In this second part of my Adventures of Avalon blog, we leave the marina and begin our trek down the East Coast.
Thursday, April 11, 2013
We left at about 7 a.m. this morning with the sunrise behind us, navigated through some early fog and had mostly clear skies all the way down to our Day 1 anchorage spot, Minim Creek, about 60 miles down the Intracoastal Waterway from Barefoot Marina. So, we’re finally underway.
Minim Creek is a very secluded area with the only sign of civilization being the flashing red marker on the ICW about a half mile away. The creek is the ideal spot to drop anchor off the waterway. The area we’re in is protected from the winds by trees on both sides, and the depth is about ten feet. While we were looking for just the right spot to end our day, a pod of dolphins swam around our boat. One actually came right next to the bow as we were getting ready to drop anchor. While en route to our destination, about 20 miles from Barefoot Marina, we saw two swans swim right by the boat and then come together to touch beaks, their necks and beaks thereby forming the shape of a heart. It was a sight for our weary eyes as we were just starting to really wake up.
The wind was at between 15 to 20 knots for most of the way, but around Georgetown, SC the ocean's current increased our speed by about 2 knots, bringing us up to 10 at times when we only set the throttle at 8 knots. So we cruised about 60 miles in approximately 7 hours, arriving at Minim Creek at 2 p.m. It’s been a long day and we’re running on generator power, so I have to log off now.
Keep following our travels. We feel as if you’re cruising with us.
Tomorrow's destination is Charleston, about 50 miles away. The distance is shorter than today's but the weather is expected to be a bit stormy tomorrow, so that will probably slow us down a bit.
Images from Day 1
Friday, April 12, 2013
A thunderstorm passed through last night and the sky was overcast most of the day, with winds gusting up to 30 knots. The weather made us hesitate leaving Minim Creek, but we took the risk and headed for Charleston at about 11 a.m. When we left we had the whole waterway to ourselves for miles, that is if you don’t count the pelicans and cormorants flying around our boat, and the dolphins swimming all around us. There were dolphins everywhere today due to our closer vicinity to ocean inlets. We saw at least a dozen on the waterway, and never got tired of seeing them.
With perpetual high winds we passed the small fishing village of McClelanville, another small seaside village called Andersonville and the Isle of Palms, a resort island between the waterway and the ocean.
Towards the end of the day we arrived at Charleston Harbor. Even though it seemed easy to navigate on the charts we studied, it actually wound up being the most difficult part of the trip so far. The vastness of the harbor is immediately misleading, because there are sandbars to the right as soon as you enter from the north. Also, the ICW markers on the harbor are few and far between, and they're mixed in with quite a few other markers indicating a route out to the ocean. The current and high winds from the ocean also add to this obstacle course to Charleston. Barges coming in and out of the international port just add to the challenge. One did in fact pass right in front of us as we crossed the harbor.
We got to our destination, Charleston City Marina, at a reasonable time, about 6:30 p.m. The marina has everything we need, so although we may not have the remote quietness we had last night, we are enjoying many more conveniences, like shore power and bathroom facilities. If you want to know how the rich live, just take a stroll down the mega dock of this marina, where all kinds of mega yachts are docked. The pleasure boats make 46-foot Avalon look like a humble dinghy. Dolphins seem to like it here too. In fact I just saw another inside the marina.
I've always heard that Charleston, SC is among the most beautiful cities in the country. The so called "Holy City" with church steeples dominating its skyline seemed to call out from across the harbor as soon as our naked eyes could see it through the grey sky. We will have a pleasant short stay here tomorrow and will leave for Beufort/Port Royal late tomorrow morning.
Saturday, April 13, 2013
The route today was filled with southern plantation homes and docks along the waterway and wide open rivers, as well as some narrow creeks and man made cutoffs. We're now anchored at Upper Rock Creek, about 45 miles down the ICW from Charleston. Like Minim Creek, it's a very remote spot with nothing but marsh all around us. The view of the night sky is majestic, and could even compare to the northern lights they said appeared over New Jersey this evening.
The water around us is between nine to 12 feet, and the marshy shore is about 100 feet away on either side. We were going to go up the creek to deeper water, but the low tide revealed a sandbar that was too large to risk navigating past. After settling in, another dolphin passed right by our boat, and later a small boat with about five people on it passed from up the creek. That seems to be a common sight around here, as are the dolphins.
Being in the middle of nowhere doesn't mean we can't have modern conveniences though. For dinner Captain Ken cooked up pasta with meat sauce, and we watched Raiders of the Lost Arc with power from the generator. We have the peace and quiet of camping with the creature comforts of our own home.
Tomorrow we will cruise past Beufort and Port Royal