Our night on the hook in the Waccamaw River was interesting, in part because of the scenery and in part because of the conditions -- strong winds and current. Compass Rose had us and Fandago on its anchor. In the morning, Lovings showed us how their chart plotter recorded us meandering all over the place (using the Man Over Board [MOB] function. But the anchor held! We got off at daybreak, heading for Charleston. Tug for Two was on its own most of the day and miracle of miracles, we got there safely! Saw bald eagles, including one that picked up a fish right in front of this and then returned to its huge next in the top of a dead tree by the shore. The Waccamaw is a kind of wild, undisturbed place with miles of undeveloped land, cypress trees and brown (tanin-laden) water. We passed by the Waccamaw Neck, the wealthiest place in the U.S. pre-Civil War, all due to rice plantations. After the war, carpetbaggers bought the old plantations and turned them into hunting preserves. And now? Gated,expensive housing developments. The joys of capitalism!
Yates and other sailors made it under a bridge where every time you approach one there is a whole back-and-forth on the ship's radios about the height boards (boards with numbers from low to high 60s). The larger sailboats all seem to need about 63 feet and the bridges are often 65. So sailors reporting a "pinging" of their radio antennas on top of their masts are common and, I'm sure, heart-stopping for the sailors. John Loving says that he has a video of the Yates going thru one such bridge.
For us, with a draft of only 3'6", the heart-stopping moment came when we experienced an unusually low tide. We heard the sailboat ahead of us (by about 1/2 mile) report seeing "under 5'". We were being followed by 2 sailboats and a motor yacht so I dutifully reported the depths I was seeing. Scary. On the plus side, it's wonderful to see how boaters help one another. The sometimes nasty behavior of "ragmen" and "stink potters" seems almost entirely missing from the ICW where one hears people asking for permission to give a "soft pass" (no wake from a powerboat) and receiving a thansk and "have a nice day" in return. Of course there is still the occasional jerk who passes producing a huge wake and never lets you know they are coming or responding to your complaining call to them after they have left.
Last night, as Soucy's reported, we were all anchored in a very exposed creek (the Amdewah). I've noticed that "creeks" in NC and SC are not like what we are used to in Merryland. Here, a 'creek' is sometimes as wide as a river. The Amdewah wasn't that wide but with its exposure and high tide, it made for a worrisome night. We anchored yesterday in 12' of water. We woke up to find it showing 20 feet! Everyone thought they had dragged their anchors. 30 knots of wind plus a strong current and waves beating against our boats had us all working hard to raise our anchors and get underway. We saw lots of grass floating on the river and were glad to see smaller waves when we got in the river.
We found out that Charleston is having an annual sailing regatta so, much to our disappointment, there was no room at the inn for us at the Charleston City Marina or other walkable places. So . . . we wound up getting slips at the Cooper River Marina, about 5 miles from downtown. This would have been fine but the current there had been the year's highest tides and the current was flowing thru the marina at about 4 kts. Kranzers and Yates were anchored on the outside, in the river where they experienced the full brunt of the current. Imagine seeing your boat produce a wake when it's sitting at the dock! It was so cold and worrisome, given the wind and current, that we ate on Tug for Two. G fixed a Louisiana-style jambalaya. True BakYakkers, we proved once again that good food, good company and plenty of wine conquers all!
Tomorrow morning, the marina is running us to a local Harris Teeter (high-end grocery store) to reprovision and by late morning we will be underway toward Beaufort, SC (the place where they filmed Prince of Tides). Stay tuned!