We left Lady Island in Beaufort at 7:10 AM on Sunday September 7. High tide in Beaufort was at 7:58 AM and low tide in Charleston would be at 1 PM. The ICW has mile markers along the way that give distance between them, not in a straight line, but as the ICW winds along the coast. The markers are not physical, but on the charts. We traveled from mile marker 535 at Lady Island to 470 at Charleston City Marina, 65 miles. That’s normal miles, not nautical miles.
This time the spot to watch out for was the Ashepoo-Coosaw Cutoff off St Helena sound just after mile marker 520. Several people at Lady Island talked about boats aground there just the other day. Since I would hit it just after high tide I could do it, but would travel very slow just in case. The marina manager advised to avoid it altogether by proceeding down St Helena sound almost to the ocean and turning up another channel. The ocean was calm at this time in the morning so we did that with no problem.
We passed through an interesting narrow canal with houses on both sides as we came close to Charleston. After 3 PM we saw Charleston City Marina as we came out of that canal.
I’m getting the hang of this. They asked us to go halfway down on the inside of the 1/3 mile long “Megadock” with rows of boats on each side. I then turned around in a wider space, came back up a few hundred feet and pulled in just in front of a super yacht 2 1/2 hours after low tide with the current pushing me back along the dock and a pretty stiff wind blowing me away from the dock. Even after Sue threw lines to the two marina people the wind was too strong for them to pull the boat in and they could not hold it against a 2 1/2 knot current either. I had to power it in sideways. No major bumps and it went fairly steady, which is a good thing since nearly all the boats I passed must cost between 10 and 100 times what ours does. Do they refinish the hulls on these things once a month? Anyway it was heartening after my somewhat less than stellar performance in Beaufort.
It is interesting being here with the .001% who can have boats like these. A number are 100 feet long or more. Have not met any owners. Not even sure what they would look like, but we have met a number of crew and several professional captains and had good conversations. I’m picking up pointers every day.
I really really did not want fall back into that 116 foot boat right behind us.
I certainly do not envy these bigger boats. Star Gazer is at the ragged edge of what Sue and I alone can handle, and if I do put a ding into it it won’t be the first. A big part of the fun is learning to be sailors, navigating and yes, even docking this thing ourselves. If we want to go on a boat with a professional captain and crew there are plenty of cruise ships out there. We will step back from the ragged edge for the next few weeks, however. My sister and her husband come to Charleston on the 10th to join us for two weeks. Looks like Sue will be breaking in new deckhands.