Weather, tide, wishes and desires often clash but those little bits and pieces can be reassembled into a crew-acceptable plan that often equals or exceeds expectations. Our next real stop after the New River was Beaufort, SC (you said, “Bew”, right?) Pleasant, low wind days remained in the forecast, but not for much longer. Rain and thunderstorms were headed our way from the Gulf of Mexico. Since our silly crystal ball had rolled overboard, we couldn’t be sure exactly when; Tues? Wed?
Several decisions needed to be made. Stay in Beaufort until after the “event” or get to Charleston before things got nasty. Can be a one day trip between the two cities but we had a tide problem at the Ashepoo-Coosaw Cutoff (love those names) and that would make our trip take two 6-hour days. We wanted spend up to ta week in Charleston and with no east winds forecasted for a darn long time, the Charleston Maritime Center (where we usually stay) was ideal, but we needed to reserve ahead to ensure we got the spot we wanted.
Rolled the dice and it came up Wednesday. Called, booked and see you then. One night in Beaufort, alas. Walking a mile and ½ to a BI-LO was “fun” but a former boater took pity on us and offered a ride back. The closer Piggly-Wiggly (not much closer though) had closed down 2 mos ago.
Monday we arrived in Charleston. Our original plan to anchor in Church Creek got scratched when we read that the area was covered with crab pots; when we went by it sure looked very full but we met a boat who said they anchored there. Wed was starting to sound really nasty so we contacted Maritime to see if we could come in early. A boat was in that spot but due to leave today so we headed in and found two alternative spots to anchor.
By noon the wind was kickin’ up from the south which isn’t a big deal unless the place you want to drop anchor has a strong current running opposite. Our spot was off the ICW in the Stono River, near St John’s Yacht Harbor. A couple other local boats were anchored in that general area. Anchor went down and we started eating lunch. Uh oh. “Are we dragging?” Yes. We engaged in a rapid-fire discussion of who was to do what because with the strong wind and current, trading jobs would be best. Moved about a boat length further from shore and when Russ pulled back, it sure looked to me like he was just pulling that anchor right along with us. I could see us getting closer to shore and after one more pull I shouted, “We gotta go!!” So we did and moved to the opposite shore further past the marina and the high bridge next to it.
Another check-in with Maritime because now we weren’t sure we wanted to be anchored stern-to the shore when the wind kicked up to lord knows what- 25? Our third and last spot was just off the south channel (ICW) that runs along the peninsula that is historic downtown Charleston. Shallow water in front of us would minimize fetch and we could drag a long ways before hitting land. Plus, maybe just maybe we could get in to the marina Tuesday morning. Wrong.
We finally gave up on the boat who was “waiting for his captain” (even the marina wasn’t buying that story), called the marina best protected from the wind and waves and you might guess which one that was; St John’s Yacht Harbor. They had the perfect slip for us and all we had to do was backtrack 4nm, passing through the Wappoo Creek bascule bridge AGAIN and power our way through Elliot Cut where a 3kt current would be fighting us for a long ¼ mile.
The Captain executed a flawless stern-in docking and we were all smiles as Beau and James caught and tied our lines; finally snug into a slip- one very close to shore. Nice. Quite a few other cruising boats were here too and we chatted with a group up at the Stono Breeze. We reserved an Enterprise rental car for Friday – Monday but until then could use the marina’s loaner van for up to two hours. As much as we like Maritime’s spot-on downtown location, this marina was going to be even better, plus excellent wi-fi and cable TV so we could watch the Derby on Saturday and The Mentalist Sunday night. 🙂
The nasty wind, rain, thunder and lightning came and went; everyone none the worse for it and happy with the lovely, dry, warm and getting warmer days afterward.