June 13, 2019

Narrow Bridge
only half of this bridge would open...made it narrow to get through



Charleston is an amazing city to visit. There is so much to do and enjoy in that beautiful city. You can walk the cobbled streets and gaze at the antebellum houses, visit a plantation or Fort Sumter and for naval enthusiasts there is the Naval and Maritime Museum complete with the USS Yorktown, a WWII era aircraft carrier. I think the one thing that sticks out in my mind is the size of the doors in the houses….Pat would have had to duck to get in.

 

Gardens
small but lovely gardens



Maybe people were a lot shorter 300 years ago! The other memorable things were the gardens that went with these homes. The yards were very small but they made the most of what space they had.

We didn’t linger long in Charleston as we had spent a number of days there during our first Loop in 2010. We pulled up anchor early in the morning and headed for Georgetown. The one thing to remember is that we were in South Carolina, the home of high tides, narrow channels and unexpected sand bars.

Norfolk
bridge opening for us in Norfolk



Yup, we ran aground shortly after we entered the ICW. We didn’t really run aground so much as I hit a sandbar….hard enough to throw Pat off his seat. We were in the channel but at the mouth of an outlet to the ocean. This is where the incoming tide rearranges the sandy bottom, dragging it into the channel. There was a dredger working about 1000’ up river. I almost yelled at them to tell them I found a spot for them to dredge, but Pat said no!

Sunken Boat
Georgetown

a lot of boats sunk during the Florence hurricane just left in the water

We made it to Georgetown that day and decided to spend an extra day doing boat chores. The grocery store was “just a short walk, ma’am”. Right! Two miles later, we got into a small, old but clean store; then we took a taxi back with our load of groceries. Georgetown has a lot of history and a ton of pride. The residents are friendly, helpful and love to talk about their town. It felt like we had stepped back into the 1950’s, with the old cinema, the stores with recessed doorways and the old-fashioned restaurants. The hop-on hop-off trolley tour is worth every cent. They even show you the 700-year old tree!

The next leg of our journey was to be through Myrtle Beach. We went that way in 2010, following another boat. When we got to the narrows, he called a security on the VHF, told me to stay right behind him and not to look over the side of the boat. Well that’s like waving the red flag in front of the bull. I looked. I saw. I didn’t like the rock piles two feet on either side of the boat. This time, we opted to make a 110 nm overnight ocean passage from the Georgetown Inlet to Cape Fear and bypass the scary stuff. It was a great crossing, super sailing for a change, and despite the name, the entrance wasn’t “fearful”. There isn’t anywhere to stay there, so we went another 23 miles to Wrightsville Beach.

Wrightsville Beach
Wrightsville Beach



We spent an extra day there waiting out high winds. We walked the beach then had an amazing seafood dinner. The area had been hit hard during hurricane Florence but most of the damage had been repaired, though there were still a lot of tarps on roofs and broken docks.

From Wrightsville Beach we went to Hammock Bay, a bay on a military base that allows boaters to spend the night listening to their touch-and-go aircraft and helicopter sorties and their live fire exercises until midnight. I mean where else can you go to get such entertainment! All the boats scooted out of the bay before 6:30 am when a patrol boat comes around to usher out any stragglers. No one wants to get caught in the crossfire. The next day it was off to Beaufort NC where they have a terrific maritime museum, and a workshop for building boats that harken back to the late 1800’s. Pat would love to be a volunteer there. They also have a pizza place with really awful pizza….order something else!

Hazards in ICW
hazzards to avoid in the ICW



The next day was long. Really, really long. We were a flotilla of sailboats that motored up Pamlico Sound. It is a huge, open bay, perfect for sailing if it hadn’t been flat calm. We motored for hours, only getting to sail when we reached Pamlico River. By then the wind was howling and the places we had picked to drop anchor were totally out of the question. It’s strange how someplace that looks perfect on a chart is a “no way am I going in there” when you arrive. After a 12 hour, 70+ mile day, we ended up in a creek at the south end of the Alligator River. The Alligator River is straight as an arrow, long and boring. Our entertainment was watching two F18’s practice their maneuvers overhead for an hour and squeezing out of the way when four high speed navy boats came zooming up behind us.

Then we got to Albemarle Sound. Unlike Pamlico Sound, the wind piped up, and we were able to sail, reefed down, all the way up to Coinjock. We decided that after two long days of sailing we would treat ourselves to a night on a dock. It was not to be. The only place with a dock is Coinjock Marina. Though we phoned ahead for reservations, no one called us back to confirm or deny us room on the dock. Their loss! Instead we took shelter from the wind behind a lovely island and spent a quiet night with the bugs, many, many bugs!

Our View
our view for more miles than I care to remember



The next day was exciting because we were headed for Norfolk. We caught up with Free Rider, a boat we had travelled with from Wrightsville Beach. He led us through the maze of ship yards, dry docks, lift bridges and tug boats. Norfolk waterways are utter madness after the solitude and remoteness of the last few weeks. But that is another story!

Osprey
osprey will make every marker their home Until next time…….

 

 

 

 



Until next time…….

- Longtime CY staffer Lynn Lortie and her husband Pat left Midland the summer of 2016 to make their way into the Great Loop and head out on a three year sailing odyssey. Follow their progress right here in CYOB.

Lynn Lortie

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