The Route South

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Where The Ashley and The Cooper Meet To Form The Atlantic Ocean

Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Our rental car has to be returned by 3 PM so we have some time to run errands and play tourist today.  A quick trip to Wally World and Publix got the chores out of the way.  After returning to Morning Star and unloading the groceries we were off to Jekyll Island for a bit of sightseeing. 

Quite literally, we drove around the island.  Cross the bridge, hang a right and keep the water on the right.  Before very long you will come back to where you started.  It’s not a big island.  We didn’t know what to expect with Jekyll Island and we were surprised.  As we drove around the island, we were delighted that there was so much residential development and not the high-rise condo/mega-mansion/faux chateau kind.  There were some older condo-type apartments being remodeled but the homes were mostly single-family, modest affairs.  Actually, pretty middle class stuff.  Refreshing.
Carriage at Jekyll Island Club

A circumnavigation will make you hungry and lunchtime found us at the gates of the famous, old Jekyll Island Club.  We headed down to the wharf we had seen many times from the ICW.  The breeze was cool but we ate outside on the dock in the sunshine.  After lunch, we wandered around looking at the huge “cottages” and the old inn.  Jekyll Island was developed to be a private enclave for wealthy industrialists, a private island away from the crowds and the common folk.  Membership was expensive and exclusive.  It is still a hotel today, albeit more affordable for normal people.  As 3 PM approached, we headed off the island and back to Enterprise car rentals.
Jekyll Island "cottage".

Jekyll Island Inn

Interior - Jekyll Island Inn

Dining Room - Jekyll Island Inn

Saturday, May 21, 2011
After two more days of boat chores and reinstalling our autopilot it was finally time to untie the strings and head out.  Time to go north again.

0700 – Start the engine and warm up while we unplug two electric cords and the TV cable.  We moved the boat a half-mile to Ocean Petroleum to fuel the boat.  They aren’t usually open on Saturday or Sunday but we called them yesterday and they agreed to open to sell us fuel this morning at 7:30.  We found the place – no sign on the dock or building – but no one was there.  So we tied up and waited.  Cindy tried to call the guy but got no answer.  What to do?  We have enough fuel to go on for quite a ways but the price here is too good to pass up.  So we will wait for a while longer.  Finally John called back.  He’s on the way.  John final got there at 0810 and we took on 120 gallons.  I talked to John while we were filling our tank. He explained that the reason he is $.25 to $.50 a gallon cheaper than everybody else is that he is actually the wholesaler and sells to other marinas as well as retailers.  He sells to Brunswick Landings, where we just left and they are fully $.40 a gallon more.  John explained that he also sells to the shrimping fleet and they are big users.  Day before yesterday he filled a large shrimper with 7,000 gallons.  It took both of his pumps over four hours to complete the job.  In the face of all this, I was amazed that he would come in and open on a Saturday morning for our paltry 120 gallons.

0900 – Rejoined the ICW at MM 860, northbound.  Its good to be underway on our own boat again, headed in the right direction.  Shortly after lunch we are across St. Simon’s Sound and entering Old Teakettle Creek.  We anchored near here on our way south in ’07 but today we need to do more miles.  By 1430 we are entering Sapelo Sound at 9.8 mph, passing one of my favorite landmarks, Dog Hammock Spit.  I have no idea how this place got its name but an idle mind can make up a lot of good stories.  Of course, 30 minutes later Sapelo Sound is behind us and we are down to 6.2 mph.  The tide giveth and the tide taketh away. 

1820 – The anchor is down and set at Cane Patch Creek.  It is a quiet, peaceful anchorage and we have had a good day’s travel of 77 miles.

Sunday May 22, 2011
0643 – Start-up and warm-up.  Seven minutes later we have rejoined the ICW and are headed toward Hells Gate.  We have timed our arrival to coincide with a low but incoming tide.  This means that if we run aground in this notoriously shallow shortcut, the tide will float us off.  But there was nothing to worry about.  The depth sounder never showed less than 5 ft.
1115 – Several ships and tugs were heading up the Savannah River when we crossed, entering South Carolina at Fields Cut.  Cindy served up lunch in the pilothouse as we passed Daufuskie Island.  Forty-five minutes later Hilton Head was ahead across Calibogue Sound. 
By 1430 we were across Port Royal Sound and entering the Beaufort River with Parris Island close on the port side.  Parris Island is the US Marine Corps basic training facility, what they call a Recruit Depot.  It is the place of nightmares for many a new recruit.  At 1630 the anchor is down and set off Beaufort,SC.  There is a Beaufort in NC, too.  This one is pronounced BEW-fort.  Today’s travel is 71 miles. 
We were enjoying a glass of wine on the top deck when the beautiful restored yacht "Freedom" cruised up the ICW and docked at the City Marina.  The Trumpy-designed 104 footer is a sister-ship to the former presidential yacht "Sequoia".  Fractional ownership shares are available for only $375,000.  Of course, when you want to actually use your share it will cost you about $40,000 per week for fuel, food, booze and crew expenses.  Tips are extra (and not optional).  If you are interested take a look at their website brochure.

The beautifully restored yacht, Freedom, came in to Beaufort.  It is a "timeshare".
$375,000 gets you in!

Monday, May 23, 2011
0630 – Start-up and warm-up.
0640 – Anchor up…almost.  The windlass overheated and stopped 12 ft. short.  I had to pull the last of the chain and the #44 anchor up the rest of the way by hand.  This will never do!
1155 – N. Edisto River.  The current has been in our face all morning making our progress very slow.  Its 88° but we are finally making 8.4 mph.   

Charlestonians refer to their city as the place where the Ashley and Cooper Rivers meet to form the Atlantic Ocean.  Although we have been to Charleston before, we are looking forward to this visit and are planning to take a break from the grind of constant travel to play tourist for an extra day.
Charleston waterfront.

1530 – We tie up in our slip at Charleston Marine Center.  It’s a great location, just a short walk to the old historic areas of Charleston and we are going to take a lay day tomorrow to enjoy the sights.  Cindy plugged in the power cord while I was in the pilothouse shutting down the instruments.  When she turned on the air conditioner the circuit breaker popped.  Oh-oh!  We reset it several times and each time it popped.  Double oh-oh.  This doesn’t look good.  The marina was able to recommend a repairman who will be here sometime in the morning but in the meantime we will have to put up with the heat.  Fortunately the breeze has been steady and the temperature goes down with the sun.  So in the mean time, we had a good 69-mile run today and we are here to enjoy Charleston.
Charleston Marine Center

We biked into the old part of town and had dinner at the Mad River Bar.  It is located in an old church building.  The church was de-consecrated and all religious articles were removed including the symbols in the stained glass windows.  I don’t’ know if it was a good church or not but it’s a darn good bar and restaurant now!  After dinner we walked around the old market and stopped at Kilwin’s for ice cream.  Yummmm!
The fudge counter at Kilwin's.
Caution!  You will gain five pounds just by enlarging this photo.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011
This morning we played tourist.  We stopped in at the Harris-Teeter grocery store that is 5 or 6 blocks from the marina last night so the chores are out of the way.  The repair guy isn’t expected until 11 AM so we have some time to kill.  We rode our bikes back to town to find the Post Office to mail Chip’s birthday present.  We found it in a beautiful, old building.  But the window doesn’t open until 11:30 AM.  What the …  No wonder the PO is going bust!  
Old Post Office - Charleston.

So we continued  further into the old residential area and on to the Battery.  We rode as slow as we could, stopping to gawk at one old house after another.  Me marveled at the date plaques, many of the houses dated back to before the Revolutionary War!  Houses built in the 1760’s or ‘70’s were not unusual.  There is a beautiful park at the Battery, where the guns overlooked Charleston Harbor and Ft. Sumter.  I could have stayed and looked at the beautiful, old architecture for hours but the A/C repair guy called to say he was coming and would be there in 30 minutes.  So we gotta’ go!
Window boxes - Charleston

Interesting architecture - Charleston

I need a new cannon!

The park at the Battery - Charleston

Well, the guy showed up and went to work troubleshooting the unit.  His meter quickly showed that the compressor was shot, drawing over 60 amps when it tried to start.  Since the normal starting draw is only 14 amps, it was certainly the problem.  If that wasn’t bad enough news, this gut can’t replace the compressor or the air conditioner, but he knows somebody….  I think we are going to take a pass on anything further with him.  He’s a nice guy and appears quite knowledgeable but we need somebody who is really IN the air conditioning business.  So out comes the laptop and once again, Google is our friend.  I am able to locate a marine A/C company that does business in South and North Carolina.  This is more like what we are looking for.  A phone call to their office sets us up with a service call later this afternoon.  The service man is working on a job at one of the other marinas in Charleston and she will have him at Morning Star before the day is out.  So nothing to do but put on our tourist hats again.  We’re off to lunch at Jestine’s.  Time for some southern cookin’!

There was a line of people standing outside in the hot sun waiting to get in, so we did the only logical thing – we got in line too.  The wait wasn’t too bad, maybe 15 minutes and we were in the blessed air conditioning.   I saw Anthony Bourdain eat here on TV and Rachael Ray has been here too.  The walls are covered with magazine covers like Southern Living, containing articles written about Jestine’s.  The place is darn famous.  We had corn bread, fried okra and fried chicken but truth be told, the food was a disappointment.  I’m afraid that Jestine’s is cursed by their own fame.  The food was OK but only OK.  But oh, the Coca-Cola cake……

The A/C repair guy showed up about 5 PM.  He quickly confirmed what the first guy told us.  The compressor is shot.  We have a decision.  If we opt to replace the compressor, we will be looking at $500-$600 for the compressor plus a similar cost for the labor to remove the A/C unit, take it to his shop, remove all the refrigerant, solder and wire the new compressor, recharge the refrigerant, bench test and take back to the boat and reinstall.  The warranty would be one year on the compressor only and labor would be our responsibility.  So we have to balance that against a completely new air conditioner for about $2500 with a complete manufacturers warranty, including labor.  Since we will be traveling, the dealer service network is important, the new unit is the only option that makes sense to us.  We are going to move to Georgetown tomorrow and he will do the installation on Thursday. 

Someone once observed that cruising is just repairing your boat in exotic locations!  And so it is.