Last night was cold. I mean, really cold. Or I'm getting old. But I think I'll stick with cold. I left Charleston around 0815 near slack high tide so I could get through the 0900 opening at the Wahpoo Creek Bridge. Needless to say, I just made it running full bore! But after that, it was all good. Motorsailing down the ICW can be relaxing and fun. It saves fuel and you can convince yourself that if it weren't for the narrowness you could sail the whole thing top to bottom. (Hint: you can't.)
So as it was approaching 1500 (3:00pm) and the sun sets here at like 4:30, I was looking for a place to stop. It turns out that just near a crucial turn in the ICW is a place called Mosquito Creek. I am glad for the cold - I'd hate to be there in the summer since I'm pretty sure the name is very descriptive of the wild life. Anyway, at a shrimper's dock, B & B Seafood, I tied up for the evening for a whopping $25. True, there's nothing there except a seafood market. No electricity, only fuel. But compared to Charleston Maritime Center, it was quiet with no wakes to heave you out of your bunk at 0h-dark-thirty.
Don't get me wrong, I loved the Charleston Maritime Center except for that. If I were prone to seasickness, I'd've been.
Anyway, it was a lovely quiet creek and I slept extraordinarily well, given I was in my fleece pants, vest, t-shirt and BVDs and socks. After a dinner of carne asada and broccoli, I read for a couple of hours and was fast asleep under the covers.
This morning I was up and underway at 0715 headed, I thought, for Bull Creek SC for a night at anchor. As the morning wore on, I found that I'd be in Beaufort (pronounced 'bee-yew-frt', as opposed to North Carolina's 'bo-frt') waiting for the Ladies Island Bridge for the 10:30 opening. I had hoped to make it at 0900, but hey, sometimes plans just go awry.
As I was spinning Pelican to bear away from the bridge I saw a lump in the water - then the lump started waiving. Then the lump started shouting, "Help! Help!" This was at 1025, so I resigned myself to missing the 1030 opening and headed over to get the poor bastard out of the water. I threw my emergency ladder overboard, stopped Pelican about three feet from him and asked him to bring the painter with him onboard - he handed me the painter and climbed up the ladder soaked to the skin.
I put his capsized boat under tow, called the bridge to say I'd be traversing slowly because of the capsized boat under tow and the bridge operator was very understanding. Anyway, I made the opening and brought the poor blighter to the dock at Beaufort Downtown Marina.
Well, he'd been nicked by the prop in the capsize, but I saw he wasn't bleeding and that he'd make a medical center once he called his brother and got a ride. I pulled his boat out of the water onto the dock and let it drain. His brother showed up, took the motor and the soaked guy, and with hearty handshakes all around, was off.
Since I'd already tied up to the dock and all, and since it was going to be cold that night, and because I saved a man's life, I decided to stay as a reward. So here I am at Beaufort, SC where but for fate I would have blown by at a blistering speed of seven knots.
My friend, Cory, reminded me that I'd been there before on their boat delivering it north from Ft. Lauderdale a year ago or so. Anyway, I thought I'd have a bit of a look around and took a walk - also, the marina provided a coupon in their little package for a free chocolate sand dollar at the local confectionery so that was something of an encouragement to leave the boat.
Off I went, having a look about - taking a few pictures, and of course getting my free chocolate (which cost $10.00 because I had to purchase some dark chocolate cashew bark, don't you know).
As I was walking back, I thought I'd go to the top of the bridge and get a picture of the whole town of Beaufort when I espied another Pearson 424 waiting for the opening - the boat's name is Sea Zen and the only person I met was Beth, although I asked them all over for wine and cheese if they could make it. Unfortunately, they were pressed for time and weren't able to come, but Dave and Nancy from Liberty, a Morgan 40 something, did and we had a great evening! Also, I learned a lot from them about the Dry Tortugas. That may come in handy later.
When the evening was done, I toodled off to bed with heaters blazing and slept amazingly well.
Tomorrow, I have to make 50 miles (a little less in nautical miles). So maybe I'll see you on the water!