Friday, March 24, 2023

Gone to Carolina

We are under way northbound in the ICW, approaching Beaufort, South Carolina as I begin typing. We are still pressing to make our April 30 deadline in NY, and we should be in Charleston in a couple of days. Weather offshore continues to be unfavorable, and we've now been on the ICW for over 300 nautical miles.

Ultra-Large Container Ship Cosco Hope coming upriver as we were making ready to depart Savannah.

Monday afternoon we ended our day in a familiar spot, dropping the hook in Cane Patch Creek (map), just off the ICW near the Florida Passage. That put us just a day from Savannah, and I turned my attention to where we might stop for provisions and a hardware store, which I needed on account of the pesky water heater.

My first inclination was to head for Turner Creek, where we could anchor and get ashore at our old friend Hogan's Marina. Long-time readers may remember this is where we moved aboard a decade ago, and it's a short walk to two grocery stores, several restaurants, and an excellent hardware store from there. Unfortunately, there is a hump at the entrance to the creek, necessitating some tidal help to get in, and we'd be arriving at a below-zero tide.

Approaching downtown and the Rousakis Plaza dock. Talmadge Bridge at right.

We could anchor a couple of miles away and either make it a long tender ride or else come into the creek in the morning, but either way we'd be there for two nights. At some point it occurred to us we could just go upriver to downtown, where there is a free dock with power. From there I could go to the hardware and grocery stores on the e-bike.

The low tide arrival meant an extra four miles to downtown versus the most direct route, but we were tied up before 5pm at the Rousakis Riverfront Docks (map), in the exact same spot where we were tied up for Thanksgiving just four months ago. The parking office answered the phone this time, and we checked in for our two free nights.

Signs on the dock are unchanged from our first visit a decade ago, but now the limit is two nights and there is no charge.

One of the nice things about having now spent well over two weeks on this dock is that we don't feel the need to find the best local restaurants or go very far afield, and we just walked down to Graffito at the Plant Riverside District for pizza. Decent wood-fired pizza and cold beer on draft was a welcome change after several nights cooped up on the boat.

In the morning we walked across the street to Huey's for brunch, in a play-for-play repeat of our visit four months ago. Afterward I saddled up the e-bike and made the four-mile trek out to Home Depot and Kroger. With proper parts in hand I was able to quickly purge the air from the water heater, which is now working normally, and we walked over to Moon River Brewing for dinner. They brew a nice porter there, appropriately named The Captain's Porter.

Last night's sunset from our anchorage on Hilton Head Island.

Late yesterday morning we left with the tide, after trundling a giant box of quilts over to the UPS store in our little wagon. That gave us a good push down the river and cleared us over the shoals at Fields Cut and Ramshorn Creek with plenty of depth. We pushed against the ebb all the way up Calibogue Sound and dropped the hook in Skull Creek (map), at a new-to-us spot. We once again tendered over to Hudson's for dinner, where we had a 45-minute wait to be seated.

If we remain trapped on the ICW, we have another 530 statute (460 nautical) miles to Norfolk, which is 10-12 days under way for us. That will still leave us plenty of time to make our date NY, even if we have to go the C&D route.

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