Tuesday, July 24, 2018

July 2018: Savannah to Edisto to Charleston

Our Track from Savannah to Edisto to Charleston
First to address one of our reader’s typical questions:  during this blog entry’s time frame, as far as we know, nothing new broke or went wrong; nor did any previous fix come undone.  And yes, that might be a first.  We’re not superstitious, so we don't think we're "jinxing" ourselves.  We’ll just put it down to a lot of hard work and diligence….for now, at least. J

As we dallied in Savannah, the weather forecast for the next several days had been looking bleak, with a high probability of rain and thunder (ergo, lightning) for the foreseeable future.  We were anxious to make the run up to Edisto to visit with our good friends there, but finding a suitable window was equally important.  The stationary front that was triggering all the storminess hadn’t progressed quite as far as originally forecast, so Wednesday, 18-July was looking like our best bet….especially if we got an early start.

Edisto Island Beach at the River Entrance
By 0650 we got underway and headed back out the long winding channel formed by the Wilmington River, and eventually steered Ghost Rider into the open waters of the Atlantic again.  Winds were out of the southeast and quite a bit friskier than on previous days, and the current was moving swiftly, so the ride quickly got sloppy.  The channel is a winding path, with the final part of it taking us nearly in the opposite direction of our intended route north – which meant punching straight into the three-to-four footers that were running a two second intervals; we took spray up to the fly bridge on a couple of bashes.

After finally escaping the offshore shallows we got pointed back to the north and put the waves on our stern.  Those square waves at short intervals challenged both the autopilot and the stabilizers, but we wallowed and see-sawed our way at a good pace and still made reasonably good time.  We arrived at the mouth of the South Edisto River around 1500, then wound our way into and up the St. Pierre Creek, and arrived at Paul and Dee Dee’s dock just after 1600…..just as the storms moved in and the rain started.  There was some thunder and lightning in the vicinity, but we had managed to beat most of it.  
View From Paul & Dee Dee's Porch of Their Pier and Dock
and the Rivers That Wind Through the Low Country

Paul was there to greet us and help us tie up, after which we completed our short post-flight checklists, hooked up our small 30 amp shore power cord to keep the house batteries charged, packed a small bag, and made our way up the long pier to the best resort house in the entire southeastern U.S.  This was going to be a nice boat break and visit.

Over the next two days we were mostly just bums, enjoying the spacious and cool luxury of Paul and Dee Dee’s place, and just catching up with each other.  This was also our “package delivery depot” so some of our mail order supplies were waiting on us, too.  The boat got a wash down and a pair of new toilet seats (seriously, that was one of our packages), but otherwise we took a serious boat break.
Partying on the Dock with Friends Dan, Cal and Tim
And with Paul and Dale
From Friday (20-July) through Sunday (22-July) we were joined at Paul and Dee Dee’s home by a number of good friends whom we had not seen in a spell.  Former co-workers with whom we’ve been privileged to form close bonds – Cal, Dale, Dan along with Tim and his whole family – all arrived to spend some quality time, enjoy a wide variety of adult beverages, and to eat copious amounts of fantastic food.  Paul’s “Low Country Shrimp Boil” is a culinary delight and not to be missed.  We had a fabulous and relaxing time together.

But on Monday, 23-July, it was time for us to get moving once again and give our hosts a break; the weather forecast was good enough, so at 1040 local time (a purposeful decision aimed at arriving at optimal tide/current conditions in Charleston) we bid adieu, tossed off the lines, and headed back down the creek and river towards the open Atlantic, eventually turning north towards Charleston.
Pulling Back & Away from Paul & Dee Dee's Dock

Passing By Edisto Beach After Departing Paul and Dee Dee's Place
 Seas were forecast at four-to-six and that was mostly accurate…except for the occasional seven or eight foot wall that slapped the boat….and the intervals were nastily short, as well as mostly beam to the starboard side.  Winds gradually clocked up to 20+ knots, and the stabilizers and autopilot worked hard all day.  But the storminess stayed well west and east of our path, with upper level steering currents that also then took them north of our position.  So overall we weren’t complaining.
Passing Fort Sumter at the Entrance to Charleston Harbor

The entry channel to Charleston Harbor was busy as usual, with several freighters heading in and out as we neared our turn.  We slowed a bit to keep our CPA distance from one of them, and just before 1700 we were between the channel’s submerged jetties heading into the harbor.  At about that time one of those humongous cruise ships (this one a Carnival brand) was also transiting the exit.  Rick hailed them on the VHF and we agreed to a port-to-port pass, although in the end that didn’t matter….they had plenty of escorts, including a couple of pilot boats and an armed USCG patrol.  The latter pulled alongside of us and indicated a 300 yard security zone was required, so we acknowledged and edged just along the outside of the channel, but with plenty of distance between Ghost Rider and the rock jetties, until they were well past.
Or Initial Slip Assignment at Charleston Harbor Marina Was
a Bit Tight to Maneuver Into

After slipping past Fort Sumter we ran without conflicting traffic up to the Charleston Harbor Marina on the Cooper River at Patriot’s Point.  The slip they gave us was not particularly attractive – wedged between two sailboats on one of the rolly outer piers – but we managed to pivot the boat in the tidal current and tight spaces and got tied up without incident.  Alas, their power pedestals were only putting out 208V on that particular dock, so once again we ended up running the damned genset all night so we could have air conditioning in the sweltering humidity and thunderstorms that followed.

View of the USS Yorktown from Our Slip at CHM
We got most of the salt hosed off of Ghost Rider, and numerous storms that moved through after sunset took care of whatever we had missed.  Dinner and drinks followed that and we called it a wrap.  The next day (Tuesday, 24-July) the marina electrician came out to pronounce the pier’s transformer needed repair, so we moved the boat to the other side of the marina where we finally found solid 240V shore power.

We’ll spend the next several days in this area to enjoy the many activities and great restaurants here, and also visit more good friends who we have not seen in a while (Ron and Mercedes, who recently purchased their own Nordhavn).  We’re not sure what our next port will be once we get underway again – other than it will be north of here – but we have time to figure that out later.

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