We entered the channel into Brunswick at 2:30 PM Sunday, the day after we started out from West End. It took a bit less than an hour to get to Brunswick Landing marina. Morningstar was much closer to the inlet and a bit more upscale, but charges 2.25/ft. Brunswick is 1.50. That’s not what decided the deal, however. Diesel was 2.63/gal at Morningstar and 1.65 at Brunswick and I’d just used 350 miles worth.
As we got within a few miles of shore I could recheck the weather. Average 3 foot waves, peaking higher, tonight and going through tomorrow. 2 – 3 foot was predicted to the south for today but it seemed less than 1 to us. Maybe we can’t read waves well. Sue’s the one who doesn’t like bumpy roads and such, so I let her decide. She also remembers that the ICW is not maintained well in Georgia, winds all over the place with spots where we have to wait for tide and wonder whether we’ll run aground. She decided to forge ahead.
We fueled up and headed right back out to sea. By 6 PM we reached the end of the long Brunswick inlet and turned northeast toward Charleston. At our average 9.7 mph speed the autopilot said we’d reach Charleston inlet around 8:30 AM in the morning. We would be close to land and so could recheck the weather and decide whether to go further or not. Savannah was nearer but it would be night when we reached that, and it’s 17 miles up the inlet and on into the river to reach the downtown marina. I’ll only do the wide open spaces in the dark unless at great need. The same with Cape Fear. We’d reach that by 8 PM, just when it gets dark. So if not Charleston we can go only a little more up to the Georgetown Inlet or all the way to Beaufort NC (not SC). Beaufort would be the next morning after two nights at sea. We would have only considered that if it was really smooth, like it was coming up from West End, and it wasn’t.
So the only reasonable options were either to go in at Charleston or continue on another 5 hours to Georgetown.
Our previous trip was a lot gentler than the predictions. This was worse. It was like our Albemarle Sound adventure with Paul and Sharon. Our ships bell only rang twice, but we were out 15 hours instead of one. In the dark.
The boat performed great. We really tested the stabilizers and were really glad we had them. No side to side rock at all. We still had the fore and aft pitching of course. Sue performed fine also, but did decide we would not do something like that by choice again. Our straight line course took us into a just bit of Gulf Stream to help with our speed. We arrived in the Charleston inlet channel at 8:26 Sunday morning and took nearly an hour to get in against an outgoing tidal current.
We rested and then got interviewed by a customs agent who stopped by the boat. We should have checked in in Brunswick, but could not raise anyone on the phone and had to get back out to sea to avoid navigating in the Brunswick harbor at dark.
So in two very full days we did what took us 14 days of ICW travel on the loop last year, and we were hurrying last year to get up to North Carolina for our major boat repairs. It’s a great way to travel when the weather is right.