Saturday, April 13, 2013

Daufuskie Island to Beaufort, Johns Island, and Georgetown

OK, it's time to cover some miles.  We left Daufuskie Island at almost dead low tide.  This daymark should give you an idea of what 7 to 8-foot tides look like.  

So far we've had no trouble with them but the next 3 days have some short stretches that have recorded 3 to 4 feet of water at low tide which would be a problem for us so we'll have to plan accordingly.  We also left Daufuskie in the afternoon which is very unusual for us.  We usually depart early morning so if we have any problems we still have daylight hours to deal with it.  So, we'll arrive Beaufort today in the evening.  Living on the edge!

Here's the well-known Harbortown Marina at Hilton Head.

We crossed Port Royal Sound in perfect conditions.  Very light winds and the water has really cleared up again.  Beautiful.  Nice sailboat also.

We got settled at the Beaufort City marina quickly and went for a quick walk downtown for dinner at the "Q On Bay" restaurant. The inside was very pretty and the food, outstanding.

Remember the brush and bottle trees?  Not sure what this one is, Statue of Liberty I presume, but it was made of metal "junk" and on display along the Beaufort waterfront walk.

Our pace the past few days of lots of boat miles, long hours every day, long bicycle rides, etc. finally caught up with me.  So, after we borrowed the marina's courtesy car (haven't had one of those in a long time) and bought big groceries for the first time since JAX, I took the rest of the day off in Beaufort and Rhonda took off on her own.  She just never seems to get tired.  Beaufort is a popular stop for boaters and all tourists and has a great waterfront.

The southern coastal homes are all starting to look alike but Beaufort definitely had its share.

The carriage ride was popular and apparently one lady sensed a photo op!

Rhonda loved the chocolate tree at "The Chocolate Tree" store, go figure.

Rhonda got a special history tour at the 300 year old Saint Helena Anglican Church by one of its members.  There's a neat story here.  Background - during the Civil War and after gaining control of Beaufort, the commanding officer of the Union forces had ordered that the troops NOT destroy any property in Beaufort which was not the norm at the time.  Back to the story - One day another tourist was on a tour of homes in Beaufort and after recognizing one of the homes she was in from a family picture, she informed the owner of the home that she had something to send her but did not give any details.  Several days later, a picture arrived by mail at the owner's home.  It was a picture of the tourist's great-great uncle, the commanding officer, standing in front of the owner's home.  He had stayed there as the commanding officer noted above.  When asked what she would do with the picture, the homeowner said that she would display it on her piano as a reminder of the officer who saved her family's home. The owner of the home is a personal friend of the lady giving Rhonda some history on the church below.

The church served as a hospital for the Union forces and they used the tombstone slabs in the cemetery as operating tables.

There were some other different types of grave sites. 

Today it's a popular stop for organists from all over the world for free performances every Friday during the month of April.

At one point during the war, the altar furniture just disappeared, never to be found again, but was replaced by some of the Union sailors who handcarved the pieces. Before the war, plantation owners and their slaves worshiped together in this church. Today their descendants continue to worship together.

And Rhonda liked the plaque and verse on a water fountain on the grounds.

At sunset, "Help Me Rhonda" was ready for another long trip the next day to Johns Island near Charleston.  

We considered stopping at Edisto Island but it was several miles off of the ICW and we really needed to cover some miles.  Also, I had contacted a high school friend of mine, Jim Beckham, in Summerville and was really looking forward to visiting him and his wife, Lila, at Johns Island after our last visit 30 years ago.

The sunrise the next morning was even better than the sunset the night before.

Later was nice also, crossing St. Helena Sound.  As you can see, it was another beautiful day to be on the water.

We didn't take many pictures this day, just trying to cover the 65 miles to Johns Island.  The scenery was pretty much the same, but we did have a few dolphin along for the ride on our wake.

We got docked and had a great visit and dinner with Jim and Lila.  Jim and I committed that we would not wait another 30 years before our next visit.  Hey, that's probably a good idea since there's a pretty good chance we might not have another 30 years for a visit!

The evening went by so quickly that we never even got pics of the Johns Island Yacht Harbor.  It was a first class facility and we would like to have stayed longer but we had another 65 miles to cover the next day.  We even decided to skip Charleston but the sunrise and ride across the bay was another beautiful morning.

Here's Ft. Sumter.

The ICW becomes a much straighter waterway after Charleston and you really feel like you are making lots of progress along the Atlantic coast.  We had the option to stop at McClellanville but Rhonda is a fan of Trip Advisor and after checking out things to do there, Trip Advisor said there was nothing to do! Yes, absolutely no recommendations, so we pressed on to Georgetown.  The waterway reminded us a lot of Georgia, just no bends in the ICW.  We did start to see a few evergreens.

The water was calm, the sky was slightly overcast (keeping the temperature just right) and I was thinking it was just a picture-perfect day.  Then we got to Winyah Bay about 10 miles from Georgetown.  The wind picked up to about 15-20 mph and we had an opposing tide to the wind, the worst combination, especially in big open water.  The Georgetown Landing Marina is also very exposed to the southerly winds we were experiencing as well as the tide of course.  We had been listening to the marina's recommendations to other boats arriving before us and knew there was a possibility for a difficult docking but we have never had any trouble before.  To make a long story short and sparing you the details, we got caught in a wicked combination of wind and tide as we made our final turn to the inside T-head with not much maneuvering room and the tide won the battle. We got pinned up against a couple of pilings and the tide would not let go. After lots of maneuvering, I finally got loose and got to our dock but not before one of the pilings did some damage to the fiberglass between the rub rail and the teak trim on the starboard side.  This area already had some cracks in the fiberglass from the previous owner and apparently was too weak to stand the force against the piling.  This was not a really big deal except that major thunderstorms/rain were forecast all night and I was concerned that much of it would leak in to other areas of the boat causing additional damage.  So it was time for some repairs.

I had about three hours to get the job done before dark.  Realize also that the floating docks are rocking and rolling with about 2-foot seas, the wind is howling, and the tide is flowing fast - not the best environment for making fiberglass repairs, but you do what you gotta do.  I called NAPA and found the fiberglass and  hardener materials I needed and they offered to deliver - awesome.  Rhonda met them out in front of the marina about ten minutes later while I got things ready.  Making progress below.

And here she is with two coats of primer and an hour to spare before dark.

Not bad, huh?  I got one coat of top coat on the next day and that's about all I could do for now.  The good news - no leaks, and we did have some serious rain all night long.  We got a little sightseeing done in Georgetown, a unique little city with lots of history in the lumber industry and rice plantations in her early years.  The historic district has the most antebellum homes we have seen and they are all in good condition - block after block after block of beautiful homes and no eyesores anywhere.  The older homes had the construction date on a plaque outside each home.  The oldest we saw was 1770.  There were historical markers outside many of them as well with many stories to tell of this charming city with a proud past. 

The city waterfront has a nice boardwalk with lots of boats docked there and shops/restaurants/museums occupying all of the historic buildings.

We went to the highly recommended Kudzu Bakery and bought fig jelly and freshly baked bread.  I know probably not many of you are fans of fig jelly but I grew up next to my grandparents for several years and my grandmother made it from figs in the back yard.  So, things from your childhood stick with you and figs was one of them for me.  The bread was outstanding.  Around lunch time Rhonda checked out her resources for  Georgetown restaurants - the local residents.  I'm glad she did (again) because we usually get good recommendations.  I was especially glad this time because the guy she asked was "Captain Ron!"  So glad we finally got to meet him!  Seriously the name is almost generic now for every where you go after the popular movie years ago.  This Captain Ron runs some tour boats out to Shell Island but recently shut down his business so he could take a couple of months and run to Key West and back.  After he recommended the Thomas Cafe to us, he got into an old VW Bug with a surfboard rack on the top and loud exhausts, fitting the Captain Ron image nicely.

We walked into the cafe for a "meat and 3 vegetables meal" right at noon and the place was packed.  Another group walked in with us and we ended up sharing a table with them.  Got some good recommendations as they were longtime boaters and had lived in several locations in the Great Lakes and on the Erie Canal.  The crown thinned out a little later and Rhonda got a nice pic of an old cafe still looking like the 60s.

Time to move on though.  Next stop, Myrtle Beach where my sister, niece-in-law, and three kids will be visiting us from my hometown in Lancaster, SC.  Looking forward to that.

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