One Carolina down, another just entered….Slappey is in Southport, NC at the bottom of the Cape Fear River. I had visions of being much further along in our travels by now, but weather delays have piled up such that we have only just gotten to North Carolina. We made our last overnight voyage (if there is a God,) from St. Augustine to Port Royal Sound last month. Other than a nasty exit against tide in the St. Augustine inlet, and about a thousand AIS targets at dawn getting around the Savannah River entrance (who knew Savannah was such a busy port?) the passage was anticlimactic. We found our first anchorage in a creek surrounded by that beautiful marsh grass again. Port Royal Sound opens up just beyond Hilton Head, which is just above the Georgia line, so it’s smack in the middle of Low Country. We made it easily to Beaufort the next day (that would be “Bewfurt,” in case you were confusing it with the town in North Carolina,which would be “Bofurt.”) What a picturesque little town is that. We got stuck there for 8 days, waiting out thunderstorms, and didn’t mind at all. I think I had shrimp and grits nearly every day.
The trip further along, to Charleston, was a testy one. There are many shallow river ‘cuts,’ such as the Ashepoo-Coosaw cutoff, where you must deal with tides and currents and shallows. We hit it, as it happened, at near low tide, against strong headwinds, and saw a stretch less than 5 feet deep. Our draft (waterline to bottom of keel) is only 5 feet. We likely just plowed through the mucky bottom, which has the consistency of pudding, and somehow made it to the other end. This has happened many times since. The next day, miraculously, saw us hit every tide exactly right, and got us into Charleston in record time. Charleston was another favorite stop. Neither of us had ever been before. Actually, neither of us had ever set foot in either Carolina. I don’t know how this has happened, but there you are. We only had 5 days in Charleston, and could have stayed much longer, as you can imagine. But stifling heat is coming, and afternoon thunderstorms will arrive soon enough. Best to get North pronto, I say.
The trip out of Charleston has taken us 5 days, with 4 of the prettiest anchorages we have ever seen. The scenery along the waterway is amazing. From marsh grass and palmettos, chock with birds and dolphins, to the Waccamaw River, lined with cypress trees and wildflowers, it has really been a show. We have mostly avoided terrible bug infestations…give or take some horsefly-infested stretches. Breezes at anchor have kept us cool, while Mr. Frosty is ready for us when we get some shore power at a dock. So far…so good. The next passage up to Beaufort, NC promises lots more shallows. Hoo-boy! We do have towing insurance, and may yet get to use it. Here are some photos of the Carolinas, thus far.
So that’s a taste of our voyage so far. We wait out another front before heading out for Beaufort, NC (the other Beaufort.) From there, we will make our way gradually north, to Virginia, and on up to the Chesapeake Bay. It may take us some time.