First of all, some were wondering about us and the current storm. We’ve been on the edge of several big storms but have not been battered much, except for those back stairs we lost in one on the Chesapeake. Right now we’re on the east edge of Hurricane Michael with winds just hitting 50 mph on our gauge from time to time and it doesn’t appear it will get much worse. We’re tied at the outside dock at Harborwalk marina in Georgetown SC. There are a few sailboats at anchor just on the other side of the entrance channel that we hope don’t break loose and come at us, but other than that we don’t expect much trouble. Actually one did break loose and get to us, but it was a small one.
Yesterday (Wednesday) morning the dockmaster in Little River knocked and told us we needed to move to another slip because a large boat was coming in. It was musical boats as the guy in our target slip also needed to move elsewhere. This guy also mentioned that the Socaste bridge was finally opening. This was a surprise to us but we needed to jump on it because the coming storm could just close it down again. A few phone calls to the proper entities confirmed they were opening on demand and a call to the local Coast Guard station got the OK to travel if we stayed on the ICW and kept our wake down. We frantically got everything in order and got a late start out of the marina by 10.
We almost immediately hit the Little River swing bridge which opened for us but warned that all the bridges in South Carolina would shut down at 4 PM. No one was saying when they would open again. Twenty five miles later I called the Socaste bridge and told them I had a pretty stiff following current. The lady coordinated nicely and we sailed right through.
That following current that was busily draining the ICW in that area was great for us. We could sail along at a good speed with minimal engine power. It was good for those living along the ICW because the water was up to their house. Any significant wake from me would have crashed through their front door! This area had the most extreme high water of anywhere we have seen, and we’re told it is down considerably from the peak. Looks like those people already had that water through their front door, but I’m sure they didn’t want any more.
Six miles north of Georgetown the rain came down so hard we could not see the water just off the bow. We’ve had low visibility in this area before, but this was worse. I slowed to idle, turned on the radar and checked the weather. The radar was good to about 1000 feet out where what is called “rain clutter” started taking over. I assumed that was good enough because if anyone else was stupid enough to be out there they would hopefully be going very slow. The weather radar showed the heavy rain could not last more than an hour, about the time it would take to get to the Georgetown channel entrance at my slower speed.
There was already enough wind that I really wanted to be able to see when we went into the fairly narrow channel between various city docks and marinas and all the sailboats that anchor in this area. It did clear up. The sun came out right while we came into the city, so we docked with very little drama.
At the moment we’re reminded of the wind when it really pushes us into the dock and we bounce back a bit. Most of our boating career has been with great weather. We were just discussing how fortunate we were on the loop in 2015 with so little rain or bad weather. Seems we’re getting the other side of that for the last few months