Tuesday, October 29, 2013

G Town

Georgetown is a nice little city between Myrtle Beach and Charleston. We were saddened to see the devastation a fire wrought on the “downtown's waterfront. We had heard about it from Michelle, an enthusiastic waitress back ion Myrtle beach but actually being there made your heart go out to the people of this historic place.

We walked around town and found a haunting Jewish Cemetery. The trees just made the grounds surreal. Historically South Carolina actually has a significant jewish legacy. One of the biggest jewish communities and apparently the birthplace of Reform Judaism. Deep south, who would have guessed! We're looking forward to learning and experiencing more on this when we get to Charleston in a couple of days.

Hopping in the dinghy we went over to Independent Seafood, where you can buy directly from the fishermen. Fresh & tasty!

Unload the car...


Even the dock pilings are charred!

Next stop Rice Museum


Come on Ard! Not getting my vote.

This little guy appeared on the boat.

But she already has her prince

Not a fan

Monday, October 28, 2013

Kitsch Beach

For lack of viable anchorage options on this stretch of the Intra-Coastal Waterway (ICW) we opted to stay at a marina for a night in North Myrtle Beach. Having been to Myrtle Beach once before as a teenager it was obvious nothing had changed. Must be the tackiest place in America. The amount of cheap plastic souvenirs on offer is astounding.

The marina was part of a larger resort complex and was quite swanky including a hot tub jacuzzi and huge pool. We definitely took advantage of the facilities to soak our sore muscles & bones.

Casino boats go out into international waters

Didn't see a soul in the pool the whole time.


This was actually the famous House of Blues. We so wanted to go to the Sunday Gospel Brunch but it was quite pricey.

I love all this spanish moss on trees.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Knee Deep

We ran aground in about three feet of water on shoaling right in the middle of the channel, literally between the two channel markers! This happened just as we were passing Lockwood's Folly inlet. This inlet is notorious in the guidebooks for bad shoaling caused by the strong tidal currents in & out of the inlet. Indeed that was Lockwood's folly, when in the 1800's he built a boat that was too deep to exit the inlet. Just next to us was nine feet of water. It was a soft sandy bottom but we were stuck but good! (my newest american saying). And on a dropping tide, so every moment that passed we were in less & less water. We tried the motor. Reverse. Forward. We tried getting the boom all over to one side to tilt the boat. We deployed the entire genoa to use the wind to shake us off. We were stuck but real good. We were about to call Tow Boat US when a good samaritan alone in a motorized fishing boat offered to help tow us off. We threw him a line (it's important to throw your line because in maritime law if he throws us his line he owns our boat) and after a few tries we finally got off.

That evening out of necessity from lack of options we anchored in another very shallow spot, also infamous in the guidebooks for its lack of depth. We anchored just before low tide. About 20 minutes after we anchored a sandbar appeared out of the water only 60ft away from us. We knew it was there from the guidebooks but it's still disconcerting to see it so close.

You can kind of see the propeller kicking up sand

Good samaritan


Forgot to turn off the bath

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Wright is Right

Only planned on staying a night. Ended up staying three. College beach town. Packed anchorage. Scanning the other boats with our binoculars upon arrival (not voyeurism, a good practice to see if you know anyone or know boat names if you have to hail someone on the radio in the middle of the night) we saw a Fleur de Lys flag on a boat from Montreal. Three guys pilled into a dinghy and we waved them over as they we're going by. Young guys, 21 years old, headed down to Virgin Islands! Why did I wait until my thirties! We arranged to have drinks the next evening.

The next morning we launched the dinghy and zipped over to the town dinghy dock. There we walked thirty minutes to West Marine to get some more equipment. Among other things a second handheld VHF Radio. Initially I had wanted to get a second identical to the one we already have so we could re-use the same charger (we have such a variety of charging things already). This is also one of the cheapest radios (yay). We reconsidered however and actually ended up with the most expensive model. Based on the recommendation of Robert from the Basta rescue we got a handheld that has GPS integrated and can send an automatic distress signal with your identity and location coordinates. He used his in the crisis and swore by it which we took as being good authority. So now we have a new charger thingy.

Coming out of the West Marine a young couple approached us and asked if we were staying in the anchorage and offered us a lift in their rented car. We gratefully accepted, got to talking and made some great friends! They had stayed in the anchorage the night before but were now in a marina waiting to be hauled out for some bottom work. They recognized Topanga from 79th street boat basin in NYC. Caroline & Logan are also headed down to the Caribbean but it's not their first time. Even though they are younger than us they have much more experience sailing and in the Caribbean! They captained a 60ft sail yacht for some wealthy owner, delivering it to where ever he wanted it whenever he wanted it. Now they have their own 43ft Beneteau. They're leaving Wrightsville in about a month but are going directly to the Bahamas, i.e. 72 hours straight in open ocean. Pretty amazing. Most of the cruisers we have met thus far have been much older than us so it was really nice to meet younger ones. Such a nice couple.
We invited them over for drinks on board and picked them up in the dinghy later that evening. We shared many stories and got some great advice. Soon the three guys from Montreal showed up in their dinghy with a case of beer and we had a little impromptu party going on Topanga. After, we all pilled into the dinghies and went ashore to some of the local bars. The first few we couldn't get into because Cassandra's university ID was not accepted, but finally we found on that did and had a great time.
The night finished quite late and we delayed our departure another day.

When we finally did leave the next morning there there were many swimmers in the water training for a triathlon being held the following day. It was freezing! I don't know how they were doing that! WE had to be extra careful leaving the anchorage.

Crowded anchorage
Such a strange little catamaran we anchored very close to

First introduction to the beach

Plus pretty girl behind the camera
Strict dress code!

Wruff night!

Fitness first
Chili time

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What's the Frequency Kenneth?

Beaufort to Wrightsville is one of the few opportunities to leave the Intra-Coastal Waterway (ICW) and sail along the coast. Not only does this save time (a full day) and fuel but it is also the more enjoyable option because of the sailing vs. boring (but easy) canal motoring. Our passage planning was all set, our route plotted, it's a long trip so we'd have to get moving before sunrise. The only issue was the marine weather forecast:
Wind: North 10-15kts – Gusts 20kts
Waves: Height 2-4 ft + Period 5 secs

Oh how we wavered. Debated. Researched. Waited for an updated forecast. Mulled further. The one thing for sure was that we wanted to leave, keep moving. Before going to bed we decided, to our dismay, to take the ICW instead of the ocean route. The variable of contention was the wave period. This lesser known wave characteristic is very important; wave frequency, i.e. how often are we rocked & rolled. Combined with the wave height this can make a huge difference between a good day and awful day. We'd done 2-4ft waves before, but with a period period of 8 seconds, relatively comfortable. This forecast was for 5 seconds, almost twice as frequent. The rule of thumb is that if the wave period(secs) is close to the wave height(ft) it will be pretty rough and choppy. 4ft waves every 8 secs OK, but 4ft waves every 5 seconds, sounds like a washing machine.

We were very disappointed to see, too late, that the early morning forecast had changed to a wave period of only 9 secs! Totally doable. So today's lesson learned is: if the forecast is obviously really bad, don't go, but if it's borderline,...wait... prepare as if you were going... then call it off at the last minute. If we had woken up 5:00 we would have seen the updated 4:54 forecast and taken the opportunity. Instead we resigned ourselves to the ICW before bed and by the time we saw the latest forecast we missed the window of opportunity. Lazy, we were lazy. Not our proudest moment.

Anyway we're in Wrightsville now safe & sound. We hear good things. We'll see in the light of day.

Through Marine's Camp Lejeune

1000 nautical miles under our keel!
Anchorage in Beaufort NC
Wild horses were our neighbors... I couldn't stop singing U2
A wedding at the marina. I did not want to mess up this docking!
No help
Power Up
Yummy apple crisp smelled sooo good
Rough dinghy! I love the empty 40oz. bottles of malt liquor !
Oyster shells are land scapping option
See the effects of salt water? This bike was left here this morning.