SAILS 1990 45 Florida Bay Coaster
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Monday, 12 November 2012
RI to FL - Day 29
Beaufort, SC to Kilkenny Creek, GA
Our day started much earlier than anticipated today… 0300 awakened by knocks on the boat and flashlights shinning on the windows… got out of bed and went downstairs to see what was happening… opened the side door and was greeted by two police officers on the dock. They apologized for waking me but wanted to inform me that I was in violation of the docking policy… No docking between 0100 and 0600… I replied we had stayed on this dock overnight many times… he said he knew but it was now illegal to stay overnight on the dock. It then started to pour down rain… I invited the officers onboard to get out of the rain. He said we did not have to leave… he was just going to give us a written warning. Said the city wants us to stop and spend money in town but they get complaints about boats docking overnight… I asked who? The marina? He just grunted and gave me a look that I took it for a yes. He finished writing up my warning ticket and said if I was approached buy anyone else to say that I had been given a ticket by the city police… told me to have a good night and safe trip and they left… still pouring rain. I went back to bed… alarm was set for 0600 and that was going to come way to quick now.

Alarm went off at 0600 as set… hit the snooze button three times and finally got out of bed at 0615… at least it had stopped raining. Readied things on the boat for departure as Susan walked Beecha and we departed at 0640. Tide was still running slightly running against us but I checking I found it would be changing to ebb very soon. We headed down the Beaufort River toward Port Royal Sound.

We were just getting to Georgia and all the shoaling trouble spots…. Wind was less than 5 knots and forecast was for 2-3 foot seas… so we decided to exit the ICW at Port Royal Sound and head south in the Atlantic… Great plan… the further and further we got out of the inlet the worse it got… no wind still less than 5 knots but the seas were no where near 2-3 foot. There were some fairly good size rollers and they were close together and we had an ebb current with the rollers against the current… anyway, it was very nasty and we were at a point of do we turn around or continue south to the inlet… we opted to keep heading south and go back in at the Savannah River via the Tybee Roads Inlet. So we toughed it out for a couple more hours on the outside.

We reached the Tybee Roads Inlet and still had 2 hours to get back to the ICW… it was 10 miles inland. We had entered via this inlet heading north before but never gone south from it…. This would be our first trip up the Savannah River and it was a slow one… 4.5 – 5.0 knots… strong current against us. It was cool passing the ships that were exiting to sea… passed four huge ships.

Once we were back in the ICW all we had to deal with now was skinny water… of course it was dead low tide… only good thing was that it was rising so by the time we reached the trouble areas we had enough water to not be real concerned about grounding.

When we were traveling outside we planned to stop for the night at Walburg Creek… this anchorage was now out of range for us today… next Beecha friendly stop before Walburg Creek would be Kilkenny Creek, so that is where we headed.

Just after sunset we were approaching Hell Gate and I could see a large passenger vessel heading toward Hell Gate on the Ogeechee River and I was on the Vernon River… we were running parallel both heading toward Hell Gate from opposite sides. The passenger vessel was “The Independence” an American Cruise Line Ship… not sure how long they are but I knew I did not want to go through Hell Gate at the same time as they did. I hailed him on the VHF and told him I would hold off transiting Hell Gate and let him go through first… he acknowledged and we sat and waited for them to get through… not long but it did delay our arrival time to Kilkenny Creek.

Because it was cloudy today it got dark quickly after sunset… it was dark by the time we got through Hell Gate and heading up the Ogeechee River toward Florida Passage. We met a tug and barge in Florida Passage… it was really dark… could not see much of anything visually… had to navigate via radar and chartplotter.

We arrived to Kilkenny Creek about 1915 and turned out of the ICW into it… three boats anchored in the Creek as we headed in… two power and one sail. We arrived to our destination for the night… Marker 107 Restaurant and docked at about 1930.. Our location: N31°47.410’, W081°12.156’. We found that the restaurant was closed on Mondays… would have been good to have eaten there… oh well next trip.

We traveled today for 12 hours and 50 minutes covering 78.17 nautical miles averaging 6.09 knots.
Posted at 8:53 PM
Sunday, 11 November 2012
RI to FL - Day 28
Charleston, SC to Beaufort, SC
It’s finally starting to get warm… 54 degrees when we left this morning… much better than temps in the 30’s. Pulled anchor and were underway at about 0730 and headed out finding we had the current against us making about 5.5 knots for the first hour of the day.
But it was not long before we had current with us and pushing us over 9 knots.

This is how the entire day went… 8 - 9 knots then 4.5 - 5.5 knots and then there were areas that were so shallow we had to slow to an idle to make it through… The first 2 miles of the Dawho River we had just over 5 feet of water… then Watts Cut we had 6-7 feet through most of it… of course we were transiting these areas at low tide.

There were several areas of shoaling… none that we were surprised by but you had to be very cautious in these areas… running aground is never a good experience.

Had several of the same boas pass us again that have been passing us the last few days… a 36 foot Monk named “Elizabeth” from Belhaven, NC has been very friendly… as he passed today he hailed on the VHF… see you tomorrow about the same time… he has been passing us each morning around 0930. Some of the boats that passed us were pretty big… I know pone was at least 100 feet long… not sure how he was getting through these shallow areas without grounding.

We arrived to our destination for the night… Beaufort, SC and planne don anchoring since it was late afternoon… there is a FREE dock here that we always hope to get but the last three times here it has been full… it’s a 100 to 120 foot floating dock just to the west of the Beaufort Downtown marina. Much to our surprise as we were heading into the anchorage area we found this dock totally open… so we made a quick change in plans and… no anchoring this time… FREE dock. No power or water but it’s much easier with Beecha when we are tied to a dock.

We were securely docked at about 1600… our location: N32°25.845’, W080°40.524’.

We traveled today for 8 hours and 30 minutes covering 55.12 nautical miles averaging 6.48 knots.
Posted at 9:21 PM
Saturday, 10 November 2012
RI to FL - Day 27
Georgetown, SC to Charleston, SC
Today we cruised to Charleston, SC…. Actually just past Charleston to the Stono River.

We departed from Georgetown earlier than we have been leaving at 0630 and headed out to the ICW. The current in this area is like a yo-yo… with you for a few miles and then it switches against you.

There was a lot of boat traffic today… several boats cruising south that we have seen a couple of times before today and some new ones. Being Saturday the local boaters were also out in large numbers.

Was quite chilly when we left… 34 degrees but as the day proceeded it turned out to be quite nice… think it made it to 70 degrees and low tonight only 54 degrees.

We arrived to Charleston area earlier than expected… do we anchor now or continue to our next good anchorage. Checking the logs and guides next dog friendly location was 24 miles further… that would be an hour or so after sunset and over 12 hours total for the day… Nope… let’s anchor now and continue tomorrow.

We exited Elliott’s Cut with current boosting our speed to 9.5 knots… we should of been making 6.5 knots so we had a 3 knot current pushing us… glad it was pushing us and not against us. We turned to the south and headed out the Stono River towards the St. Johns Yacht Harbor and dropped the hook just NE of the marina at approximately 1555. Location: N32°45.411’, W080°00.651’.

We traveled today for 9 hours and 15 minutes covering 61.18 nautical miles averaging 6.61 knots.
Posted at 4:13 PM
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