Monday, January 11, 2010

Boat Bread, Moving On...

I left Charleston yesterday on a low tide, hoping to get a boost up Wapoo Creek and get to the fuel dock a bit faster than I would have without the assist. That was a great strategy on the surface, but once I got to the fuel dock at Ross Marine it kind of backfired just a bit - the current was so strong that Arden would not maneuver at the dock, in fact just she just about got stuck between 2 docks. The weekend security guy there, David, gave me a hand, and we were able to warp Arden in along the dock with alot of effort, the current was pushing against the keel, and it was alot of force to overcome. I had the boat in reverse, and both of us on the dock trying to pull the stern around, and there was one point where I just didn't think we were going to be able to do it. After all of that work, I fueled up, took 37.7 gallons of diesel, and then David looked at the tide and said, " I guess you're stuck here for a bit, just hang out until the tide changes." So I did. Grand total passage for the day - 6.88 Nautical miles, and I was stuck.

Actually I hung out for 2 tide changes, I stayed on the dock overnight, plugged in, and set about making dinner, and then I started to bake some bread. I didn't have the recipe on hand, since I had no internet, so I called Ali and asked her to look it up and read it to me. I have no idea what I was thinking when I saved my recipes in Internet Explorer, fat Lot of good they do there when I have no net. Ali went to the website I get my recipes from, and I jotted down all the info and directions as she read them off to me. She laughed at me the entire time I was writing it all down, but we finally got all of it transferred and translated, and I started on baking bread. It didn't turn out too bad, kind of ugly but very tasty - due to the cold the dough did not rise as much as it could have - even with the electric heater going it was still a bit cool onboard. The heat didn't help the bread dough much, but I would have just about frozen had I not been plugged in to the dock. When I woke up this morning it was 19 degrees out on deck. I waited until daybreak, and then started to get ready to go, as the tide was changing and going to be running the way I needed it to in order to get off the dock. The forecast called for a good warm up as the day progressed, topping out at 43, so I bundled up and got underway. It was so cold out early this morning that the froth and foam left from the wake of a passing boat froze on the surface as I passed by, it was really neat to see, but really underscored just how cold it was.

I made 40.3 NM today, I didn't push too hard, and I had a few good currents along the way. Down below Charleston alot of the ICW follows creeks, streams and inlets, very winding, and lots and lots of time in the salt marsh. I did see quite a few dolphin today though, probably 5 or 6 pods of them, but I wasn't able to catch many pictures of them as the waterways were pretty narrow mostly, so I couldn't break away from the helm to snap photos. I also saw 2 river otters, and a bald eagle, lots of water fowl, and alot of really interesting stuff along the banks and in the marsh as I motored by.

I was passed by the USCG tug ANVIL and its barge around 2, it was a buoy tending rig out of Charleston, and little did I know it, but they were headed out to replace a marker that had been knocked down just ahead of where they had passed me. I got to see them set up and put in the piling, and as I lost sight of them I suppose they were putting on the marker and lights and all the things that turn a naked piling into a channel marker.

Around 4:30 I arrived at statute mile 424 on the ICW, a nice little creek about 10 miles north of Beaufort, that turned out to be a really good anchorage. (I have internet, so it is actually a great anchorage) I was able to run Spook in to the public boat ramp so she could make a head call, and it was secluded enough that I was able to let her run around for a bit and work off some of that energy. I also met a local guy on one of the docks that had just returned from a year and a half down in the Keys. We chatted for a while, and he gave me lots of points of interest (mostly bars, liquor stores and groceries) to check out not only in the Keys, but also along the entire route down. Needless to say, I know I won't remember it all, but I do have his number if I need to know where to get beer or food when I am down that way. Night has fallen and I am all buttoned up on the boat with the stove going, brewing up yet another batch of tea. Tomorrow I will have a short run to Beaufort, and then on Thursday or Friday it looks like I am going to head out and make a 113 mile dash across the coast of Georgia and tuck in at St. Mary's Florida.

I am updating the Sunrise Sunset album, so be sure to check out the progress Arden has made through the Google Earth map.

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