Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Under way

We are anchored just west of the city dock in Beaufort, South Carolina.  This is a well-established and well-used anchorage, so much so that it has been almost completely taken over with private mooring balls.  We had to pick our way through to find enough swing room for our chain in 20' of water.  It feels good to finally be under way.

We shoved off from our berth in Shelter Cove yesterday at 10:30, on a flood tide, after exactly one month in that spot.  That's a late start by cruising standards, but we needed enough water to cross the sand bar at the "short cut" between Broad Creek and the ICW in Calibogue sound.  The short cut is uncharted and unmarked, so we proceeded armed with good local information from the marina staff, our training captain, and the experience of our new friends Rod and Pauline who did the same route a week ago.  We also lucked out and a tour boat passed us just upstream of the cut, and we were able to follow him out into the sound.

We had a very nice cruise north, crossing into new territory for us at Port Royal Sound.  We had gotten as far as the middle of the sound on our training cruise in February.  We stopped at Port Royal Landing marina to use their pumpout, and were here with the anchor set by around 3:30 or so.  After waiting a half hour or so to be sure we had a good set, we put the dinghy in the water.

Our friend Mike from Savannah, who works in Beaufort, met us at the city dock at 6pm and showed us around the town.  We had a nice dinner at Luther's waterfront restauarant, and were back at the dinghy just after dusk, so we had to pull out the little flashlight with the red and green lens that passes for nav lights.  The tender battery, having sat for a month with no action, was too weak to start the engine, so I had been pull-starting it, and I managed to slip on this final pull and landed backwards on the forward lifting pad-eye.  It missed my tail bone by millimeters, and, instead, I have a huge bruise now just below the belt on the left side.  I'll be putting the battery charger on the tender before our next outing.

We spent our final week on Hilton Head wrapping up projects.  One of those was to replace the nice club chairs and ottoman in the saloon, which were quite comfy for lounging, but not for working on laptops for hours.  We rented a pickup truck at Enterprise and drove to Savannah, where I was able to get a deal on a pair of nice Stressless chairs. They are quite comfortable for both lounging and typing, recline, and have individual ottomans, but even at a discount and taking floor models, they take the cake for the most expensive furniture I have ever owned, edging out the Flexsteel captain's chairs on Odyssey (which, incidentally, are even more comfortable).  I'd estimate we each spent nearly 10,000 hours in those Flexsteel chairs and they were still great; I'm hoping we get similar life out of these.  The Stressless chairs take up less room in the saloon, too, so we have a bit more elbow room.

We sold the club chairs on Craigslist, and clearly we did not ask enough, because we had four buyers within a day.  Still, it was better to get them off the boat quickly than to risk still having them aboard by departure time.  I sold the old television via the same venue, and it was gone the same day I listed it.  One of the things we bought in Savannah while we had the truck was a 19" Proscan model, just $99 at H.H. Gregg.  This is really going to become our navigation display once I get PC-based navigation fully working in the pilothouse, but having it now means I can finally watch a little TV on the occasional evening, as it has a headphone jack. It will move up front once I find a suitable large-screen model for the saloon.

Having had such great success with the chairs and TV on Craiglist in Hilton Head, I again submitted a listing for the aft-deck freezer, but I got no nibbles.  I've had one inquiry, though, from my listing for it in Charleston, our next stop.  Now that the weather is turning nice and we are sitting on the deck occasionally, it's really in the way.

Our final evening in town, Captain Gary met us across the street at Santa Fe Cafe (we had already loaded the scooters, but this was a short walk) and treated us to a nice dinner.
He gave us some good advice on the local waters, including detailed directions for the short cut, and we enjoyed catching up with him.

I ticked quite a few projects off the list, including getting the table installed in the pilothouse, re-wiring the NMEA-0183 navigation electronics junctions, updating the chartplotter software, and programming a used chartplotter I picked up to network with the exiting unit in the pilothouse, so I can have one on the flybridge. We also managed to get out to another couple of restaurants on the island.  All in all, a very nice and productive stay.

In a few minutes we will get back under way, pass the Lady's Island Swing Bridge, and continue north on the ICW.  We are timing the tide for high water at the skinny cuts we will need to traverse between here and Charleston.  Tonight we should be anchored somewhere around mile marker 500, with doubtful Internet access.


  1. If your dingy motor has electric start it should have a alternator.

    I would have thought it would have charged back up after you hand started it.

    Bill Kelleher

    1. It was only a three minute ride from the boat to the town dock. Not long enough to charge the battery for a start.

  2. It must feel good to finally get underway after all the prep work you have been doing. You wore us out just reading about it all. Now we can take a nap!! Steve

  3. That interior is charming to say the least :) Love the pictures, wish you had more to share!

    Started following your site, follow my Coachella travel blog soon :)


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