the water, even though it was overcast and damp.

trees and roots

Interesting roots on these trees that appear to live above and below the water, depending on the tide.

Red roots

Reddish orange roots

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.

Magnolia has been docked out in the "hinterland docks" for the past month. That dock lines the channel that leads to the fuel dock and inner docks. The marina provides golf carts for traveling back and forth.

Magnolia has been docked on the outer edge for the past month. That dock lines the channel that leads to the fuel dock and inner docks. The marina provides golf carts for traveling back and forth. Magnolia has a good view of everyone who enters and departs.

The marina office building.

The marina office building.

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!!

Anthony and Al live for and thrive on their ice cream. Annette and I just go along... (not! We love it, too.)

Anthony and Al  thrive on their ice cream. Annette and I just go along… (not! We love it, too.)

Osprey Marina may n to be near many conveniences, but there is a nice road to take a walk and stretch the legs.

Osprey Marina may not be near many conveniences, but there is a nice road to take a walk and stretch the legs.

My walk took me past horses grazing and a field of goats. Each winter these goats are kept at Osprey, and in the spring they are gathered and brought back to Murrells Inlet, to Goat Island.

My walk took me past horses grazing and a field of goats. Each winter these goats are kept at Osprey, and in the spring they are gathered and brought back to Murrells Inlet, to Goat Island.

This little turtle was h hanging around the bow of the boat for a long time, never even submerging for a swim. We heard that people feed him. I guess he was expecting a treat to come his way.

This little turtle was  hanging around the bow of the boat for a long time, never even submerging for a swim. We heard that people feed him. I guess he was expecting a treat to come his way.

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.”

Becky (on the right) with Pat (in the middle) are soon-to-be cruisers.

On the porch on rainy days — Pat and Al talking with ? in the top photo and  Anthony, ?, and Becky. Pat and Becky are soon-to-be cruisers on “Turas”, their boat.  It was fun to meet Becky and learn that she reads my blog.

Annette & Anthony with us in the top photo. Jim and Joey on "My Pleasure", and Laurie and Artie on "My Leap of Faith" in the bottom photo.

On the sunny deck — Annette & Anthony with us in the top photo. Jim and Joey on “My Pleasure”, and Laurie and Artie on “My Leap of Faith” in the bottom photo.

Gene and Kimberly are great dockhands. Ready, willing and very able.

Gene and Kimberly are great dockhands. Ready, willing and very able.

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.

The S.S. Sophie arrives at Osprey Marina

The S.S. Sophie arrives at Osprey Marina

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????

Sophie and KS

Kindred Spirit in her slip with bow pointing at the port side of Sophie at the fuel dock.

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.

I managed to take couple pictures before Annette and I ran over to the other dock to catch the lines when they arrived.

I managed to take couple pictures before Annette and I ran over to the other dock to catch the lines when they arrived.

Kindred Spirit ready to parallel park at the long dock. I did not notice the homeport on this catamaran until I was looking at the photos just now. That homeport is Schwenksville, PA where I lived from the ages of 5 years to 11 years. Not a common homeport!

Kindred Spirit is ready to park at the long dock. I did not notice the homeport on that catamaran until I was looking at the photos just now. That homeport is Schwenksville, PA where I lived from the ages of 5 years to 11 years. Not a common homeport!

 

We will be moving on again in the morning to make our way from South Carolina to North Carolina.

2 thoughts on “South Carolina’s Low Country

  1. What wonderful couple of days and we truly appreciate you giving up a couple travel days and share them instead with us. We look forward to catching up on the Long Island Sound!!! Be safe A2

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