Cruisin' The Loop Aboard Kibon
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Tuesday, November 25, 2003
Remember the shrimp boats from last night?  We thought it was picturesque when six or seven passed by us on their way in for the night.  A few more came in after sunset.  But were we surprised when we were awakened at 5 am by wake after wake after wake.  A few of the boats flashed their spotlights at our boat which was anchored in a side creek off the main channel to the ocean.  Kay got up and flipped on the outside lights to illuminate our sides and stern (not the navigation lights).  Since it was still dark we could see all the boats as they paraded from McClellanville out toward the ocean.  We lost count at 15 or 17, and then three more came by 10 minutes later.  We went back to sleep for two hours, and as we were having breakfast at 8 am, three boats came in.  We still don't understand the schedule.  When we were in Oriental we were told that the boats go out on Sunday night or Monday morning and do not return until Friday.  Maybe because there is limited docking at McClellanville the boats alternate their fishing and docking schedules so there is always room and always fresh shrimp.

The cruising guides suggest that slower boats go with the tide, but if we waited for all those tides we would be even more behind.  As we approached Charleston, the outgoing tide was going with us, but once we crossed Charleston Bay we were going up the Ashley River against the tide.  We came into the dock at Ashley Marina with a very swift current heading outbound.  Our landing was safe, and we went ashore to investigate Charleston.

We took the complimentary marina van to the Visitors' Center where we were just in time to watch the movie about Charleston which gave the history and highlights of the city.  We then started to walk from the upper section down toward the original walled city.  We passed from side to side of each street and crosswise from street to street as we gazed at the diverse buildings.  Parts of Charleston were destroyed many times by wars, an earthquake, a fire, and several hurricanes.  Each time the beautiful buildings were rebuilt.  The original town was laid out on wide thoroughfares that have allowed modern traffic to pass through without necessitating encroachment upon the venerable houses.  Charleston is noted for its single wide houses.  Since the homeowner was taxed on the property fronting on the street, the houses were built with narrow frontages and very, very deep lengths.  The front doors opened upon the long porches that ran the length of the homes and opened to ceiling high windows to allow the southwest breezes to cool the houses.  The original city centered upon the wharfs, and while most of the wharfs are gone many of the original buildings remain.  

Sunset came while we were only half way down to the Battery, so we called the van and returned to Kibon for dinner and a time to relax our legs and feet.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003
After a breakfast of scrapple and eggs we headed back to Charleston.  This time we started above the Market, which is the original place where merchants plied their wares.  Things have not changed much.  We walked over to the Waterfront Park and walked along the area where the original wharfs were.  Most of the trade buildings have been renovated or rebuilt into private homes that look out upon Cooper River, one of the two rivers that define Charleston.  We walked all the way down to the Battery, which is where the Union bombarded Fort Sumter.  Many of the houses that line both the Cooper and Ashley Rivers date from Revolutionary and Antebellum years.  When we hopped onto the bus to return to the center of town and rest our legs, someone asked the driver what these houses sold for.  His answer was much like J. P Morgan's  when asked what his yacht cost.  "If you have to ask the price, you can't afford the ship."  The houses on the water are probably pricey, but we found some ads for "water view" homes that were under $400,000.  Compared to houses in New York, these are very affordable!

We walked around the center of the old city, looking at the many churches and listening to the bells that ring the quarter hour.  When you consider all the reasons why the natives could have thrown up their hands and rebuild in the current style, it is amazing to see the perseverance of each generation that was committed to maintain the glory of each century of the city.  We returned to the grocery store (Harris Teeter), bought some fresh produce, called the marina van, and returned to Kibon for the night.

Thursday, November 27, 2003
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.  While we have our sadness to deal with, there are still many people and things for which we give thanks.  

We were up in time to follow the sailboats and other early risers into the ICW and head south.  The day is beautiful, the sun is shining, and we were warm enough to travel in short sleeves and shorts.  There were not too many boats on the water, but we did see some people out on the docks enjoying the day.  Kay spent the morning making a sweet potato pie and fresh cranberry sauce.  Once we stopped later in the afternoon in Mosquito Creek, she put the turkey breast and stuffing into the oven while she and Pearce went for a walk.  Although it is late in the season, they found the mosquitoes are still hunting for warm flesh, so they returned to the boat to watch the late afternoon football games.

Conversations with local boaters who had been out fishing and hunting concluded the afternoon.  We enjoyed a very different Thanksgiving meal in a beautiful spot.  God Bless Everyone. 

Friday, November 28, 2003
We had a lovely rest last night.  We had tied up at the B & B Seafood dock yesterday.  No one was in the store yesterday, but today Bob was ready to take our $20 docking fee, to tell Pearce how to fish for South Carolina fish, and to sell him some large shrimp at $5.25 a pound for bait (or dinner in case the advice doesn't work).  Pearce tied on one of the new sinkers and a hook baited with a piece of a shrimp, and voila, he caught a fish!  Since it was time to get underway and not time to fish for dinner, he tossed the fish back.  We crossed St. Helena Sound and the Coosaw River on an outgoing tide.  The wind was beginning to pick up, and by the time we got to Beaufort the wind and the current had raised quite a chop.  We had planned to tie up at the free dock to do some sightseeing and have lunch.  As Pearce was approaching for a port-side tie up, Kay took one look at the bouncing and tossing dock that she would have to lasso with the line and wondered if she would ever hook the cleat.  Then she looked again at the dock rocking at 45 degree angles and decided that there was no way she was going to try to walk on it.  So we headed back out to the Beaufort River.  

Pearce had been listening to the weather forecasts which were issuing small craft warnings for the South Carolina/Georgia coastline.  Since we would be heading into the wind up Port Royal Sound on an outgoing tide, he decided it might be prudent to find an anchorage in a quieter cove.  There were already white caps off of Parris Island as we headed for the turn up the Cowen Creek.  About a mile and a half from the turn, Pearce spotted an empty dock on the starboard side.  The house in the woods was still under construction, and there was no sign of activity.  We decided to find a safe port in a storm and secured Kibon to the float.  The tide was going in one direction and the wind in the other, so we spent the next several hours bouncing around in seas of 1 to 2 feet with white caps, no less.  The storm came through and pelted us with rain.  It has passed now, the wind is abating, and Kibon is just rocking. 

Next: Hello, Georgia!