Thursday, April 14, 2011

Charleston at the Maritime Center – At a dock

Actually it's a scenic marina
We waited until 8:00 to take Hoolie into shore in hopes that the sun would have driven away the gnats – no such luck! They were thick, you could swim through them. Nevertheless, we got Hoolie ashore and back and then spent the next half-hour trying to coax them out of the cockpit as we got underway. We only had about 30 miles to go so we felt no sense of urgency in getting started but we hadn’t figured on such a foul tide. Even with our 7.3 kt cruising speed, we were only making 4.8 to 5 kts over ground against the current of an outgoing tide. So a four hour trip turned into a six hour endurance. To add to the excitement, we went through all the thin spots at a dead low tide and the tide was traveling north so as we neared Charleston, the low tide kept pace with us, keeping us on our toes.

"Outta of my way!"
Coming into the harbor we heard that this was race week at Charleston. The Coast Guard had posted exclusion zones to protect the race courses and one was between us and the our marina. We called the Coast Guard and was given permission to pass through but a powerboat that followed us (without asking permission) was stopped and made to go back and take the detour around, about six miles longer. Looking back, we saw a huge container ship come down the channel which was not off-limits but there were small sailboats crossing in front of it anyway. The ship gave the five horn blast signal to warn the sailboats to stay clear and then gave several more blasts for good measure. Apparently they all missed each other since we didn’t seen any rescue action later.

We’re at the Charleston Maritime Center, one of our favorite marinas. The bigger marinas are on the other side of town, many blocks from downtown. This marina is very small, no more than 20 slips at best so they go fast. We’ll stay here a few days since we like to explore Charleston and it’s convenient to a supermarket for provisioning.