Cruisin' The Loop Aboard Kibon
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Tuesday, May 25, 2004... Seems like a good time to start a new page. We are in Beaufort, South Carolina, this evening... (it's pronounced B-yew-fort, as in  beautiful, which is different from Bow-fort, as in bow-tie, which is in North Carolina). We left Landings Marina (Skidaway Island, Savannah) at seven this morning. We had gone there Monday so Steve (a master outboard mechanic) could fix what the Mercury new-motor-assemblers didn't... which he did superbly; and Dean, the marina manager, graciously invited us to stay over, which made it very easy for Ann & Jerry to join us for dinner aboard as the marina is only minutes from their house... and Ann happens to be on the Board and oversees Marina operations. 

Pearce had looked at the weather reports and decided that if we left early before the wind came up, we could go down Wassaw Sound to the ocean and then turn north to Calibogue Sound just south of Hilton Head or even to the next one, Port Royal Sound.  He convinced Kay that the seas would be "just rolling a bit like the ocean does."  So we headed the 5 miles out of the Sound toward the sea buoy.  When we started taking some waves over the bow, she closed the windows and battened down the movables.  Pearce said that when we turned north the southeast wind would be behind us, but Kay looked at the waves and knew they would be hitting us broadside.  We got to the sea marker, Pearce turned north, and then promptly u-turned again to head back up Wassaw Sound to the ICW.  He decided that since the wind had come up much stronger it would be prudent to follow a quieter course.  We passed the Landings Marina almost two hours after we had left it.

Our trip east of Savannah, past Daufuskie Island -- huge mansions on an island that is accessible only by boat -- past Hilton Head, and across Port Royal Sound (the crossing that had been so fearful last November).  Today there were no storms in sight, the tide was almost at high, and the wind was from the southeast.  We came up the Beaufort River and tied up at the free, short stay dock.  The bicycles were unloaded, and we headed into town.  The main street is filled with buildings that date through the last century.  There are a few tabby built that survived the fire in the early 1900s.  Beaufort was occupied by the Union forces during the Civil War.  Most of the plantation owners and business men fled the town when the Union force landed at Port Royal Sound.  Few returned, but freed slaves and northern carpetbaggers bought the abandoned plantations and town homes.  Most of these homes have been restored now, and some of them are available for tours.

Beaufort has many art galleries, and we tried to see many of them.  We found an artist or two that we really enjoyed, but since we have few walls, we couldn't indulge ourselves.  We rode around part of the historic district and decided that we should have opted for the horse-drawn carriage ride around the district.  It was very hot, and we were fading fast, so we headed back to the waterfront and Kibon.  We cast off of the short stay dock and found a nice spot in the anchorage a few hundred yards to the south.

Wednesday, May 26... By seven am the anchorage was emptying out so we left. Several boats gone already and several following us. We finally passed the sailboat that was anchored next to us at least 50-miles further up the ICW -- wonder what time they left?! Nothing much exciting today... just "ditch crawling." We crossed one big river, The Coosaw, and several other little ones that all run eventually down to the ocean. There's a lot of "Low Country" here in South Carolina that fills and drains with each tide.

Tonight we're anchored behind a tiny island at a wide spot in the ICW called The Wappoo Creek a few miles below Charleston, SC. Pearce thought it was a little early to stop, but the next anchorage is about 15-miles further on across Charleston harbor. We "did" Charleston in the fall and want to skip on, so anchored we are and plan to hit Georgetown tomorrow. We sat on the back deck in the shade and watched some kids swim and frolic. Their motor conked out (a Mercury, of course) so they tied off to us, borrowed a screwdriver and got it going again. Later Kay read, Pearce napped and Mr. Patch climbed out on the table and took a bath. Our Highlights of the day. It's hot!

Thursday, May 27...Out early to cross Charleston Harbor before many boats are about.  There was a tug heading out to sea, and there were several small boat fishermen out looking for dinner.  Fort Sumpter still stood guard over the entrance holding its revered place in our nation's history. We stopped at Isle of Palms Marina to get diesel.  It was $1.49 a gallon less 5% for over 100 gallons.  Our last fill-up was at Hillsboro Inlet in Florida, so we put 350 gallons in our tanks.  We also filled up on water.  The trip today was uneventful.  We had many pods of dolphins schmooze along with us.  We drifted along past many miles of marshes, watching birds diving and landing.  We did pass an osprey's nest that had young ones -- we think one of the early ones.   The rest of the mothers are still sitting and looking grouchy -- like "don't even get close to me."

We came into Georgetown, another of the towns established during the early years of this country.  It is the third oldest city in South Carolina, founded in 1730.  As with many of the towns in the Southern colonies, it prospered because of rice, indigo, and lumber.  The Civil War and several hurricanes destroyed the economy, but the present town has re-developed the downtown, encouraging restaurants, art galleries, and commercial establishments to fill the "old" stores.  There is a riverwalk, a boardwalk that extends along the waterfront that gives access to all the businesses that also open to Front Street.  Since we arrived during the hot part of the afternoon, we stayed to the west (and shady) side of the street.  Many of the older homes are a block or two away, stretching along 6 or 7 blocks toward the highway.  Kay needed to go to the grocery store, so she rode her bicycle along Highmarket Street to the Piggley-Wiggley, just a few blocks out of town.  She also visited the Seafood Market to get grouper for tonight and oysters for another night.  There were so many things to choose from -- scallops, shrimp, crab, and many kinds of ocean fish. 
Friday, May 28...The skipper decided to sleep late.  He said he thought we were doing more sightseeing this morning.  The navigator wanted to make tracks toward Barefoot Landing in Myrtle Beach.  We filled up the water tanks -- they took more than we expected.  Pearce checked for leaks or drips, but I guess we've been a little too generous with wash water.  We headed out of Georgetown and up the Waccamaw River.  We could have waited a few hours more and gone up the river with the tide instead of bucking the outgoing tide.  We barely made 6 knots most of the way.  We passed 4 tows, 3 of them on the wide part of the river, and one of them right after we cleared a swing bridge.  Pearce pulled alongside the docks and slowed down, but the tow-boat captain said, "You can come on close to me.  You can't hurt me a bit!"  The breeze was very intermittent today, and it was hot everywhere except right in front of the fan.  Pearce and Kay vied for the captain's seat where the fan was aimed.  Nothing much has changed along the Grand Strand of Myrtle Beach.  They're still building homes along the golf courses, but it seems as if the huge palaces are fewer and the stacked condos are more in favor.

We were happy to tie up at Barefoot Landing.  There's no water or electricity, but the dock is free and nicely maintained, and it's next to shops and restaurants.  We gratefully went into a cool bar where we enjoyed happy hour.  Then Pearce went back to Kibon to set up the TV and relax while Kay went shopping.  She bought a tank top with a cat's face on it.  We cooked hamburgers on the grill and settled down for the night.

Saturday, May 29...We had quite a thunderstorm last night that passed right over us.  We were surrounded by sailboats and a party boat, but we all weathered the storm.  It gave the topsides and the decks quite a washing, and it cooled off a bit.  We set out at 9 o'clock and traveled along the narrow part of the waterway called the Rock Pile.  Usually we come through at high tide, but this time we could really see the ledges that line the ICW.  We estimated about 2 hours to travel the 15 miles to the pontoon bridge.  It can't open at low tide which was about 9 am, and it only opens on the hour.  Conversation between boaters and bridge tender started about 10:30 with the tender thinking he won't make the 11 o'clock opening.  He was speculating about noon, when he looked again at the incoming tide.  He opened not much past 11 o'clock, and 15 boats went through.  One of them was the Coast Guard buoy boat that was on his way back to St. Petersburg, Florida.

You can tell this is a weekend.  We're surrounded by people out having fun.  The tide is still coming up, and there are people out clamming, the kids are bobbing around on their floats, and the boats are lining the banks.  There are people fishing from their docks, and those who don't have docks are sitting in their lawn chairs knee (or bottom) deep in the water.  We cruised on up to Lockwood's Folly, the Inlet and area where there is no more dredging.  According to the Federal Government, there is no more money in the budget for the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway.  Although this year's budget does not run out until October, no one is spending money to fix the current problems.  It's a pain for the pleasure boats that have to time their trips to go through at high tide when the passage is 8 to 9 feet deep, but the commercial shrimpers have to cope with the conditions.  Uncle Sam (or Uncle George) obviously does not care about the commercial fishermen.  Maybe they don't pay enough money into the re-election coffers.  We've written letters to our congressmen about the problem, as have thousands (hopefully millions) of other boaters.

We zoomed up the Cape Fear River at more than 10 knots.  See, it does pay to check the tides and go with them!  We ducked down into Carolina Beach, which is 10 miles south of Wilmington Beach, and we have anchored in the nice harbor.  There was one sailboat here when we arrived.  Five more have come in, including two that were with us in Myrtle Beach.  This is a nice protected harbor surrounded by homes and condominiums.  
We've about run out of room on this page... so move on to "More Carolinas... it's a big state"  --or--  Return To Home Page