SAILS 1990 45 Florida Bay Coaster
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Monday, 9 December 2013
CT to FL Day 19
McClellanville, SC to Charleston, SC
We awoke this morning at 0530 for an early departure planning to go Beaufort, SC but found it to be very very foggy... could barely see the bow of the SAILS from the pilothouse windows. I already knew it was going to be dead low tide and could of dealt with the shallow water but this fog was something else. I went back to bed and set my alarm for 0630... sunrise was at 0700.

Alarm went off as set at 0630... I got up and checked to see if the fog seemed any better with the sun coming up very soon... I think it was actually worse than earlier. Dead low tide... pea soup think fog... we're not leaving today I thought to myself.

Checking the weather the forecast was for the fog to disappear around 1000 so we waited... waiting would also help with the tide... we had a good breakfast and about 0845 the fog appeared to be better as we could see maybe an 1/4 of mile down the canal... a lot of fishing boats had left so we made the decision... we're off... 0900 we tossed the dock lines and were underway out the canal toward the ICW.

We got into the ICW and the fog seemed to zoom in around us and we had less than 1/8 of a mile visibility... we continued slowly radar running and eyes staring into the mist. The tide had come in quite a bit... the depth sounder was bouncing around between 6 and 7 feet... barely moving at 4.5 knots... it really sucked!

So, we moved on to plan B... scratched Beaufort and changed to Charleston. We wanted to stop at a marina that had a courtesy car so we could pick up some provisions... We would go to St. John's Yacht Harbor on the Stono River just south of Charleston.

About 6 miles north of Price Creek we heard a boat hailing another boat we had passed the day before... they switched from 16 to 68 on the VHF and we also switched to listen in and try and determine their location... the boat hailing was a trawler and they were hailing a sailboat we had passed yesterday... anyway, the sailboat was not hearing the trawler and they never connected on 68... the trawler was asking about fog conditions on the ICW... I hailed them and we switched to 68 and I reported the fog conditions to them as 1/8 visibility and they thanked me.

About an hour later we were just past Price Creek and I started getting a blip on the radar of a boat ahead of us... could not see it but it was there... we were catching it...as we got within visual range they hailed me... it was the trawler we had talked to earlier they had been anchored in Price Creek and had just left hoping things were better than I reported to them... we chatted for a minute or two and they asked me to take the lead and they followed me... sure not a problem. I passed and they stayed close behind us... in fact they followed us all day until we reached Charleston and the fog had cleared... then they passed and continued ahead of us down Wapoo Creek and through Elliot's Cut. We exited the cut and turned to port and they continued down the ICW. They too were headed to Beaufort tomorrow so our paths may cross again.

We arrived to St. John's Yacht Harbor and were securely docked at 1445. Our location approximately N32°45.225', W080°00.613'. We traveled for 5.75 hours covering 38 nautical miles averaging 6.6 knots.

We checked in at the marina office right away and registered for the courtesy car and we were off to Publix... Susan was excited to get to go to Publix for the first time since we left Punta Gorda in April.

Posted at 7:29 PM
Sunday, 8 December 2013
CT to FL Day 18
Bucksport, SC to McClellanville, SC
Weather has turned COLD again... we thought we would not get any more COLD weather but it was 39 degrees when we left Bucksport Marina this morning at 0700.

It was a cold and gray day cruising down the Waccamaw River. Normally, this is a very pleasant area to cruise through but it was very dreary today. We did see some other boats traveling both north and south. One in particular I had seen most every day while we were in Stamford, CT this summer. "Wanderbird" a very large offshore style trawler that was docked at Brewer Yacht Haven East.

We had a fairly short day planned only going to McCellanville, SC and stopping at Leeland Oil Company. We have never stopped here and thought it would a nice change of pace. We arrived shortly after 1300 and docked on a large face dock. We were met by two people on the dock and a very friendly dog. she came aboard as soon as we were close enough for her to jump and she thoroughly inspected every nook and crevice of "SAILS"... LOL

We were secure at the dock at 1330 at N33°04.975', W079°27.743'. We traveled for 6.5 hours covering 46 nautical miles averaging 7.1 knots.
Posted at 2:08 PM
Saturday, 7 December 2013
CT to FL Day 17
Carolina Beach, NC to Bucksport, SC
We departed from Carolina Beach this morning at 0630 and headed out toward the ICW... maybe a 1000 yards at best out the channel. This first leg of the ICW is basically the Cape Fear River and really need to plan to have this leg with current running with you... otherwise you can be slowed down to 3-4 knots fighting against the current. Today I had hoped to leave by 0600 so we would have the current in our favor for the entire length of the river down to Southport... however, we got away about 30 minutes late and we did suffer for it... made it about two thirds of the way down the river and we started to slow down... running 8.5 knots to begin with and down to 5 knots before we turned up the ICW at Southport. Then we immediately got the boost back and running 8 knots again. But, we had the "yo-yo" effect today due to the various inlets we would pass... but overall I think we had more favorable current.

As we passed Southport we were hailed by Robert Creech... he lives there and is the MTOA port captain for the area. Not sure how but he never seems to miss us as we pass and always hails to chat on the VHF with us.

Today the weather was forecast for high winds...20-25 knots and rain... we got it all... rain actually did not start until after we had passed Southport but once it started it did not seem to stop... and it turned COLD again... missed the 70's we had yesterday.

We did see one odd thing just past Southport... out in the middle of nowhere there were three goats just strolling along the side of the ICW... as we approached they started to move away until they saw me come out of the pilothouse with the camera... then they stopped as if they were posing for me... LOL soon, as I snapped the photo they disappeared into the marsh grass.

Very little boat traffic today...a couple of sailboats as we passed through Little River area and some small fishing boats... oh we did have the two gambling boats pass us heading out to sea at the Little River Inlet... "Big M Casino" and the "Jacks or Better".

Bridges were no problem... Little River Swing Bridge opened promptly which is unusual... and the Socastee Bridge also opened promptly for us... nice when you do not have to wait on bridge openings... of course both bridges are on demand which helps.

We arrived to our destination for the night at approximately 1630 and tied up behind a large three masted sailing vessel named "Steel Away"... all steel hull very large... maybe 70 feet... was pretty cool.

This stop we also always buy some sausage... they have the best sausage around... at least I think so... Susan does not care for it. and we made it just in time before they closed at 1700.

Today we traveled for 10 hours covering 70 nautical miles averaging 7.0 knots. Our approximate location for the night is N33°39.041', W079°05.671'.
Posted at 5:41 PM
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