Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Progress... it's not all pretty, but it is progress!

Inch by inch we're making our way. Tuesday we had some notable advances...we passed the 200 mile marker (200 miles from Norfolk), we entered North Carolina, we traveled up the Cape Fear River (slowly, as the flow was slow and the ebb was persistent), and we anchored at Wrightsville Beach (a favorite spot) where we stayed an extra night, walked the couple miles to Harris Teeter for a few grocery items, walked down to the beach to see the ocean, since we can't seem to get the boat out there, ate pizza (yet again) and ice cream and just enjoyed stretching our legs.

Let's see, when we chatted last, we were on our way to Charleston...killer day! It was a long tense day with so many shallow challenges, all recommending waiting until half tide on a rising tide to tackle. In case you are not familiar with tides, can't be done and make any headway. So, we hedged our bets and ran most of them at low or near low and saved our rising tide for the big ugly, the Dawho River! We arrived near there just about at the peak of low tide. So, after contacting our ever faithful friends at TowBoatUS for local knowledge, we found a little spot off to the side and anchored for a couple of hours to get a few more feet of water under us before Dawho. TowBoat did tell us they had someone near the entrance to the river just in case that didn't work out for us. By the time we cleared that, both of us were wound pretty tight...Tom's shoulder was cramping up and we were exhausted. Ready to ease on into the Stono River just south of Charleston and set the hook.

But what to our wondering eyes should appear...not a jolly old elf and 8 tiny reindeer, but dozens upon dozens of Saturday river revelers all in one place on the Stono River between us and our anchorage! There were people swimming, standing in the water, zipping up and down and around in small boats of every shape and color...the beer was flowing freely, lots of hooting and giggling, and very little watching out for anyone else. All of this fun was happening next to a bridge we were heading under when (as if someone blew the whistle for "everyone out of the pool!") scores of boats swarmed for the ramp on the other side of the bridge. Only 3 boats can go out at a time, so the rest of them just meandered slowly (or totally stopped) in the channel in front of us or zipped around throwing fair sized wakes in all directions. Well, that frayed Barb's last nerve...just sure someone was going to get pulverized at any moment! Thankfully it was a good anchorage and a good night.

One small corner that was under the net - Tom
smashed a handful before we puled it off
Whew, out of Charleston, and another day of skinny water. It was another tense day, but we made it through and anchored in a favorite spot...only 1 other boat around the bend. Beautiful and peaceful evening until the point when the most mosquitoes we've ever seen in one place descended on us. We had the bug net over the cockpit, but they were vicious. So many got inside we are still killing them 3 days later. Hundreds were trapped in the net when we took it off the next morning.

Our hope from there was to do an overnight offshore, and everything looked good the night before. But the next morning, winds and waves were predicted to increase and it was a new passage for us, so we made the decision to continue inside on the waterway.

Elephant out for a stroll by the boat ramp.

Had a beautiful easy day after the mosquito attack, through a lovely part of the ICW. For some reason, the current was with us all day, and the only thing that slowed us down was an elephant! Seriously, how cool is that! We didn't really mind slowing down for a good look and even radioed the boat behind us to make sure they didn't miss it.

Scratching an itch!
Golf and an amusement ride!

If golf is your thing, you may like the course that's split by the ICW. You have to ride across the ditch in a gondola...we caught this one going by with the bags hanging off the side.

Cozy duckling

Stayed overnight in a marina for the first time this trip...more fuel, more water, boat hosed down, pizza delivery and fireworks to top it off. All in all a good day! And, a warm fuzzy moment...a baby duck in an exhaust pipe. Mom was nearby, but distracted with the crackers folks were throwing her way.

We called this goat island

Tuesday was not a bad day, but another long one. It is a veritable zoo along the ditch. This time it was goats! No alligators this trip, but wild horses in GA, an elephant in SC, and goats in NC...what awaits us in VA?

I promised a couple of pics from our good offshore day...the only one that came out was the shrimp boat. Makes me think of the Flying Nun! These guys travel in packs of about a dozen, and at night they're kinda' freaky looking! This was a beautiful day in the ocean...almost looks like a lake!

Graceful from a distance, gangly up close!
Tomorrow...what will that bring? Maybe an offshore day (think we've decided to continue inside), an ICW day with all good things (would be nice), or another skinny water tense day (hope not). In any case, we appreciate your hanging in there with us!

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