I’m writing from the depths of the South Carolina swamps!!! You read it right!! We are no longer in Daytona or Florida for that matter! We’ve hit the road again and are slowly making our way north to home!
We left out of Daytona on the 16th and headed north through St. Augustine and anchored in a little isolated place. It was a beautiful day even though we fought some strong currents. Going through St. Augustine and St. Johns there are some heavy currents because of the outlets to the ocean. Coming down this winter they terrified us. This time around we were prepared. We handled them very well and were proud of ourselves for getting through them just fine. What these strong currents can do is affect your steering immensely. It can spin your boat around on you faster than a blink of the eye if you’re not ready. We spent the 17th motoring further up the ICW to Fernandina Beach. We had strong winds all day and were worried about finding a good place to stay. We spent a crazy night in a very popular anchorage just outside a paper factory (Peee ewwww!) where all the boats were swinging in different directions. It was a sight!
We were supposed to leave out for SC on the 18th, but the weather was atrocious, so we spent the day sleeping, reading, and playing Monopoly. Mom kicked our butts!! Dad motored in and found some shrimp right off the boat and found a 6 pack of Kaliks! We had a wonderful meal. The 19th, it was up and adam. We motored out the St. Mary’s Inlet and hit the wide open ocean. Once out of the inlet, we heard the now familiar Coast Guard voice on the VHF give warning that a Naval Vessel was incoming on the St. Mary’s Inlet. We turned around and there was a submarine coming into port!!! It was so cool! But I wish we could have been a little closer.
The ocean passage went very well! This was our 4th time out in the ocean and we seem to have gotten the hang of it. We were much less worried and more relaxed throughout the day and night. We had fairly good winds and were able to carry some sail. Venture Forth, another boat making the same passage, radioed over every once in awhile to check on us. He had radar and would be warning us if anything came up on it. Of course we appreciated this, but also kept a good eye out for ourselves.
I decided before we left St. Mary’s I wanted to see a submarine, a whale, and a turtle. Well, as you know, I got the sub checked off! Along the way we saw several turtles!! They were soo amazing and such graceful swimmers. We also had several dolphin, both bottlenose and spotted, find our boat great fun. We had one do a Flipper style jump out of the water a couple times, while we cheered him on. Another one decided to swim sideways directly on our bow. He was so close I was a little worried, but dolphins are so intelligent, he knew exactly where he was. We also saw several schools (about 20-30) stingrays go past our boat. They would flock together then quickly disperse as the boat got closer. We never did see a whale, but we were so excited to see all the wildlife we did.
Coming into Charleston Inlet was a little blustery, but we managed to turn the corner and get through the Ben Sawyer bridge before she closed it. If we hadn’t made it, we would have had to wait 2 hours! And that is no fun! We got very lucky.
We were going to putter up the ICW for the day, but thought the weather was going to be bad again, so we opted to anchor and get some much needed sleep. The weather turned out to be gorgeous (silly weathermen) but at least we were rested. Yesterday, we plunked up the ICW towards Thoroughfare Creek (a place we stayed before with the duck hunters). Along the way we saw 3 alligators!!!! Two were sunning themselves on the banks and the third was swimming alongside the boat! How cool!!!! That had been on my list of things I wanted to see! YAY!!!!!
Today we are once again headed up the ICW. We are stopped in a marina right now refueling, as yesterday we ran out of fuel in the middle of the channel. It was a little crazy at first trying to figure out what went wrong, refilling the tanks with our jerry cans, throwing the anchor down, and letting people know around us that we were ok. It was a little hectic, but we managed just fine. Thank goodness there is a place to refuel so close by. I believe we’ll head up somewhere around Myrtle Beach today and continue to Wilmington tomorrow. We hope to get in touch with some friends that live there.
Love you all!
Good weather and happy sailing!