"Egret" N4674 - Scott and Mary Flanders
Ed. note: On February 10, 2011, Scott and Mary Flanders, on board their Nordhavn 46, Egret, arrived in the Canary Islands. In doing so, Egret became the eighth Nordhavn to circumnavigate the globe. It had been four years, five months since the couple departed Gran Canaria, intent on seeing as much of the earth as possible, although not necessarily with an end goal to circle the globe. Voyage of Egret documents the Flanders’ entire trip, an endless adventure that has put them in touch with the most fabulous places and interesting people. Much route planning and forecasting was required in order to get to some of their ports of call. But the days of detailed planning are over…for now. “Egret” is now back in Fort Lauderdale, the place the couple called home for so many years, and, ironically, the starting point of their world wide cruising escapade that began with the Nordhavn Atlantic Rally in 2004. They currently travel hither and yon, sometimes by boat, sometimes not. Here, the latest update from the Flanders as they keep us continually apprised.
Whoops we skipped on. See the October 17 captain's log below
October 22, 2012
Position: Ft Lauderdale, Florida, currently a Marina Queen.
We left you last VofE approaching Beaufort, South Carolina. Rounding the corner to Beaufort and negotiating (literally) the Ladys Island Bridge guarded by a Nazi Commie Taliban Al Queida antennas up or down Idiottender, TK splashed down in 22’ and out went 125’ of chain east of the marina just off the main festival area. Holding was excellent.
The Beaufort Shrimp Festival was the usual small town deal with plenty of vendors selling everything from imported shiny baubles to locally made sweet grass baskets* to food vendors selling everything from Thai food to fried shrimp. Locals were starving and lined up in the chow line. It was a great day for the kids playing in Beaufort’s completely renovated waterfront district like this group of little banditos attacking dad. There were different local rock bands each hour that varied from painful to really great. The last band was a local geriatric group that really rocked. The drummer was a white haired dude with a pigtail who did a solo at the end of a Stones song during the finale and received a standing ovation. We had a great time. This photo taken at the Shrimp Festival typifies coastal South Carolina……..shrimp boats, oaks and palmetto palms – the state tree on the SC state flag.
*During the middle 70’s I was a Very Young man traveling the coastal Carolinas and Georgia a few times a year on business. North of Charleston on Highway 17 is the (was the) sleepy little boatingtown of Mount Pleasant. Along the highway were stalls of local ladies making sweet grass baskets from palmetto fronds, swamp grass and pine needles. Each had their own designs and displayed them on racks. For a few years I stopped and bought a basket from one lady or another and gave them to MS. We had the baskets displayed on a wall in the family home’s breakfast room. When we sold the house Mary gave the baskets away and saved only one which we have aboard and use as a bread basket. Mary had it repaired in Charleston overnight by a lady who started years ago along Highway 17. It cost $65 USP to have it repaired. Gasp!! The lady said it is worth $350 today even though it cost around $20 in its day. We gave away around 18. Oh my.
The final festival event was a shrimp boat leaving the dock with a net full of numbered little red rubber ducks. The idea was to move the shrimp boat into the current, dump the ducks into the water at the same time and see which ones got to the finish line first. The ducks were part of a charity raffle for prizes. So the seawall was lined with folks cheering for Their Duck. This photo shows the last of three groups of ducks making their way toward the finish line riding the tide.
So let’s think about this for a minute. Are people metaphorically similar to little red rubber ducks? There were 3 groups of duckies all herding close together all compfy wumpfy, none daring to be different. However, there were a few scattered adventurous ducks well in the lead and of that group came the Winners. Of course you know the adventurous ducks represent long distance cruisers and the balance are Dirt Dwellers who just can’t leave their comfort zone. Which is OK because if everyone bought a long distance capable boat, either power or sail, did their baby steps and headed Out, the anchorages of the world would be full. Who wants that?
Speaking of shrimpers, we met this shrimper and entourage the next day running up the waterway on its way home. We could see the shrimper’s rigging showing above the low country grass flats as it twisted its way around the winding channel until it showed and eventually passed the little white fiberglass lady. The birds were catching a ride in the rigging until they started culling the catch then they went Wild as they were just starting in this photo.
Chugging south past the Savannah area we met a couple who pulled along side in an inflatable and said they follow Egret thru VofE. They have taken Egret’s philosophy to heart and have taken the first step in The Life by buying a modest early trawler. The conversation continued later by VHF and he told us of their plans to head north next year in their trawler to a working assignment. Sounds good to me and you never know in a few years where these folks will be, particularly if they buy a N46 he asked about.
So now we’re caught up with this drivel and are working our way south toward Cumberland Island as Egret’s next couple day stop. More to follow.
The trip south winding our way thru Carolina and Georgia low country was a shallow water affair but except for a couple hard mud bump and thumps polishing the keel bottom paint there was no drama. In a couple softer places the bottom machine was reading 4.2 feet, not the 5.8 feet she needs. So this means she was farming the bottom and steering was a bit straight no matter where the rudder was turned unless you gave it a big shot of throttle. Of course if Egret were an ordinary twin engine boat with exposed wheels and old fashion sea water intakes* for the mains, the result would have made local boatyards weep with joy. *Instead of keel cooling.
So why would the yards weep with joy? Well, let’s see. First the wheels would get nice and square instead of their usual round. Probably not down to the hub because the bottom was soft, just the tips of the blades. Next the main engine giant raw water intake pumps would suck large amounts of soft mud thru the sea strainer distributing it nicely thru the engine. When soft mud hits the hot walls of the cooling passages the mud would immediately harden as if fired in a kiln and become kryptonite. Normal flushing wouldn’t do anything but overheat the engine because of the kryptonite mud insulating the castings from the cooling seawater. So now it’s a big problem but nothing some well spread BU’s (boat units) won’t cure and of course a loss of time while the entire mess is put back tickityboo.
Gee, that was fun but of course I hypothesized the part about the kryptonite mud. However, it makes sense with all that mud, broken shell and bits of decayed trees swirling thru your precious……..doesn’t it? Don’t worry; it probably won’t happen to you.
The southern part of Cumberland Island (Georgia) is a National Park. Typical of South Carolina and Georgia north/south coastal barrier islands the island is full of original growth oak trees on the higher ground as well as a few pine trees. The western lee side of the island is a tidal area with a fairly deep channel running close to the beach most of the way north. Egret anchored off the second big dock in 22’ and fired out 125’ of chain. There is a fair amount of tide, over 6’, so you need to be careful anchoring. The channel is in the lee of the usual sea breeze so the tide is what determines the direction of swing.
There are trails throughout the southern part of the island so we crossed the island to the beach on the east side first thing. The water off the beach is shallow for miles out so there is a constant low surf rolling in. We walked for a few miles north to see what the tide brought in (it was low tide). There wasn’t much of interest but a number of large prehistoric horseshoe crabs deposited here and there by the waves. Behind the beach are a couple hundred feet of sand dunes covered in sea oats and beyond that are stunted oak trees whose tops have grown together in a dense mass creating a wind barrier. The oaks reminded us of tough menuca trees in New Zealand with the same protective canopy. In New Zealand the wind could be whipping and under the menuca canopy there was little or no wind. The dunes protect the trunks of the oak trees and lift the wind to the tops of the trees. If there were no dunes it would be a different story.
One big attraction of Cumberland Island is the wild horses left years ago by who I don’t know. These days the horses aren’t quite so wild and used to people so we were able to get close for pictures. Most of the horses appeared to be in relatively good shape but a few were quite thin. One thing that was interesting was to see horses eating sharp sea oats blades. I wouldn’t think there would be much nutrition in something that survives in a salt environment but with no inland grasses under the oak canopy I suppose they eat what they can.
Egret spent two days in Cumberland hiking and putzing. This single palmetto palm was on a trail to an old ice house which has been turned into a Cumberland Island museum. The palm looks like an upside down tree and the colors of the soft near dark light set it off. We were hoping to catch up with Brits aboard s/v 5 Flip Flops who were to leave Beaufort riding a forecast northerly south but the wind didn’t develop and with 5FF’s draft they had to wait for an offshore wind instead of The Ditch. So we missed them.
Cumberland Island is just north of the St Mary’s Inlet to the ocean at the Georgia/Florida border. We were hoping to run offshore for the two day trip south to Ft Lauderdale so we gave it a go. Late in the afternoon of the first day offshore we called a buddy back in FLL to have him look at internet weather. (We haven’t had internet since Beaufort) He said it was blowing 25 knots from the NE in FLL at the time but he looked up the weather and called back with grim news. So Egret turned right into St Augustine Inlet (Florida). What a mess that was!! C Map charting shows a head pin then two leading marks into the inlet. The entire inlet is charted white with no definition because it is a tidal inlet and it is constantly changing. We went with the two leading marks then looked for the next set. They were waaaaaay to the north, open on a N/S opening, not the E/W we expected. Of course there was a bar with heavy breaking waves between Egret and the new marks. So we wandered here and there glued to the depth finder in water as shallow as 7’. Of course it was rough making it interesting. Once thru the offshore marks the balance was no biggie with plenty of water. Making the St Augustine entry at night would be a disaster and it is why we very rarely make Any entry from offshore thru an inlet at night unless it is a commercial harbor and we know the charting is accurate. Inlets like St Augustine make a good case for Active Captain.com.
So Egret has been ditch crawling since and anchoring at night. I hope to get offshore at Ft Pierce Inlet. In fact, if it is less than 30 knots we will instead of opening 40 thousand ^!#^*@*+ bridges. More to follow.
Ok, so Egret headed offshore thru the Ft Pierce inlet like we said. The weather is mild with 10-15knots out of the NE. However, it was a super falling tide ripping thru the inlet with heavy breaking waves. Mary ran around closing the doors and the two forward hatches over the guest head as we approached. I have fished the inlet before and knew around 100’ north of the north jetty there would be enough water for Egret so we could get out of the current and waves. That was the good news. The not so good news was a 35’ish sailboat with a death wish was trying to motor sail by staying out of the current (in Our Spot) then hit the current and waves as fast as its wee engine would go. So we stayed in the waves standing on the nose then transom with the Happy Little Lugger spinning 1900rpm. Water went everywhere while she was shaking serious salt! It was wild! In the meantime, the sailboat surfed down the waves and luckily didn’t broach. We passed fairly close and neither waved like usual. Dim bulb surfer boy had Big Eyes and White Knuckles. So then we got out of the channel and the worst and a mile or so offshore crossed the channel and headed south.
Currently Egret is offshore exactly two miles off the beach making 7.4 knots at 1500rpm. Her average speed since leaving the inlet is 6.8 knots. The wind is around 15knots from the NE, the Naiad’s are doing their deal, the sun is getting ready to set and MS is fixing a spaghetti dinner. So life is good. More to follow.
On a personal note, Mary and I are now members of Ocean Cruising Club based in the U.K. We were sponsored this summer by a fellow circumnavigator and long term OCC member. OCC is a multi national group of cruisers whose single qualification to join is to make an ocean passage of 1000nm or more aboard a 70’ or smaller vessel. Reading the member list is like looking at the who’s who of world cruising. There are bulletins and a twice yearly booklet with cruising tales from members. This is a very worthwhile group to join if you qualify. www.oceancruisingclub.org The OCC has Port Captains all over the world who help fellow members as well as organized gatherings here and there and the usual spontaneous get together when you see an OCC burgee flying in an anchorage. We are proudly flying the OCC Flying Fish burgee below the American flag and above the Seven Seas Cruising Organization (SSCA) Commodores burgee.
The latest to qualify to join OCC we know personally would be Mark and Jennifer aboard N46 Starlet whose 2012 crossing of the Atlantic would qualify them in spades. It is roughly 1800nm from Bermuda to the Azores.
Of course the NAR participants (Nordhavn Atlantic Rally) would qualify with the same mileage except the largest boat in the fleet that exceeded the 70’ maximum. Its hard to believe that year after next will be the TENTH (10th) anniversary of the NAR. What an event that was and a life changer for many. In fact a few NAR alumni are getting together at the Nordhavn owners dock party at the FLL boat show in just a few days.
Every year about FLL boat show time I climb up on The Box (soapbox) and start ragging about the virtues of cruising with a tilt toward world cruising. So this year I’ll be gentle and tell you a little story about a great guy who has been with Mary and I all summer. This year was a partial repeat of the first trip he took with us in 2002 and the balance was new. We three will arrive in Ft Lauderdale tomorrow and shortly after he will buried with my mother. He had a good life of 91 years and I hope he lived whatever dreams he may have had. So we hope whatever dreams you may have will happen before your world is reduced to a 6” x 6” metal canister*.
*This is not meant to be a heavy message but a lighthearted look at taking my father for a 5000nm cruise for his last round up. Its time if you can.
The offshore passage to FLL started off with a high average speed but approaching West Palm Beach where the Gulf Stream nears the coast she was down to 3.2 knots then worked her way back up to 6.1 knots on the approach to FLL. The trip was relatively calm with no recreational or commercial boats to worry about. The AIS kept going off from boats at the dock with a speed of 0.0 knots so we turned it off. Egret arrived at FLL in the dark but we have been thru the inlet a zillion times over the years so it was no biggie. The sun didn’t start lightning the sky until the dock lines were secure. So the little lady will be a Marina Queen for a while.
This summer’s jaunt north took the little lady 5009nm at an average speed of 6.5 knots. The speed may or not be 6.5 knots because this includes waiting for bridges, anchoring, forgetting to turn off the GPS for a couple hours and so on. I believe her nm/gallon was well over 3 but if it were exactly 3nm/U.S.Gallon she burned 1670 gallons plus generator burn. We saw a lot plus some exciting new stuff and met a number of new folks as well as a handfull long term cruiser friends. There were a number of highlights but we’ll keep those to ourselves. You will have to find out what is best when it is Your Turn.
One last item. Mary and I have been invited by Passagemaker Magazine to give two presentations at Trawler Port during the FLL boat show. The first subject is an intro to bluewater cruising and the second is a more advanced look at bluewater cruising. The hours are Friday, Oct 27th at 11:00 and at 2:00 in the Trawler Port area at the south end of B Dock (the trawler dock). The presentations will have a short introduction followed by a question and answer session. You are welcome to join either or both. There is no charge. You may check it out on the www.passagemaker.com website.
Happy Halloween and a Happier Ft Lauderdale International Boat Show.
October 22, 2012
Position: 32 25.75N 80 40.30W On anchor, Beaufort , South Carolina
Egret hit another milestone today. The Happy Little Lugger hit 12,000 hours. So I suppose he is finally broken in. The HLL has NEVER missed a beat. All he has ever been fed is clean fuel and clean air, had his oil changed before or at 200 hours except the occasions when he was at sea and then the voyage was begun on fresh oil and changed on arrival. I will say, we NEV ER shut down at sea to change oil even though he is passing the 200 hour mark. Why take the risk? I feel if the engine is run from startup to shutdown at a relatively light load at constant rpm and temperature there is little risk of damage from degraded oil. On several occasions I asked lighthouse keepers at what intervals do they change their generator’s oil? Without exception they all said 1 month before they switch generators. One 30 day month is 720 hours. These generators run for a bazillion hours at this rate. So I’m not suggesting stretching oil changes because we don’t except for the relatively few occasions at sea for more than 200 hours.
Other than oil, oil filters, secondary fuel filters, air cleaners, serpentine belts and injectors, the HLL has required ZERO additional parts and as a secondary maintenance issue we adjust the valves from time to time (usually once a year). As part of Egret’s thorough going thru before next year, I sent an e-mail to Lugger Bob (Bob Senter) of Northern Lights/Lugger telling him the HLL’s history and did he suggest anything above and beyond the usual. Bob said to be sure and have a starter solenoid, and spare circulation pump. (We do.) He also said to change the serpentine belt idler pulley and the engine mounts. I would have never thought of those but we will. Bob is active on the Nordhavn Owners site (Bob does not own a Nordhavn but he is invited to participate.) as well as the Yahoo Groups, Nordhavn Dreamers site helping folks.
So how valuable it is to have a Lugger Bob on your side? Friends who used to own a twin Lugger, single Northern Lights generator boat said if they ever do another new build it will have Lugger main or mains as well as N/L generator/s. When this buddy had a problem at sea (middle of the Pacific) with a Lugger electronic control issue, Bob stuck with him day and night thru many time zones until the problem was solved. Is that great service or what?
Solomon’s ( Maryland ) was a social whirl. In addition to N64 Ocean Pearl we met cruisers on sailing cat Route 66 who are many year live aboards (we met 66 farther north and have bounced into them along the way south) and circumnavigators on s/v Cinnabar, a Valiant 40 we wintered with in Barcelona and re-met again last year in Newport. We got an e-mail from N50 Liberty Call who was also in Solomons but we missed by a day. Of course it was the people who made the stop.
Solomons is another yachtie friendly place with TONS of marina space and boat yards as well as a public dock with a self serve pump out and water. This is Egret’s anchorage in Solomons. INSERT PHOTO 0222 HERE. At the bottom left of the chart you see a narrow dead end bay. About 2/3’s of the way up the bay on the port side is the pump out station.
Egret departed Solomons mid day to make as much mileage as possible before dark to insure an easy day run into the Hospital Point anchorage in Norfolk . Hospital Point is the staging anchorage to enter The Ditch ( Intracoastal Waterway ). There is a bridge a few miles down river that closes from 0630 until 0930 for rush hour traffic so unless you want to run down river in the dark the southbound yachties all wait for the 0930 opening.
So Egret ran all day to very close to dark before anchoring. The wind picked up in the afternoon and there were head seas in a wind against tide deal but it wasn’t bad even though Mary’s stainless got covered in salt. Looking at the chart we found a small peninsula sticking out that would give a bit of protection from the wind so we left the original course and aimed for the inside of the peninsula. Of course there were tons of fish pens with looong rows of stakes supporting nets to lead fish into a series of switchbacks trapping them for the fishermen to pick up in the morning. The only good thing was the fish pens show up well on radar and because we are on a moon we could pick up the sticks with binoculars. Yes, it was near dark as you can see from the photograph. INSERT PHOTO 2326 HERE. Down went TK and out came the rhum n’ coke.
The wind backed the next day so Egret enjoyed a fast downhill run into Norfolk , past all the Navy ships and to the Hospital Point anchorage. She arrived mid afternoon, TK splashed down in 18’ and 125’ of chain went out. There was a strong wifi signal so we got internet and began checking fuel prices* and calling for confirmation.
* We’ll give you a heads up to two excellent Intracoastal resources for normal folks who enjoy 24 hour internet access. Of course these sites are for Intracoastal Weenies who want to know restaurant choices and other Important Things along every nm of the waterway leaving Nothing Unknown. But anyway we’re all different and we use the sites for one thing and that is fuel prices and on one site we printed the bridge openings and bridge heights for the entire Intracoastal. The two sites (both are free) are activecaptain.com and the latest we heard about is cruisersnet.net. Check them out and see what you think.
Of course the last little rant wasn’t for you because the sites Are excellent but to give cruising buddies a wee shot who raved about the cruisersnet.net site.
The bridges heading south are timed If you maintain 6 knots. There will still be some waiting but nevertheless it won’t be for long. At the 11.5 mile marker* is the Great Bridge Lock. Depending on the time of year the lock can be empty or relatively full heading south, particularly after the first bridge opening in the morning. This time there were just a few boats in the lock. The lock has rubber bumpers on the stbd side heading south that don’t require fenders and the port side is rough concrete. Lock attendants will take your lines on either side. Mary used long lines that doubled back so we could cast off ourselves without going ashore or having their help. The lock water drop is only one foot so it is no biggie and within a few minutes of entering you are on your way.
*The Intracoastal Waterway 00 mile marker is in Norfolk , Virginia and ends at the 1156 mile marker at Snake Creek in the Florida Keys . For all practical purposes the Intracoastal Waterway ends in Miami , Florida at the 1089.4 mile marker. Only a masochist would travel the Intracoastal south of West Palm Beach , Florida . There are 31 bridges to open between WPB and Miami . I would almost rather watch the 6:00 news than open 31 ^%##* bridges.
North of the lock on the stbd side is a free courtesy dock with no power or water. From the dock it a short walk for boaters to shop at the nearby mall. Overnighting is fun meeting fellow south bounders and a waterway full of friendly Canadian geese travelers in the fall. Egret spent the night last year with 7-8 other boats. This year we went thru and stopped at Atlantic Yacht Basin (about 1/2nm) for fuel and water. Fuel was $4.76 USP/gallon. Egret took 300 gallons, enough to make it to FLL with existing fuel at a reasonable reserve. We want the tanks fairly empty on arrival so we may clean them during the winter before heading to the Bahamas in the spring.
Speaking of the Bahamas , yesterday while transiting the North Carolina Alligator/Pungo Canal we passed N47 Let’s Dance heading north to the Chesapeake for a fall cruise. We chatted on the VHF and Dance said they will head to the Bahamas in the spring and explore some more remote areas they hadn’t been before. One place we mentioned Dance was interested in because they are fishermen is Hogsty Reef. Hogsty is well south in the Bahamian chain of islands and it is very rarely visited. Hogsty is one of three atolls in the Atlantic and it is similar to a typical South Pacific atoll with a fringe reef for about 270 degrees of the circle. The reef opening faces west with a small sand island on the NW corner. Typical of atolls in the trade winds, the SE trades send waves over the fringe reef’s windward side and flows out the opening creating its own tidal flow. The drop off beyond the opening is fish city if you troll back and forth in the early morning or late evening. Of course if you are fishermen or divers there are lotsa fish and lobster to be had inside the reef as well. Dance said they follow VofE so this paragraph is for them (I couldn’t remember the name of Hogsty Reef yesterday….you know how that goes). The waypoint to the reef opening before the small island is 21 47.08N 73 51.00W. The anchorage is tucked behind the island with good holding in white sand.
The northern part of the Intracoastal is fresh water stained tea colored by heavy tannin. Here turtles sun themselves on logs, the oak trees overhang the waterway and it is super pretty, particularly near the Bucksport, N.C. area. The area for miles is a wildlife refuge. This photograph is representative of much of the scenery for miles. INSERT PHOTO 2536 HERE. Other parts are……..well, quite honestly boring but those pass as everything then you are back into the trees and nature. As you move south the water varies from fresh like the northern part to brackish to salt and back up toward the fresh end in places. This does wonders for any saltwater evil critters trying to grow on the bottom but in turn the gelcoat takes on a nasty rust stain from the tannin.
Our simple trick to clean the tannin stain with household products is by using Sno Bol toilet bowl cleaner. We do it from the dink. I have a 14” soft bristle brush that I wet, shake out then squirt a thick stream of Sno Bol long the brush then swipe away and leave a visible coating on the hull. Mary pulls the dinghy along while I swipe and re-wet the brush with cleaner. There is no scrubbing, the acid in the cleaner does the job. By the time you are completely around the boat the stain is gone. Now you rinse the brush in seawater and brush the cleaner off the hull with lotsa seawater on the brush. The entire job takes about 30 minutes. It is best to do it late afternoon without much sun and it helps if there is little wind to make it easier on Your Sweetie trying to hold the dink to the boat. Once perfected it takes just one bottle for an Egret size boat.
With short fall days the alarm goes off before daylight and at the first hint of light the anchor is up and Egret is under way, usually about 0645. In the afternoon we start looking at the chart for places to anchor for the night. You have to be careful here in coastal N.C. because in quite a few places the Intracoastal is super shallow on either side of the channel for miles. This is typical of today’s run approaching Beaufort (N.C.). The area is super tidal and shallow outside the channel. So once we near Beaufort and get the tide direction we’ll hatch a plan for tonight. Of course if we were Marina Queens like our group of fellow southbounders who race past Egret about 1000 in the morning and are tucked in by 1600 in the afternoon or sooner it is easier (except for docking in screaming current). So we keep chugging for a few more hours to make up the difference in speed. To put things into perspective between the two approaches……slow and steady or hit n’ run. On an Egret size boat, marina fees would be about 3k for the 20 day trip and fuel costs would range from Egret’s roughly $1,500 USP to make the trip to up to 25 times more. (2gph vs up to 50gph) If we choose to run part way offshore the cost would drop considerably because of the straight run shortening the distance by quite a bit. An example would be if Egret exited Beaufort (NC) into the Atlantic like last year. For example, it is a 5 day trip south to FLL with a fuel burn of less than 250 gallons for the offshore portion.) More to follow.
At Beaufort (N.C.) we decided to head offshore for a simple overnighter to avoid the shoaling water* in the Intracoastal south of Beaufort. In addition, there is no place to anchor for miles south of Beaufort. The weather was perfect so we popped out mid afternoon and tuned south.
*The area south of Beaufort (N.C.) and the 20nm north of Charleston (S.C.) are the two worst areas of shoaling for the entire Intracoastal.
The offshore conditions were as perfect at they could be if you could choose anything. The water was oily slick but there was still a tiny bit of residual swell to give the little lady a bit of motion. Perfecto! The passage was made on a full moon so the sea was lit all night along with dolphins to keep the watch keepers company. Just before dark we picked up a trio of hitch hikers including this little guy who was doing The Hummingbird trying to perch on Mary’s shiny stainless in the breeze and a bit of motion. He was traveling with two ladies, probably his wife and a spare.
Like usual this summer the little lady was flying so in order to make a daylight arrival we changed our original destination from the Cape Fear River to Little River Inlet, about 40nm farther south. I was a bit nervous about Little River because so many Carolina inlets are super tidal and shoaling so I called a cruising buddy back in Fla who looked it up on the internet and said fishermen and tourist boats cause heavy traffic on weekends. So if a cattle boat full of tourists can do the deal, so can Egret. Arriving at Little River there was no wind so it was a non event and never had less than 10’ of water under the keel. I will say, if the wind were 20 knots or more from any eastern quadrant it would be better to use the Cape Fear entrance.
So we wandered for miles thru the Carolina low country. This is one of the prettiest portions of the Intracoastal, particularly south of Myrtle Beach , S.C. The low country is areas of shallow tidal creeks, sea grass on mud flats barely above water and scattered homes on the higher oak hammocks inland. If these folks want water access they have to build serious docks; boy docks, not girl docks. All along the way we anchored at night in a convenient spot off the waterway that had enough water and no boat traffic.
There was one detour that was interesting. Looking at the chart there was a small town of Mcclellanville about a mile off the waterway. So we went in to see what was whipping. There were a few homes close to the Intracoastal, then nothing but swamp grass then a sorta marina with a face dock and power pedestals. Some dock dude asked what we were looking for. We said we were just looking. He said if we weren’t going to spend money to get the H… out. Then he laughed. Mcclellanville is the home of lotsa shrimp boats, a fish house and not much more. So we left.
Next up was Charleston , S.C. We arrived late and anchored off Charleston City Marina for the night then went to the marina the next morning for a couple days. We needed to pick up mail for the first time in 5 months and receive a few goodies. Remember the way cool Kevlar, ex racing sail, shower curtain we ordered in Lunenburg? It was in the package. It fit perfect. Is that cool or what? Did you see the red and green (p and s) tell tails on the left side? Are Those cool or what? The blue diagonal stripes were on the original sail. I don’t know how we went so long without Kevlar and just used boring shower curtains like commoners.
Charleston City Marina is super nice with modern floating docks. One service they offer is shuttle service to downtown. The shuttle leaves on the hour and picks up on request within 10-20 minutes at one of 5 downtown locations, the grocery store and a local marine store.
Our shuttle driver’s name was Brad. Brad is a nice polite young man, who said he started not long ago, was happy to have a job and was super cheerful. During the conversation he mentioned a few things in military type verbiage so I inquired and learned where that came from. Brad served in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan for a short tour, a full tour in Iraq and an abbreviated Iraq second tour. Just after Christmas, 2009, Brad was riding in a Humvee with two other soldiers “200 meters” behind a larger vehicle (of some type he didn’t mention). The leading truck with 11 aboard was vaporized in a blast detonated by a cell phone, his two co riders were killed instantly but Brad survived with a broken neck and other serious injuries I mentioned then deleted. Brad has been in a series of hospitals since 2009 and was recently discharged and was able to find work here at the marina. It is young men like Brad who give us the freedom we enjoy. Let’s not forget.
Charleston ’s history goes back to the 1600’s. Mary and I wandered the historic downtown section for a couple days. We ate lunch one day at Bubba Gump Shrimp Company and bought a Bubba license plate for the new Bubba Truck. (More on Bubba in a couple months.) Charleston is all about history, gas lights and even to this day has horse carriages in the historic district for the touristas. Serving the carriage business is a modern carriage building factory even though it is housed in a ol tyme section of downtown. A number of the older homes have an inner courtyard like Europe.
Hello all, actually we are in FLL. We haven't had internet for some time.
J, We have a second VofE we'll send along to be posted on Tue that will bring us current. Tks, S.
Before we leave Charleston , we should mention the Intracoastal 20nm north of Charleston is a nightmare of shoaling, particularly at low tide. There are tides over 6’ in the area. In some places there were Dry Shoals Inside the Markers at low tide. The markers were useless. We stayed mid channel and dodged here and there looking for water during this section. Here is where activecaptive.com comes in if you are a normal cruiser with internet thru an I Phone to an I Pad or the like. Conscientious cruisers have forwarded shoaling information to Active Captain and this is imbedded in their charting. This would have saved us some grief and kept the poor sailboater behind us from spending the rest of the fall and the first part of the rise waiting on water.
South of Charleston the waterway winds around thru a series of natural rivers and a few dredged cuts. Navigation is easy but you must pay attention. This is a pretty section of low country you will enjoy. There are dolphin everywhere as well as usual and unusual shore birds. The next town of consequence is Beaufort. ( Beaufort , North Carolina is pronounced Bofort and Beaufort , South Carolina is pronounced Buuuufort.) We heard from Brit cruisers David and Emma aboard s/v Five Flip Flops (we met last year up north) that Saturday was a local Shrimp Festival. So off we went.
More on Beaufort and the trip south to follow.
Ed. Note - The glossary of Egretism terms will be posted on the Captain's Log home page for easy reference.