Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Charleston Maritime Center - Last day

Always an attraction in Charleston
After using the free laundry, our goal was to do all the things we like to do in Charleston. The marina is within 10 minutes of the downtown area. It's the main attraction of the marina location. it's unfortunate that they have all the construction but today it was no problem. They only pounded away for less than an hour all day and they stop by 5:00 pm anyway. 

Ann gets her Chico's fix at the best Chico's store anywhere on the east coast. Meanwhile, I visited the Apple store but didn't see anything more I needed. I had just bought the iPhone 11 but I was up to date anyway. 

We always eat at Hyman's
The last stop was at Hyman's restaurant which is actually more of an institution in Charleston. They've been around since the late 1800s and there's a reason they have been so successful. Do all the tourists go there? Sure. But the food is good regardless. Where else does the owner personally greet every patron at their table? If you're not satisfied, you can tell the boss yourself! We had the shrimp and grits, of course, preceded by an appetizer of fried green tomatoes - a southern staple. Of course, they also served boiled peanuts, done right - not over cooked and soggy like some places. Topping that off with hush puppies made a great meal. We just had the appetizers portions, the full dinners were way too much!

On Wednesday, we're off to B&B Seafood and hopefully, some fresh shrimp. Then it's on to Windmill Harbor the next day. We are heading south!

Monday, October 21, 2019

Charleston - at the Maritime Center

An early morning start!
We left just as the eastern sky showed light but before the sun came up, it was 7:00 pm at Georgetown. We were headed to Charleston through the notorious shallows of Minim Creek, McClellanville, and Isle of Palms. Now we knew that the Isle of Palms had been dredged and that part of McClellanville had too but Minim Creek had not been touched.

We were due to arrive at Minim Creek at exactly dead low and we (I had another boat following me) had to hit a very narrow slot for the best water. There were many such narrow spots where the difference of 30 feet laterally could mean 2 feet less water. Even hitting the slots exactly, the low water I recorded was just 6.1 MLLW. So if you had a 6-foot draft, you could have gotten through at low tide by paying careful attention to the USACE surveys. Or, you could just download my track and follow it for the same result. By the way, the USACE surveys shown in Aqua Map matched my depth sounder within a few inches.

0.8 miles to go! (to McClellanville)
We found the dredge was within 0.8 Nm of reaching McClellanville! The notorious shallows of McClellanville are almost behind us! That last 0.8 Nm still contained 5.2 MLLW spots until you finally reached the dredged part. There are still sections between Minim Creek and Isle of Palms not dredged and you need to be on your toes and follow the USACE charts (or my track).

Our reception at the Charleston Maritime Center was the pounding of this steel beam, all day long
The reason for our early start was to reach the Ben Sawyer Bridge before 4:00 pm when it closed for 2 hours. With our early start, we were there by 2:00 pm. So it was onward to the Charleston Maritime Center which we thought would be crowded with boats. We were surprised to see we were one of only five boats in the marina, there were many empty slips. Then we learned of the reason for the scarcity of boats. They are pounding in the steel foundation pilings for a huge, new museum next to the marina office building. They work from 8:00 to 5:00 and it makes a terrible racket, very loud. I didn't know of this when I made the reservations and I would not advise anyone else coming either until the foundation is laid - which may take months. They have a lot of pilings to pound in.

It's quite a project. It seems expensive to build a raised structure for a museum.
We will be here another day and then head south again if the weather holds.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Georgetown - we see the wooden boat show

The boats were just beautiful to behold!
The trip down the Waccamaw River was uneventful, lots of water. That is, until we reached Georgetown and only found 6.0 MLLW on the approach into the harbor. It was the shallowest water we saw all day. We had 4 ft of tide at the time so it was no problem.

The one would be nice to own but we wouldn't want to get it dirty by putting it in the water
We arrived in time to walk through town and see the wooden boats on display. They were beautiful but not practical for our use. The hours spent in building them does not compute for me but I can see the attraction for some. They are works of art.

The Harbor Walk here is nicely presented with restaurants, shops and hotels.
Our challenge on Monday will be reaching Charleston in one day, about 55 Nm away. Since the Isle of Palms has been dredged, that's no longer a concern but we still have to get through Minim Creek at low tide and then through whatever part of the McClellanville shallows not yet dredged. We will start out at 7:00 am in order to have a cushion on the 4:00 to 6:00 closing time on the Ben Sawyer bridge. By leaving at 7:00 am, we hope to reach the bridge by 2:30, at least that's the plan.

We plan on a two day stay there before continuing our journey south.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Osprey Marina - at a dock in rain, Aqua Map Tutorial

Gathering for the Aqua Map Tutorial on a rainy afternoon at Osprey Marina
Saturday was the day of the storm. Mostly, it's just rain but lots of rain. It started around noon and is due to continue until Sunday morning at 10:00 am or so. We are just waiting it out at the fuel dock but we do have electricity so we're nice and warm.

Poor little guy got run over by a car
Meanwhile, since nobody had pressing business during this rainy day, I decided to give a tutorial on the use of Aqua Map Master at the helm. I had about a dozen attendees for the 1.5-hour session. Aqua Map is much more powerful with many features that most people are not aware of. We had a lively discussion. There is tremendous inertion against trying anything new in the age group typical of boaters on the ICW. However, with the demonstration of great, new capabilities, it is attractive.

Holding still for the operation...
After the presentation, I noticed the dockmaster at the welcome desk with a turtle in hand. Upon a closer look, he was repairing the shell of a small turtle that had been run over by a car. Evidently, this has happened before and they have a proven procedure for the repair. It consists of using JB Weld adhesive.  The desk manager held the turtle as the dockmaster applied the adhesive. Hopefully, it will work as in the past.

The operating materials...

The rain is due to stop later Sunday morning and then we will move on to Georgetown. From there we are planning a long day on Monday to reach Charleston for two days. We will pass through McClellanville on a rising tide but it will only be about 2 ft, it should be enough. We have to make the Ben Sawyer bridge before 4:00 pm when it closes for two hours to ICW traffic due to weekday traffic.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Osprey Marina - Cool nights

It really is a nice marina, calm and protected by high trees on all sides
The marina here is full. All the fuel docks are occupied, all the slips have boats - it's time for more expansion. I'm told the area used to be a quarry that was later connected to the ICW and then flooded and made into a marina. It's also a freshwater marina, not brackish so it doesn't encourage salt water vermin on your hull.

We had visitors off the back of the boat - no doubt looking for a hand-out
I spent the day putting a presentation on the status of the ICW for the Snowbird Rendezvous seminar session scheduled for Saturday night. It has all the latest news for those heading out for points south on the ICW. It's been a great year for dredging but there are still shallow spots to avoid. There are ways around the shallows but you have to know how to navigate them.

Notice the weld, they had to add height
to the pilings when Florence raised the water
level above the old pilings
Saturday looks like a rain and wind day. The storm that started out in the Gulf of Mexico is headed north across the Florida peninsula and then up the east coast, right over the top of us. It's not a hurricane but it will bring high winds and heavy rains. Oh well, we'll sit it out here at Osprey. We have electricity, so far, and it's nice and cozy. We plan on reaching Georgetown on Sunday and then try to make it all the way to Charleston on Monday, a 55 mile trip! For the next day, we'll just watch it rain in the comfort of a heated cabin. 

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Osprey Marina - at a dock

This is Barefoot Landing where we used to dock and explore the shops, but no more.
The dock has been converted to small boat slips - does not look like a very smart move, some people never learn
There are some marinas that are icons on the ICW and Osprey Marina is at the top of the list of places you want to stop at. The first attraction is the price, only $1.00/ft! Furthermore, if you stay more than three days, then for the fourth day on, the price drops to $0.26/ft! Pump out is free and the price of diesel was only $2.649/gal, taxes included.

You get a welcome package upon arriving - and this at $1/ft!
The docks are new ipe lumber, first-rate and they even have a welcome package consisting of locally made pepper jelly, a clip for closing opened bags, an insulated holder for drinks, pecan twirls, honey bun, and even a whistle. They have well-kept showers and two washers and two dryers with a table to fold laundry on. The WiFi is free, of course, and I've measured 10 Mbps at my boat.

Make your own coffer and partake of the free iced tea, already made
On top of everything else, it's surrounded by trees that give the best protection from storms as anywhere on the east coast, zero fetch and very little wind action. Honestly, is there any better marina for the value on the east coast? I can see why the place is always so full.

This is not hard to take
Meanwhile, we passed through Lockwoods Folly and Shallotte this afternoon with no problems following the GPX routes, at least 8 MLLW in the shallowest spots. I uploaded today's track for others to follow if they want.

There is a storm coming and it's due to hit us on Saturday with gale force winds along the coast. We'll be very snug here and move again on Sunday after the storm passes by. We hope to reach Charleston by Sunday night.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Southport - We get our outboard fixed!

Jim and Eileen are selling their boat PDQ powercat and are in the market for a new boat,
 I suggested this Hinckley - but it's rather expensive. If you are in the market for a PDQ powercat, give me a call.
When we arrived yesterday, a Zimmerman Marine came to our boat to remove the outboard for cleaning and he returned it to Fleetwing around noon, that's great service! I had never been to a Zimmerman service marina before, it was a great introduction to their customer service. They have service centers up and down the ICW, convenient.

We made use of their laundromat, two washers and two dryers. We made runs between the heavy rains accompanied by 20 plus kt winds. We were happy to be docked in the bad weather.

Nice setting at the Provision Company
Jim and Eileen invited us out for dinner. They took us in during hurricane Matthew when we were docked at St James Plantation Marina. Safe in their condo, we watched the fury of the hurricane's eye pass right over us. Ever since then, we've always stopped to renew our friendship. We had dinner tonight at an excellent waterfront restaurant, The Provision Company. For $16 each, we had a three crabcake dinner with two side dishes. The crabcakes were all meat, no filler.

You can dock your boat overnight after Labor Day if you have dinner at the restaurant
The restaurant has docks for customers and after Labor Day, they allow boats to spend the night at no charge other than having to buy dinner at their restaurant. They will be closing November 5 for the season and will reopen in the spring.

We are headed out Thursday morning for Osprey Marina, passing through Lockwoods Folly, Shallotte, and the Rock Pile along the way. The rain has cleared out and any winds are due off land from the northwest, a good direction for traveling along this section of the ICW.