Well it has been another eventful week. I continued northeast along the South Carolina coast. I was able to dock for a day for free at Beaufort while I biked to the grocery store and stocked up on food. Many small towns have a free dock by a municipal park which is very convenient for me. Here’s the Beaufort dock.
Beaufort is an historical city, founded in 1711. It has maintained its antebellum architecture and small town atmosphere. Some scenes of Forrest Gump were filmed there, specifically, when Forrest started on his series of cross country runs.
The down side of the town, though is that a Marine Corps Air Station is located a few miles away so when I was there, dozens of jets screamed by all day. The sound was incredibly loud. At my anchorage later that evening they were still flying by until 10 pm. How can people live there?
Parts of the ICW are very shallow in this section so I had to carefully time my runs through these areas. I check the tide tables and plan my travel so I pass through at high tide. Even then I saw depths as low at 8 feet. With a four foot tide, that’s only 4 feet at low tide. My draft is 5 feet so that would have been a problem for me. Sailing like that is a bit nerve wracking. I have to stay at the helm and constantly watch the depth sounder to make sure I don’t run aground.
Near Charleston boat traffic got ridiculous. Hundreds of boats zooming all around. I was going to stop in Charleston but decided it was too much trouble. It was a weekend so I guess it is normal.
A couple issues this past week. First, I had just anchored outside of Georgetown, SC when a storm blew through. It swung the boat around and somehow my anchor line got wrapped around my keel, so I was stuck. I could not raise the anchor. I finally attached a second anchor to the line to drag it down and put the motor in reverse. Somehow the line slipped off the keel. Another crisis averted.
Then I was in a wide section of the Coosaw river and decided to put my sails out. But I forgot about my bike which is strapped to the port side of the deck. When I let out the jib sheet it got caught on the bike and got stuck. So the sail was violently flapping around, lifting my bike off the deck and almost dragging it overboard. It was chaos for a couple minutes until I was able to free the bike and get it out of the way. Lesson learned.
Then I was motoring one day and suddenly there was a loud whining sound and vibration coming from the engine. I throttled back and investigated. The shaft was vibrating like crazy. I finally realized I must have gotten a fishing net or something wrapped around my propeller. I slowly continued and the sound went away so I thought the prop was free, But I kept hearing whining noises from time to time so I figured I better get it checked out. I pulled into Barefoot Marina and hired a diver to go down and check it out. There was nothing around the propeller but when I started the engine he said it was vibrating too much and found a motor mount that was misaligned. I was not able to get a mechanic to come out so as I write this the problem has not been solved. But I need to continue onward. I did raise the idle speed and tightened some mounting bolts so I hope that fixes it.
Meanwhile, as I was approaching Myrtle Beach, I got stuck in a massive thunderstorm. Sheets of rain came down so hard I could barely see. Just then I got a call on my radio. There was a huge barge coming straight toward me The captain of the tug saw me on AIS and said we would meet at a bad place in the channel. He asked if I could pull over and let him go by. This was a bit disconcerting because I could not see the guy. Finally as I pulled over he came into view. Thank God for the AIS.
Sailing in the rain is not much fun. Here’s the day I met the barge.
Another clip from a rainy day.
When biking, I would frequently just get a hotel on a real rainy day. But now, I can still sail, albeit not very comfortably. A hotel is not an option. But if I am anchored and it is pouring rain I’ll just stay put until it clears up.
There are a lot of bridges across the ICW. Many are fixed bridges at 65 feet. But others are lift, bascule or swing. My mast height is about 53 feet, so when approaching a fixed 65 foot bridge I was pretty confident I would make it underneath just fine, but it looks close and I was still nervous about it for the first few times.
Moving on, I finally had to give my self a haircut, after about 3 months. It was getting too much. Actually it was easier than I thought. What do you think?
The ICW continued though the Waccamaw river for a couple days. This is a super nice area. Cypress tress grow right up the the river edge. Here’s nice anchorage I stayed at one night.
A nice sunset one day. I wash clothes with river water and hang them to dry. No electricity needed!
Lots of houses have these long docks so people can walk from their houses to their boats.
Dad and son fishing.
That’s it for now. I will attempt to make my first ocean trip tomorrow when I sail from Little River inlet in South Carolina to Cape Fear in North Carolina, a 41 mile passage which will take about nine hours. The weather and seas look favorable, but I will still say a prayer tonight.
Here is my current position just on the border between North and South Carolina.