Beaufort (April 22-24)

Beaufort is a great little walking town full of eclectic shops, museums and good restaurants.  We walked “front street” and visited some of the unique shops and historic homes.

                

I love the license plates on these bicycles – “Parsley”, “Sage”, “Rosemary” and “Thyme”…..

One evening as we sat on a park bench we got a “face-time” call from our grandson, Bryson.  We visited with Bryson on our I-Pad for quite some time as we watched the sun begin to set.  This was the favorite part of our day!

    

On our way back to the boat we stopped at the Front Street Grill at Stillwater.  It was a warm and cozy welcomed change from the chilly outside air.  We had a warm bowl of chowder and salad and called it an early evening.

    

We watched this couple dinghy their dogs back to “the big boat”….don’t know why “she” is doing all of the rowing….and their dinghy is quite full….

Santa is loving Beaufort.  He is right downtown and in the center of activity.  He thinks he is in a parade – waving at all the children that pass by….we have been told by many along the way that Santa had put a smile on their face.  He really loves all of the attention.  Visitors are snapping his picture all day and we enjoy hearing the adults and little ones alike exclaim with excitement – “Look, it’s Santa

While in Beaufort we met fellow loopers, Rick and Deedy on board “Rejoice”.  We lamented on the amount of work/stress involved with “doing the loop”, and how little down-time there actually is.  Maybe this is why loopers have docktails!  Rick and Deedy just started their loop 2 weeks ago and we invited them aboard Kara Mia for their FIRST “docktails”.

This would also be the first time we met Dick and Louise on board their Trawler-Cat “Nine Lives”.  Dan and Tammy on “Sea Change” (with their 3 dogs) were docked next to us.

    

Small white houses lined the streets of Beaufort.  We questioned if it was protocol that they all be white.  Each house along Front Street had a placard attached noting the year established, several were Pre-Revelutionary War dates.  And of course – no southern home is complete without rocking chairs on the front porch!

    

    

The next day we borrowed the marina’s courtesy vehicle (this one actually had A/C!) and went to the post office to mail packages to the kids (our monthly package of stuff we have collected along the way – candies, shells, books, etc).  They were happy when the mail person arrived.  Then we were on to Food Lion for provisions…..

    

Our last day in Beaufort brought high winds and rain.  It was a long, cold, damp day……

        

Around 5:00 pm the rain finally subsided and the sun began to peek out.  We joined Rick and Deedy in hopes of using our wooden nickels.  When we arrived at the docks we were all given wooden nickles that could be redeemed for free coffee or beer at The Dock House Restaurant.   Much to our dismay, because of the torrential downpour, they had shut down for the day.

Plan B – We had been told we could not leave Beaufort without seeing The Backstreet Pub.  The Backstreet Pub has been called the friendliest, funkiest little bar from Maine to Venezuela.  Housed in a century-old former bakery, it proved to be just that.  It is famous among sailors who course the ICW and who have covered the walls with nautical memorabilia.  The Backstreet is also a local hangout for fishermen and writers, waitresses and tugboat captains, retired spies, deep sea divers and just about anyone looking for a cold beer, a fine wine and some decent conversation.        

….back at the boat we began charting for our departure to Belhaven tomorrow…..

Beaufort, NORTH Carolina (Apr 21)

Ron woke me up before daylight saying, “can you be ready in 15 minutes?”….”getting ready” means coffee pot down so it won’t break, all cabinets and doors locked so contents don’t fall out while under way, glass wine glasses down so they don’t fall and break, all heater units off, all things powered by electricity shut down, power breaker on boat off, power breaker on dock off, reel cable to boat in, rearrange all lines for departure, all breakers on panel switched from A/C (electricity) to D/C (battery), antennas down (have a low bridge to get under), do an engine room check (Ron), call the bridge master to make sure he will really be opening “on the hour” (otherwise we stay put), lock all port windows (to keep the water on the outside of the boat, and not the inside), check the dock for left items (chairs, water hoses, extra fenders, bicycles), latch all sliding doors, Santa secured, lock refrigerator  and freezer doors (upstairs and downstairs), televisions strapped down –

        “OF COURSE I CAN BE READY IN 15 MINUTES!”

If we were not out in 15 minutes we would not make it to the first bridge for its hourly opening, which meant we would have to sit (hoover, float in place, anchor) until the next hourly opening.  We planned on traveling 7 hours today so it was important not to waste time.  This bridge will not open upon request as most others do and we had failed to plan for this the night before!

We said goodbye to our new friends and pulled out as the sun began to rise.

    

Traveling up Bogue Sound, we passed through the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune Firing Range.  Along the east bank is a 250 square mile United States military amphibious training area where we saw miles of warning signs – DANGER!  LIVE FIRE PRACTICE!  The fields were dotted with old cars, trucks and buses that the tanks and artillery guns use for target practice.

    

We saw several fawns playing at the water’s edge….

    

Karen hit bottom while captaining the boat today.  Oops……fortunately nothing too serious, just got a little outside of the channel into shallow water.  We must be “situationally aware” at all times!  Later in the day, crossing Bouge Sound, we came up on “RED MARKER 12” and we were grounded!  (Ron was captaining this time!)  We were in the channel – right between the red buoys and the green buoys, right where we were supposed to be – when THUD, we ran aground and lost the engines.  For a bit we deliberated about what to do but in reality there was nothing we could do.  We were sitting on a sand bar and not going anywhere.

    

Seatow to the rescue!  They rushed to our location, hooked us up, pulled us off the sand bar and we were on our way in no time at all!  We are very grateful for there could easily have been a lot of damage.  We were on our way and had a “Go” on both engines.

    

This was another lesson in why we should not to make schedules and plans……they can change in a split second.  The fact that we “had” to get out early this morning didn’t really matter in the end.

We arrived in the small town of Beaufort, NORTH Carolina (“Bo-fert” now, in contrast to Beaufort,  SOUTH Carolina, pronounced “Byou-fert” as in “beautiful”) and docked downtown at the Beaufort Docks.  We sat on the back of Kara Mia listening to music from the Dock House Restaurant and “people-watched” as the sun went down.

    

    

    

Carolina Beach to Topsail (Apr 20)

We had to shoot out of Joyner Marina at high speed to avoid the cross-current slamming us into the rock wall!  After maneuvering several sharp turns with boats on our bow and our stern, we made it out safely and our stress level dropped!

    

It would be a short 30 mile trip north to Topsail Beach and Harbour Village Marina (Hampstead, North Carolina) and the waters once again turned from a rusty brown to a beautiful aqua green.

    

After getting fuel and a pump-out, we settled into our slip alongside several other loopers and enjoyed visiting on the dock with Jim and Jo Ann and their dog Sammie,  on “Namaste”, Kathy and Tony on “Manatee”, and (not loopers) Brooke and Susan on “Liquid Therapy”…….it’s always interesting learning the meanings and stories behind so many boat names!

    

Myrtle Beach Yacht Club, NORTH Little River, SOUTH Carolina (Apr 18)

Today’s travels reflected a distinct change in vegetation, from the saw-grass lowlands to the cypress and pines bordering the waterway.

    

    

…we traveled from Georgetown to North Myrtle Beach……

    

…the homes were bigger (first pic – they built their own little private beach…..)

    

…and the golf courses along the waterway were numerous…..if you want to play golf, Myrtle Beach is the place to go….

    

As we entered Myrtle Beach the touristy factor kicked in…..these are like “go-carts” on water….

    

    

Not all houses along the waterway have class – this ain’t right!

We entered Coquina Harbor to our home for the night, Myrtle Beach Yacht Club….

    

We met loopers Peter and Amy (on Knot Grounded) and Dan (on Intuition) and  joined them at the Officer’s Club for dinner.  It was “Dollar Taco” night!

Georgetown (Apr 17)

We could not leave Charleston without at least seeing Fort Sumter.  This is where the Civil War began.  On our way we passed a number of interesting boats.  The first was a dredging machine that helps keep these waterways open, the second was a Casino boat that helps pay for it…..

Image result for images of fort sumter

    

    

After we had tied up at Harborwalk Marina in Georgetown four other looper boats arrived.  We know this because we watch for the AGLCA Looper Burgee flying on the bow of the boat.  Some of them we knew, some we had not yet met.  AGLCA Loopers are a community of like-minded boaters, so we always introduce ourselves (hence – “docktails”).

    

        

Image result for AGLCAburgee   Image result for AGLCAburgee

Georgetown is the third oldest city in South Carolina (following Charleston and Beaufort) and is a vibrant and gracious city of 9,000 that is well known for its warm hospitality and southern charm.

Rice is a major part of Georgetown’s history.  From the early settlement to the Civil War rice was a highly profitable crop.

    

    

After visiting the Rice Museum and strolling the Harborwalk, we found an eclectic little shop called “The Ship’s Booty” and did a little shopping.

    

We joined Mark and Laurie (fellow loopers on “Lady Bug”) for dinner at River Room Restaurant – HANDS DOWN – THE BEST SHRIMP AND GRITS I’VE EVER HAD!

    

Charleston, South Carolina (Apr 14-16)

Traveling on a Saturday is never a good thing on a boat.  Small runabouts and fishermen were everywhere.  For us that means slow down – for our wake can really rock and roll a smaller boat.  It would be a slow day on the water.

    

    

Ultimately we arrived in Charleston at the Harborage at Ashley Marina where we were greeted by AGLCA Harbor Host,  Michael.  His boat name is “The Perch”.  Want to guess why?  Her name is “Margo”.

    

    

We started Sunday out with brunch at Fleet Landing, watching sailboats and having a leisurely breakfast.  Fleet Landing is a popular waterfront restaurant with quite a colorful decor.  The building that houses the restaurant was constructed by the Navy in 1942 as a place to off-load sailors and for the re-supplying of ships.  We are sure Ron’s father once processed through here!

        

The college kids on the dock doubled as our tour guides for Charleston.  They shared more than we could have learned on our own about the numerous landmarks, homes, churches, parks, their University, and historic buildings.  Charleston’s appeal has been described as a “living museum.”

    

    

    

    

Afterwards we stopped at The Noisy Oyster – naturally for oysters.

    

    

That afternoon we hunkered down for storms moving up the eastern seaboard.  We, as well as our dock neighbors, hustled to secure extra lines preparing for 30-40 mph winds.  We were anxious, but trusted that we would be safe.  There is still something peaceful about being on a boat in a storm, we don’t take it lightly, but we enjoy it……

    

We survived a long night of rocking and rolling and took advantage of a rainy morning.  Ron got caught up on his laundry while Karen defrosted the fridge and made a batch of deviled eggs.  A word of advice – don’t make deviled eggs on a boat!

    

After the weather cleared we walked to Charleston City Marina, adjacent to our marina.  A must stop for loopers is to eat at the their “Marina Variety Store”.  We had burgers and fries….and chowder and biscuits with a bit of local flavor…..

    

    

….it was a short walk back to the boat where we prepared for departure Tuesday morning…..predictions are for 2 foot swells tomorrow.  We will have coffee and 6 and decide when to leave…….

It’s not all about where we are, it’s also about what we are doing…..

Beaufort, South Carolina (Apr 13)

Sunrise in Georgia to sunset in South Carolina……

    

Had planned to stay at Hilton Head but due to the PGA Heritage Golf Tournament there was no room for us.  As we passed by Hilton Head, we caught a glimpse of two CBS Sports yachts.

    

    

As we moved up the Beaufort River, we were alerted to Paris Island Marine training grounds on our port.

Beaufort has been around since the Revolutionary War and has remained true to its southern heritage.  The homes of Beaufort rival any found in Savannah or Charleston.

    

This is the home where they filmed the movie “The Big Chill”….

We strolled through the small shops and galleries of the historic district and did a little “candy” shopping for the grand-kids.  Later we had bar-b-q ribs and live music at “The Q”.

……a leisurely walk back to the boat enjoying the surroundings of The Downtown Marina of Beaufort……

    

    

Savannah, Georgia, and Happy Anniversary (Apr 12)

A much warmer and pleasant day on our way to Savannah and The Isle of Hope Marina.

    

We arrived at low tide (first pic) where you can’t see the top of the docking pilings.  Later that afternoon we took a comparison to reflect the eight foot tide exchange.

    

We borrowed the marina’s clunker (courtesy van with no A/C) to tour the  historical Savannah riverfront and cotton exchange.  There we found a quaint little bar called “Tubby’s” where we celebrated our wedding anniversary and dined on fried green tomatoes.  Ron spared no expense on flowers for Karen’s anniversary!

    

    

While sitting on the balcony overlooking the river, we were shocked at the size of a cargo ship in the channel.  And then a riverboat came by in the opposite direction!  Savannah is a true working port.

    

The homes around Savannah were much of what one would expect – beautiful – big – and old…….the Spanish moss and picket fences framed them well.

        

    

Later that evening we enjoyed a walk around the marina and docktails on the cockpit.

    

It seems the focus on sea-life has changed here – from manatees to North Atlantic Right Wales……

……tomorrow we are on to Beaufort, South Carolina……

Sunbury Crab Co. Restaurant & Marina, Midway, GA (Apr 11-12)

What a difference a day makes……after several days of gloomy weather, we awoke to a nice sunny morning in Jekyll.  A great day to travel!

    

Once again we see The American Star in our path and laugh.  As she travels the east coast up and down, we seem to cross her path daily, waving to all on their balconies – taking pictures as they take ours.  You and your mate can take a two week cruise on her for a mere $20,000.  We weren’t “that” impressed – you can come travel with us for much less!

Here we reinforce our earlier comments about navigational alerts.  Shoaling is an ongoing issue, particularly at “Hell Gate”.  We were warned – and it lived up to its reputation.  We moved only at “no wake” speed and backed off each time the depth sounder alarmed.  The following pictures represent what happens if you ignore the warnings and get off coarse.  Yes, he is listing because he has run aground!  It will be two hours before the tide puts enough water under him to proceed.

    

The Sunbury Crab Company & Marina is seven miles off the ICW and they provide detailed instructions for heading up the Medway River.

    

    

    

Our Waterway Guide called The Sunbury Crab Company Restaurant “the funkiest on the loop“, and boy were they right.  Elaine’s family had owned it for years and they took pride in their food and its presentation.

        

    

We awoke early to glassy water, clear skies and an ever-changing sunrise.

    

    

   

……..today’s travels will take us to Savannah, Georgia…….