November 26, 2008
Staying for two nights in Awendaw Creek was an excellent idea and a beautiful, restful place. In addition to dolphins, pelicans, cormorants and terns, we were treated to the sight of a couple of northern harriers hunting low over the saltmarsh. At low tide, oyster banks were exposed at the edge of the saltmarsh and small flocks of American oystercatchers with their long, vivid red bills delicately stalked around probing in the soft mud.
We put the free day to good use, digging down under the forward berth to our "deep storage lockers" to exchange some reading books and rescue our small bags of Christmas decorations. We also organized and listed all of our charts, including a large number that were generously given to us by Don and Mary in Gainesville from the South Pacific, Red Sea, Mediterranean, and various other exotic places that got us dreaming about possible future voyages. Monday morning brought us back to reality with a thin layer of ice on the deck but the sky remained clear and we had a glorious 30 mile run into Charleston.
We stayed at the Charleston Maritime Center which not only had very reasonable rates but had staff who were extremely helpful and friendly. We were even given a ride to pick up our replacement shroud and refill a propane tank, leaving us plenty of energy to jog and bicycle around the most attractive parts of the city. Charleston is one of our favorite cities and having just visited in June 2006, when we were delivering the boat, we were able to enjoy revisiting the areas around The Battery, the Market, and East Bay Street that we had toured then. It is called the Holy City because of the many churches and the sunshine made everything look particularly fresh and attractive.
On Tuesday, I was hoisted half way up the mast to reinstall the shroud, not once but three times… It should have only been once but somehow despite trying to be very careful (I blame slightly cold, stiff fingers) I dropped one of the bolts which obligingly bounced on the bimini top and then the deck. Unfortunately, Randall didn’t have time to catch it before it then dropped into the water and it was too deep and muddy to try to scoop it out. So off to the hardware store, which was luckily nearby, for a replacement. At the same time we visited the adjacent grocery store to get our fixin’s for a turkey dinner. We were the only people at the turkey freezer with a tape measure, looking for a small bird that would fit in our little oven!
By the end of the afternoon, the shroud was fixed and we tested all the others to make sure that they had no twisting strain on them (they did not). As much as we would have liked to stay in Charleston for the holiday, the weather was looking good for going out to sea and heading straight for Florida, so we set off with an outgoing tide around noon on Wednesday. We will likely be at sea for Thanksgiving (tomorrow) but will probably have our turkey dinner on Saturday as we get settled back into Fernandina Beach where we plan to stay for December. So until our last entry for this particular blog when we get back to Florida, Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!