Saturday, January 2, 2010

Extreme Cold and Slow Progress

Its now 2010, and I am as far south as I have ever been, and getting further south by the day, but we just can't seem to outrun the cold weather. This morning finds us in Myrtle Beach, SC and in a few hours Gemini and Arden will move a bit more down the ICW, hopefully down to mile marker 384 and the Wacca Wache marina. It is bitterly cold out, at least to my cold natured body - we had a low of 24 last night - but luckily we were tied to a dock here at the Barefoot Landing Resort and I had electricity and electric heat, so it wasn't so bad on board.

New Years Eve was spent on the hook just off the Little River Inlet, which is just inside the SC line. We anchored in Calabash Creek, which is really out in the middle of nowhere, and rafted the 2 boats together. Mary made a great dinner, and we spent the evening telling stories and looking at charts and maps and the chart plotter. Clay and I looked at the charts and planned for the next day, and then around 8 I turned in to read for a bit and get to bed a bit early. Not too long after going below, I heard these loud pops and explosions, and went topside to check things out. There was a huge fireworks display going off just to our north. It may have been the town of Calabash, or possibly a private thing, but regardless it was quite impressive, and definitely signalled that it was New Years Eve.

On New Years Day we weighed anchor right around 830, and that was kind of tricky as we were rafted up and both of us had anchors out. In the night we knew we had swung once and the lines fouled, but when we checked again in the morning we must have swung around again and unfouled. Apparently Clay had been thinking on how to unfoul the lines, just as I had, but thankfully it was unnecessary courtesy of a thoughtful current. Unrafting went well even in a pretty strong current - stern lines first, then the spring line, and finally the bow line, and the 2 boats drifted apart, just like we knew what we were doing. All of this rafting up and setting the anchors had been based on good ideas and no prior experience in this type of situation with the current and the tides, but it all went according to plan, and to any observer on shore it would have looked like we knew what we were doing.

As we were setting out another boat caught up with our little flotilla, and as they passed me I hailed them, and they were the Firewater, out of Annapolis, another set of snowbirds making a late start, better late than never I suppose, just like me. We only made 10.7 nautical miles on New Years, Mary and Clay wanted to tie up at Barefoot Landing in Myrtle Beach, but they were full, and even when a space did open up, it was reserved. I was tied up to a dock across the ICW at Barefoot Resort, which was closed for the day, and apparently in a bankrupt status. The marina is not so big, average size I would guess, but the resort is huge. How a place like this can go bankrupt is beyond me, but I suppose it is a matter of building at the wrong time, in the wrong economy. Clay brought Gemini back over to the dock I was at, and we spent the day here. I got a bit of time to clean up Arden and do some of the repairs to the windvane, and I napped and read and tried to stay out of the cold. Clay and Mary caught a cab over to Walmart, and when they got back I went up and unlocked the electronic gate to let them back in and go out and walk Spook. Not too long after I got back down to the boats Clay called me over, they had gotten an extra ceramic heater for me to use for the night while we were tied up and on shore power. I was kind of speechless, as they have done so much for me, and this was totally unexpected.

So now I am up just after 5am, getting ready to start a new day. We plan to try for 30 miles in the cold and against the current, and hopefully by 2 or 3 we will be down to Wacca Wache marina at Murrel's Inlet and done for another day, a little bit further south, not much warmer, but still making progress.

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