Georgetown, Myrtle Beach, Southport, Wrightsville Beach, Mile Hammock Bay, Beaufort NC, Oriental, and then Belhaven.

Leaving Charleston, it was a perfectly flat travel day as we moved toward Harborwalk Marina in Georgetown. We planned to leave the boat for a week and take a quick trip home, but Teresa got sick so we visited a med center instead.  Minor sinus infection and fluid in her ear.   Picked up some antibiotics and that kicked the infection.  While there, we visited the Rice Museum.   We found out that the area including Georgetown had been home to many rice plantations back in the 1700-1800’s.   It was one of the richest areas in the country due to rice production.   The fresh water rivers and tides were used to flood the low fields in the area.   The tides would back up the fresh water rivers to allow the fields to flood.  They used gates on canals into the fields to keep the saltwater out.  Soon other areas of the country could produce rice cheaper and the area turned to other products.    Leaving Georgetown takes you through the Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge. We are finally seeing lots of tall trees with leaves! How refreshing from the normal non-descript rice patties turned marsh fields.

 

Birds looking for a hand out from the fishermen

 

Birds looking for a hand out from the fishermen

Rice Museum

 

We stayed two nights in Georgetown and then moved on to Myrtle Beach Yacht Club.  We stayed just one night there and had dinner at the Yacht Club with John & Sandra from Compass Rose.  It was trivia night, but our table was not very good at their trivia categories, so the “loopers” did not win any of the prizes.

Anyone want a cheap shrimp boat

 

I did not know my mom had a boat……..

North Carolina – Day #225 & 2909 nautical miles. Just crossed the line over into North Carolina! Still seeing many mega homes with greatly extended docks out to their covered areas where the boat is kept. Due to the amount of marshy areas, owners must extend their docks to get beyond that and account for the great fluctuation in tidal changes.

 

So many long docks along the way

The next stop was Southport, North Carolina, home of harbor hosts Robert and Kay Creech.  We really enjoyed the seaport town of Southport which appears to be more affordable for regular people than the last three larger, more popular towns/cities. We met the Robert & Kay on their front porch which overlooks the water. Harbor Hosts are hospitable people who live in the harbor town and volunteer their time, and provide transportation for other loopers who venture into their town. We visited with them on their porch overlooking the bay and later on Short Vacation (another looper boat) for docktails.  Southport is a quaint little town with many opportunities to walk the historic neighborhood, shop, and eat. Provisions Company Seafood is a MUST casual restaurant to dine at and is within a short walking distance from Southport Marina where we stayed.

We were blessed to be just in time for the Southport Spring Festival featuring local artists, good, and music by the Brunswick Big Band. Steve was itching to get up on stage and play his trumpet too. On Easter Sunday, we were but a short distance walk to Southport First Baptist Church founded in 1871. Very friendly people who greeted us and afterwards we presented Pastor Thomlinson with a copy of Teresa’s book.

 

Some scenes from Southport

 

Sanctuary in Southport

 

We stopped in Wrightsville Beach for a night in the anchorage.   Once safely anchored, we took the dinghy to shore and explored the area taking a walk on the Atlantic beach Ocean.  It is a small beach community, but we did find ice cream on shore so it gets a good rating.

 

Scenes along the ICW

 

Day #229 – Into every life, a little rain must fall, and during the night, fall it did! But we were warm and cozy in our enclosed cabin area. Sanctuary anchored in Mile Hammock Bay near New River Inlet with several other boats. Watched dolphins swim around us, Osprey planes fly overhead from the nearby military base, and water birds dive for food.

Day #230, we completed 3000 nautical miles under our keel as we passed Camp Lejeune. Part of the waterway passes through the live Firing Range. There are large signs with flashing lights. A boat will be on station to block the way if they are conducting live firing exercises.   Lucky for us they were not active, so we passed through without delay.

We arrived at Homer Smith docks and Marina after the anchorage in Mile Hammock Bay.  From the marina, it is a short walk to downtown Beaufort NC.  There is a free museum with appealing displays of Black Beard the Pirate. We stayed two nights at Homer Smith. As we were getting ready to leave, we got a package of fresh tuna from the marina seafood supply connected with the marina.   They process a lot of seafood which comes off the shrimping and fishing boats, so it is a good place to purchase fresh sea food.

Fishing Boats

 

Beaufort Museum

Sunset at Homer Smiths Marina

 

The next stop was Oriental—the sailing capital of North Carolina. There is a free dock in town available, so we tied up there.   Dave and Liz, friends who used to live in Grand Rapids and kept their sailboat named Double Vision in Muskegon, moved to New Bern (near Oriental).   Dave came and picked us up at the marina and took us on a tour back to New Bern and their house.  Once Liz was done with work for the day, we relaxed for a while on their deck and went down town for dinner.  After dinner, we went back to the boat.   When we arrived at our dock, we received a big surprise that was not good.   We were docked to a very tall shrimp boat. A flock of cormorants (really, really crappy birds) landed on the upper booms and cables of the tall shrimp boat next to us.   The wind was blowing in the direction of our boat.  It was literally raining bird poop all over our back deck covering every inch.  After moving, hosing, and scrubbing for a couple hours most of the deposits were removed.  The second night was at a different free town dock and was much better.   The next day we attended the Oriental Boat show.   We did not buy a new boat there, but did find a few treasures.

Visiting with Dave and Liz

 

Oriental Town Dock

Oriental Yacht Club Flags

 

Leaving Oriental was one of the roughest days of our trip.   The wind was strong to begin the trip, but the waves were only about a foot so continuing seemed like a good plan.  After a while, the wind and waves continued to build on the Neuse River.  The river is about 5 miles wide and feeds into Pamlico Sound which is about 20 miles wide.   We needed to make about 12 miles to get to our planned inlet and get relief from the wind and waves.   The 1 foot waves soon turned into 5 to 6 foot waves. We considered turning into a bay along the way, but that would have taken almost as much travel as the one that was our original goal.   The boat was very wet outside and inside many things moved around, but thankfully we safely made it to the bay.   Froggy was looking very green, but also made it without incident.   We were very glad to make it to the dock in Belhaven NC.   We met looper friends Pat and Kathy from Southern Cross at River Forest Marina and went to dinner with them at The Tavern at Jacks Neck.   Jim, Jimmie, and Jim, have taken an old store front and remolded it into an amazing place.   The food and service was excellent, and the atmosphere is a beautiful nautical theme with lots of wood.   Come for the food, but also have Jimmie give you a tour and explain the facilities and history of the store fronts.  They also are working on opening a steak restaurant next door.  Fun town with a few shops, less than 2000 residents, nestled in a quaint setting.

 

The mess after the rough ride

 

River Haven Marina Loaner Golf Cart on the way to dinner

 

 

Fantastic Dinner at -The Tavern at Jacks Neck

 

The Manor at River Forest

 

 

Spring Flowers

 

Charleston and Patriots Point

If you are in the Charleston area, be sure and visit Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum.   You will find the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier, USS Laffey Destroyer battle ship, and USS Clamagore submarine. As part of your very reasonably priced ticket, you can also tour a Vietnam Experience along the shoreline.   It took most of the day to go through the exhibits, and we still did not see it all.   Our dock was right next to the aircraft carrier, so we could see Sanctuary from the deck of the ship. A big THANK YOU to all our military personnel—those who’ve gone before us and those who serve us now! We owe you a huge debt of gratitude.

There is a lot to see and visit in the downtown Charleston area.   The area is rich with restored old houses and buildings for very interesting architecture tours.   We met with some other loopers (Captain’s Choice and Panacea) and took an educational, fun carriage ride through the city.  Our driver’s name was Joshua and his horse was named Samson, the largest horse in the fleet. After our carriage tour, we gathered at very popular Henry’s Seafood & Jazz on the Market for a tasty lunch and time to chit-chat.  We saw some scary loopers on the stairway, but did not see the ghost that is reported to hang out there. Later, we were invited to St. John’s Marina for docktails with Kim Russo, Director of AGLCA (America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association). It was good to greet loopers we met from the past and some we’ve recently connected.

The Charleston College Sailing School is next to Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina, the marina we stayed at.  Every day we saw small racers head out for training and then sail back in right past Sanctuary. A convenient marina to both the naval museum, the sailing school, and gift shop.

From our deck we watched cruise ships, container ships, local sailing yachts, and much more as they traveled through Charleston Harbor. Dolphins also loved to frolic inside and outside of the long exterior dock where we were tied.

 

Submarine USS Clamagore

 

Aircraft Carrier USS Yorktown

 

Destroyer USS Laffey

 

Patriots Point Vietnam Experience

 

Carriage Ride Through City

 

Charleston Harbor

 

Sanctuary in Charleston

 

Loopers meet at St Johns Marina near Charleston

 

 

Bridge at Charleston

 

Beaufort South Carolina, Friends Visit, and Where is the Basement?


The next stop planned: to stay a couple days in beautiful Beaufort South Carolina, which is pronounced like beautiful not like the word bow.  The town of Beaufort in North Carolina is pronounced like bow, so its beau-fort SC and bow-fort NC even though they are spelled the same.  The tide changes are still strange to us. They can range up to 8 feet in these parts. Most docks are floating docks which allow boat lines to rise and fall with the changing tide levels otherwise they would need to be adjusted periodically throughout the day.

Rob and Bonnie Hess, friends from Erie PA, were visiting one of their sons (wife and grandkids) in Florida, so we planned a rendezvous with them on their return trip north.   We walked around Beaufort investigating the old southern mansions, very old churches, and then had dinner at Luther’s which had a special of ½ price burgers.  Later that night, thunderstorms and possible tornadoes were predicted.   When there was a tornado warning issued, everyone asked where our basement was located.  I told them it was the engine room. Not everyone thought that was a good idea.   As it turned out, there was heavy rain and lots of wind but not any severe weather in our area. Good thing because 4 adults in the basement (a.k.a. engine room) would be mighty crowded!

There is a nice book store in Beaufort (The Beaufort Bookstore), where Teresa spent a lot of time hanging out. The first time her friend Joan from Panache went with her. When Bonnie came to town, of course she had to introduce her to the bookstore and owner.

If you are in Beaufort at breakfast time, be sure and visit Blackstone’s. They have wonderful food and personalized service.   Steve ordered Cajun shrimp and grits which tasted fantastic.   They have a tradition every day at 8:00 AM when they recite the pledge of allegiance to the flag.  They call out to everyone and ask them to stand for the pledge.  The staff then leads everyone in reciting the pledge.  One day a week a local pastor come in and delivers a prayer after the pledge.

On Friday, Beaufort hosted an art walk.   They offered free snacks and beverages which naturally attracts the attention of loopers.   A bunch of the loopers at the marina, and from the marina from the other side of the bay, gathered together for the art walk.  It was fun looking at the art while touring and talking with other loopers (Bucket List, Captain’s Choice, Panache, and Tranquilly III). We even bought a couple of small pieces for home—one features a dolphin and the other a shrimp boat.

The morning we planned to leave was the beginning of a Red Fish Fishing Tournament.  It was a good thing we planned to be up early because all the activity would have everyone awake anyway.  They had count downs, singing national anthem, announcements and lot of fishing boats.

Our next stop is Charleston where there is a lot to do and see, so Charleston will be in the next blog posting.

Houses of Beaufort SC

In the South Carolina area the tides are 7′ to 8′, meaning the water level change can be very dramatic. and some of the currents caused by the tides are very strong.  Here is an example from the marina.  The shells on the pilings are below water at high tide and about 7′ of them exposed at high tide.

Tides

 

Churches of Beaufort SC

Loopers visit art walk in Beaufort SC

 

Book Store

Beaufort Marina

 

 

The girls got to go shopping

 

Dramatic Coast Guard greeting and another lighthouse with a lot of steps

Fernandina Harbor Marina was hit hard by Hurricane Mathew last year.  They are still working to recover from that and have only recently partially opened. The docks and facilities still need a lot of work.   They had an open t-dock available for us to stay on allowing us to visit the town and area.   The town is full of shops and eateries housed in the old buildings that have been updated inside.  The historic look of the streets and store fronts remained preserved.  We rented a car there because it was time to take Karen (Teresa’s sister) to the airport in Jacksonville.  We took a ride over to the beach on the Atlantic and watched surfers trying to catch the best big wave.

After dropping Karen off in Jacksonville, we continued to travel north along the ICW.  Soon after leaving Fernandina, we crossed the line from Florida into Georgia.  It took a long time to get around Florida since we first entered Florida in November of last year.  As soon as we entered Georgia, we were greeted by a large Coast Guard Flotilla.  They were well equipped with guns on many of the boats. One came up next to us and told us to keep over to the starboard side of the channel hugging the red markers.  They told us they were doing a training exercise.

We stopped at Jekyll Island Marina, the smallest of the Golden Isles of Georgia.  Jekyll Island was a winter retreat for Millionaires’ Club 1888-1942.  The most powerful American financiers chose the Island where they could relax and play in undisturbed isolation. You’ll recognize famous people who stayed on the island including the Rockefellers, Macy, J.P. Morgan, Joseph Pulitzer, Sears, and Vanderbilt—just to name a few. If you’d like to read more about this winter refuge, I’d highly recommend reading “Splendid Isolation, The Jekyll Island Millionaires’ Club 1888-1942,” by Pamela Bauer Mueller.

Today, the Jekyll Island Club Resort has a large hotel with beautiful grounds.  Reminds us a bit of a mini Grand Hotel area on Mackinac Island, Michigan. There is a community of restored cottages on the grounds of the resort open to tour.   On the other side of the island is Driftwood Beach.   This is a very unique and photo rich location.  Driftwood beach is on the north east side of the island so storms and waves batter the trees along that coast.   When the tide goes out, there is a large area with huge trees on the beach.  The weathered and worn limbs/roots of the trees creates an unusual scene. People set up their beach blankets, umbrellas, and coolers among the random scattering of weathered trees and roots. It’s rather comical to see hats and wet towels hanging on extended branches. We walked the beach a couple of times marveling at the scene and taking pictures.

Our next stop was an anchorage on Walburg Creek. We spent a quiet night anchored there traveling the next morning to Isle of Hope.  We will spend a couple days at Isle of Hope Marina and visit Savannah from there.   The first day we took an Uber ride to the downtown Savannah water front.   We toured the water front area and some of the shopping districts up away from the waterfront.   As we were walking along the shopping district, we were surprised to see Phil and Mary (boaters from our LYH home marina in Michigan).  There is a lot to see and do in Savannah, and we sampled a small portion.

We used the marina courtesy car the next day to tour Tybee Island Light House climbing 178 steps to the top for a wide open view of the area.  The light is still functional utilizing a first order Fresnel lens which projects out 18 miles into the ocean. The tour also includes the museum housed in Fort Screven’s Battery Garland across the street.

We planned to leave Isle of Hope this morning, since storms were predicted, we stayed for another day.  The storms were uneventful here yielding a lot of wind and heavy rain (at least so far.)

The next planned stop is Beaufort South Carolina.

 

 

Scenes from Fernandina

 

Sisters on Sanctuary

 

 

Saying good bye in Jacksonville

 

Coast Guard Flotila

 

 

Driftwood Beach

 

Greeting at Jekyll Island for Sanctuary

 

Sanctuary at Jekyll Island Marina

 

 

 

Shrimp Boat anchored in Walburg Creek

 

Sunset in Walburg Creek Anchorage

 

 

 

 

Scenes from Savannah

 

Tybee Island Light Station and Museum

 

 

Isle of Hope

 

 

Sanctuary Sunrise at Isle of Hope