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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

15 OCT thru 31 OCT 06, Charleston, SC

GPS Position: 32°47’.339N: 79°55’.443W

We pulled out of Ocrakoke on 17 OCT 06 at 0630 EST and headed towards Beaufort, NC. The channel is a bit complicated in Ocrakoke, as you have to play "dodge em'" with the Ferry Boats that ply these waters.

Once we left the commercial channel it was a straight shot to Adams Creek and back into the GIWW. We were finally able to sail for 90% of the trip and it was great!

In the channel leading into Beaufort, I got the boat stuck on a sandbar, not once, but TWICE! The bar was across the marked waterway and there was no notice to mariners that an alternate channel was the preferred way to go. Fortunately, a TOW BOATS US boat happened by and gave us the correct new route. We then followed him in part way and were soon back on track.

Fortunately, I had called ahead to make reservations in Beaufort and we arrived there about 1800 EST. The City Marina is Beautiful; pricey, but beautiful. There is fuel at your slip and good power and water. What a place to dock. Tomorrow, we explore the town and surroundings.

I got up around 0530 this morning and began to get the boat ready to sail. Kim got up shortly thereafter and, between the two of us, we were ready to cast off about 0645 hrs. We pulled out from the Beaufort City Docks at 0700 and headed on down the ICW towards Wrightsville Beach, or where ever we can get to tonight.

As we passed Camp Lejeune, the Marines closed the ICW for a live artillery firing exercise. The closing was at marker #59 and commenced at 1000 hrs. When we got to that marker at noon, there were about 13 boats waiting on the waterway to open. I called on the radio and asked the Navy guard what the opening ETA was. The Navy guard asked where my boat was and I told him about 300 yards away and was the sailboat flying the Marine Corps flag.

The guard came back on the radio and asked how fast my boat would go and I told him 7.5 Kts. He came back on and said that there was a short break in the firing and told me to proceed on my way down the ICW. All of the boats that were anchored begin pulling their hooks and hurrying like mad to get going with us. Being a former Marine has its advantages sometimes (lol.)

We arrived at Wrightsville Beach, NC at 1830 and docked at Seapath Yacht Club & Transient Dock. No electric or water, we have to be out by 0700 and it still cost $80.00. God Bless America!

We were up and on the water by 0650 EST this morning. It's a bright, clear morning but chilly. We proceeded down the ICW and went across the New River Inlet and the Cape Fear River Inlet. It’s really pretty, but it’s cold (67°-F) and the wind is brutal at 20+ Kts on the nose.

We passed Pelican Point Marina, the place where we got the blue crabs, and were hailed on the radio by an unknown Captain who wished us “Semper fi.” That was pretty cool.

We made all of the drawbridges in good time and didn’t have to wait more than 20 minutes at any one bridge. It was smooth sailing once we got back in the ICW and the shore blocked the wind. It’s a lot better that way.

We finally arrived at Barefoot Landing, SC and docked at 1645 EST. I ran aground (some more) in sand, right before the dock area. It looked like an approach, but was an unmarked shoal. It took about five minutes to get off of the sand, but all’s well that ends well.

We’ll be here for three nights ($160.00) and plan to restock our food supply at the local Wal-Mart and do some shopping at the outlet mall that lines the ICW here. It should be fun.

Today is 23 Oct 06. We woke up this morning and opened up the boat to find the temperature had dropped to 38 degrees F during the night. Damn that’s cold!

We departed Barefoot Landing around 0700 EST and headed south towards Charleston. We intend to get an enclosure built for the cockpit, have some warranty adjustments made and get Kim's computer fixed during our stay there.

Other than the cold, the trip has been uneventful. The wind has picked up a bit, but not more than 15 knots. There is no way we’ll make Charleston tonight, so I’m going to anchor in the North Santee River, just west of the ICW.

We anchored at GPS coordinates 33°10’.419N: 79°18’.219W. There, we found superb anchoring about 100 yards west of the ICW. We had 12 ft. of water, wide places to swing about and shelter from NE and SW windstorms. The anchor set in soft sand on the first attempt. We should be in Charleston tomorrow by early afternoon.

We were on the go fairly early and made a relaxed run into Charleston, SC. Once again, we're staying at the Charleston Maritime Center Marina and are within easy walking distance of downtown. We prepaid a month's worth of dockage, which should give us enough time to get our "laundry list" completed, and will wait here until the insurance company says hurricane season is officially over and it's O.K. to travel south and off-shore.

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