Sunday, November 16, 2008

On The Beach Again

Mile 455~ Dewees Creek, very near Isle of Palms and just north of Charleston harbor ~ post subtitle ~ Never a Dull Moment. In this photo you see 5 stays that go to the mast - if you look real carefully to the left of the most left stay is a white spec - it's a sailboat travelling theICW - we are in our anchorage- can you see all the protection? The few blades of grass that are meant to keep us safe from these winds that won't stop howling.

Saturday 11/15/08~One of those hard frustrating days on the water. We overslept – Friday night because the wind came up strong – we were up often checking our anchor and retrieving a fender we remembered we left over the side. At 4:30 we heard voices – in the anchorages you always pop up if you hear voices. It was Greg – one of the 40 knot gusts had twisted his anchor and he dragged more into the channel that is lined with commercial fishing boats. Not a big problem just not much fun to reset the anchor. We had blissfully not had our radio on and did not know that the big storm passing over with lightning and thunder had also put us under a tornado watch.
Our alarm went off at 5:30 but a quick snooze and suddenly it was 7. Argonauta was already slowly underway – we jumped into action, got our anchor up and got under way- making coffee and breakfast on the road. The current was against us all da meaning we cold only do 4.3 knots or so. The problem can be that there are long stretches where anchoring is not possible. Or there are anchorages that the holding is not good or there is no protection at all from the current wind direction. The winds blew very strong all day and we were headed right into them making our progress even more challenging. Gregg and Michelle were about an hour ahead of us. They called back to let us know some low water spots. Here we were again – going through a series of trick spots but at high tide – constantly calculating where we would be at low and it wasn’t good news.
At 3 Pm – sure enough in a spot where Greg had seen 5 ½ feet to 6 an hour before us – we grounded. A motorboat had also called back to us and tried to guide us through – we made it past 2 red markers that had caused others peril but we were travelling in a narrow river( at dead low ) , there are lots of rivers and creeks that intersect it. At each one there is shoaling and there are a few of these creeks and marshes that are open to the ocean. As the crow flies most of the day we were just 2 miles or less from the ocean. The tide pulls and pushes depending where the nearest outlet or river that flows to the sea is. The currents can be very strong. A Krogen trawler came up behind us – we radioed to try to help him through and he grounded behind as well. Two other motor oats came along and inched their was through reading us the depths as they went. The gave us a wake to try to bump us off – it worked for the Krogen. For us it pushed us quite close to the starboard bank. The Krogen gave us more information as he inched on. Alone again, 3:40 or so we thought we were really screwed. Dark would be coming soon, a storm was coming and we thought we were so close to the bank that we would have to wait quite a while for the tide. Don walked around the decks try to bounce the boat a little with his weight. We did think we felt it move so revved us in reverse (backing a double ender sailboat is a real joke ) ~ we moved – re ran up front, pulled the anchor, we did a circle in reverse the best we could hoping we were far enough into the deeper water – it worked – we were off and thanks to the Krogen slowly crept through where he had found just enough water.
The squall hit hard – I wear glasses and Don had to go below to get his rain gear. I could see the red mark in the distance but that was all – scared ot death I was going to ground us ~ Don got back at the helm but I had to steer him with the GPS – the rain was pelting so hard he could keep his eyes open – after just a few minutes the squall pushed away and it was just raining – we decided to keep on – keepin’ on and make it to our destination good Dewees creek where by the way I spent the worst night of our trip last year !! High winds, opposing tied, wind and waves – Yippee for Dewees !

{ Just as I was finishing this Clunk ! – something hit our boat – it’s Sunday morning we are at anchor, the wind still blowing about 44 degrees – the current here is very strong – we are having a day of rest (that’s what the boys call it ) Don flew off his bunk I grabbed jackets, we started the engine and stood in the cockpit trying to figure out what was wrong. We are in a rare 20 feet of water - We were very close to one of the banks – our anchor line had grabbed a cab pot – the boat just tosses back and forth with such strong wind, current and tide so the crab pot line twisted and twisted and eventually pulled the pot up and it hit the boat. It’s freezing our in the wind but I stood at the helm while Don tried to pull the anchor, cut the line and figure out which way we should go – the current was taking us downwind so we just let it not wanting the get the line he cut from the pot around the prop. We got as far as Argonauta – we are the only 2 here this morning. – put it in gear – went back upstream and anchored – or tried to – it was impossible to stay headed into the wind the current is just too strong so we had to just let the anchor drag and hope it would catch – it did – we think we are set but will keep a close watch all day as the tide changes. Hopefully this afternoon the winds will soften. Greg heard the commotion, came out to tell us just how exciting our life seems to be – we laughed thinking some of you think we are just traveling a ditch and planning our next cocktail party – we could use a day like that ! }
Stay tuned - tomorrow - Monday we head out to sea - we will go out the Charleston inlet and come in at Fernandina Beach,FL on Tuesday - estimating 28 hours - my first off shore experience.

our anchorage views of the marsh

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