Thursday, January 7, 2010

Southern Hospitality and Making Money

I am still in Charleston today, it is a very nice, although expensive city, full of history and interesting places to go. Usually being on the boat means I am often on foot when ashore, but the Charleston City Marina has a shuttle service that will ferry you around town to various destinations - today for me it was West Marine. I went to West for charts, I had not planned on being this far south and still in the ICW, and as such my collection of charts does not cover the territory ahead. Heck, if I had not been following Clay and Mary, my ability to chart where I was headed would have ended back at the North Carolina state line. My intent was to put out at Morehead City, then at Cape Fear, but the weather was not good and getting colder by the day, so common sense prevailed and I continued to motor south in the ditch.

Back to the story at hand. So Charleston is this grand historic town, lots of very old homes, Ft. Sumter where the War of Northern Aggression (we fired the first shots, so how were they the aggressors?) otherwise known as the Civil War, began. Then there is the open air market on Market Street (where else would it be) and all the fine shops and restaurants on King Street. Quite an interesting place. Lots of very nice, very big boats at the marina, and lots and lots of very friendly folks. Southern Hospitality might be somewhat of a cliche, but here in Charleston it is alive and well. I was at West Marine today, and I had called the marina to ask the shuttle driver to come back and get me. He was busy, so the office manager drove out and picked me up. Not only that, but while I was waiting for my ride, another customer had heard that I was at the marina, and he offered me a ride, as he was going right by there. I graciously declined, as the office manager was en route, but how often do people go out of their way like that? Not only that, but upon hearing that the charts I needed would not be in until tomorrow after 3, the office manager offered to drive me out to get them after he got off of work, since the shuttle usually does not go to West after the scheduled 11 o'clock run. I am betting if I ask they will take me anyway, that is just how things are around here.

The blog is making money from the ads you see sprinkled around the page. To be exact, $3.69 so far, since we added the ads and I really started writing. For each view of the ads, or for each ad that is on the page, we make a few pennies. So far it is enough to buy one gallon of diesel. Perhaps in time I may have enough to buy a tank of diesel, or maybe groceries, or even a few beers. So please pass the word, as the more readers I have, the more pennies that come my way.

There have also been over 430 readers so far, from something like 11 states, most are from the DC, VA and MD area, but there are a couple of followers in NC, and some from MN, CA, and of all places, Alaska.

Today in addition to my trip to West, I worked on a few things around and about the boat, most notably the windvane, which is finally repaired and back in operation. It has been a long time coming, a bit of work here, a bit of work there, but it is an essential piece of gear once I do go outside and start sailing open waters. That may be as soon as Monday or Tuesday, I have been cautioned against going through Georgia by several boat hands, watermen, and knowledgeable folks. Believe it or not, there are 9 foot tides in GA, something I was unaware of until a few days ago. That means 2 things to me - strong currents in the ICW, that may or may not be in my favor, and, sections of the waterway that are impassable by Arden at low tide. So I am thinking about going outside from Beaufort (in NC it is Bo-fort, in SC it is Bewfert) which will make for a 152 mile trip from Port Royal Sound (Bewfort) to St. Augustine. That will have me passing that summer vacation spot I remember so well, Parris Island. The temps are supposed to be in the mid to upper 50's next week in Bewfert, and higher in FL. So if the wind and waves are moderate, and there is not a gale scheduled, I will probably make that passage, and it should take me about 30 hours or so to do it. We will see when I get there.

And lastly, just when I thought I had reached the deep south, they have palm trees for cryin out loud, I get caught up in this brutal cold snap that just won't go away. Today it warmed up a bit, it was 39 degrees on the boat, but, tomorrow, we are supposed to get snow, just like everyone else.

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