July 2nd, 2018
We left Beaufort for the trip to Charleston, SC. Rather than go all the way to the Charleston Maritime Marina, Amy and I decided to stay about 10 miles short of Charleston. We understand that tides and late afternoon winds can create havoc so we found St. John’s Marina and decided to stay there.
Of course, I would break tradition by not sending the sunrise photo just as we were pulling out of Beaufort, SC. Such a beautiful southern town and a charm all its own.
The marshland in this area seems to go forever and we can sometimes go 2 hours without seeing another boat or any signs of civilization. It is so peaceful and serene.
We are having a minor issue with the boat… The entire day we were plagued with an intermittent forward bilge light. It seemed to happen at higher RPM’s. I handed the controls over to Amy while I went down to tear into the boat to see if we have water. I have an issue with water coming in the boat from unknown places. This could be as simple as a stuck float valve so I am going to keep an eye on it. If it becomes more frequent or, if the other bilges decide to join in the fun, I have a bigger problem and we will have a pro take a look.
Once at St. John’s, Amy and I grabbed the loaner car and headed to the grocery store. Marina courtesy cars are so funny that we have started taking pictures of them. This is actually one of the nicer loaner cars we have driven so far. It even had AC!
July 3rd, 2018
We left St. John’s Marina and continued north through a series of sharp turns then coming to a very narrow cut. I had to double check the charts to make sure it was still the ICW. I guess a wayward sailor didn’t realize it either since he anchored in the middle of the channel. We were likely the first boat through that particular morning and he looked a bit surprised as we passed.
In no time we saw the immense waterfront that is Charleston, SC. While Charleston may be a relatively small town it is big when it comes to boating. After days of marshland, we are now competing with container ships and LARGE vessels. We crossed the two channels to get to the Maritime Museum and Marina. We radioed that we were in range and requested a dock assignment. It was fun to see the other boats Sea Fox, Blue Sky, Spirit and Leap of Faith already berthed and folks coming over to help us tend the lines. This is an expansive “working” marina with water taxi’s, charter tour boats and fishing charters all transiting in and out. What we didn’t realize was that there was a strong easterly wind that turned this marina into what felt like the middle of the ocean. For two days we contended with the winds and it was very difficult to maneuver around the boat without being thrown from one side to the other. Everyone made the best of it by touring downtown Charleston and finding any reason at all to stay on land. We had “docktails” the first night and were very happy that Kim Russo, President of the American Great Loop Cruisers Association joined us along with Mike Martin from Curtis Stokes.
Kim shared the fact that more people climb Mount Everest every year than complete America’s Great Loop. On average, only about a hundred boats will cross their wake and complete the journey. Five times that amount will start the loop or do some portion, many only completing the InterCoastal Waterway.
The marina was so rough that Amy and I decided to grab a hotel room for the two nights that we were here. We might have caught a bit of gruff from the others but we really didn’t care. I slept like a baby and we both emerged so well rested after the first night we walked over 6 miles to see the sights in Charleston not related to the waterfront and then enjoyed a fabulous fireworks display over Patriots Point.
July 5, 2018
The easterly winds were still howling when we left this morning. Crossing two large shipping channels, we (along with Blue Sky) reentered the ICW and were transformed back into the calm waters we had taken for granted. After the 36NM trek, we landed at Leland Oil in McClellanville, SC. It was like night and day and we all appreciated how quiet everything seemed. Leland is more of a fuel dock for the shrimp boats that call this area home port. They could not have been more welcoming and we felt as if we stepped back in time.
We decided to ride our bikes into the small town and see the 100 year old tree. I don’t think this town has changed much since the 1950’s and I hope it doesn’t anytime soon.
We don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn tomorrow since we are only going a short 27NM to HarborWalk Marina in Georgetown, SC.
We have been on this adventure for 3 weeks as of today and traveled 759 nautical miles using 642 gallons of fuel. We have travelled all but 3 days and… yes, stayed in one hotel!
I have plotted the next several days knowing that we will stay extra nights in Southport, NC and Beaufort, NC (pronounced Bo-Fert) keeping a clear delineation from its neighboring city to the south. Below is the map outlining our planned stops.