Saturday, April 19, 2008

Church Creek to Myrtle Beach

Days 164 – 166 April 17-18

April 17th - A Day to Remember
As we motored along, I found myself remembering my Grandmother Smith. Today was her birthday. I thought of the Hollyhocks in her backyard, making and bottling Sassafras Soda on her back porch, the ringer washing machine she pulled to the kitchen sink to fill and empty, the Mangle Machine she sat at to iron, her Player Piano and all the rolls of music I loved, the gauche lobster dish on her sideboard (that ended up in my house), her peddle Singer Sewing Machine… and many more things from decades ago that my children and grandchildren will never experience.

An Unnerving Experience
The peacefulness of Church Creek, the egrets, and my musings ended abruptly as we approached Isle of Palms Bridge when Bob smelled oil in the cabin. We quickly dropped the anchor just off the channel in 16 feet of water. I alerted the boats behind us on VHF we were anchored in the ICW with an engine problem. To add to the anxiety, our anchor was slowly dragging across the channel! What had been 15 feet was now 6 feet! By this time, Bob had discovered the source of the problem and it was almost resolved. My husband who meticulously checks the oil level daily before he starts the engine had forgotten to put the oil fill cap back on (the Yanmar engine needs the cap removed to get a correct oil level)!! Meanwhile, Towboat US is calling us on the radio asking if we need assistance. Thankfully I was able to respond, “No. but thanks for checking. We’ll be underway within 10 minutes.”

No Place to Anchor!
We had planned a long day, 72 statute miles, from Church Creek to Minim Creek. As we approached the Minim Creek anchorage at MM 415, the east side was filled with crab pots making it impossible to navigate. The sailboat ahead of us had tried to enter the west anchorage, turned around, and was now motoring south. As we passed, the Captain shouted, “Don’t try the west anchorage, it’s too shallow!” I thought, “Oh shoot! Now what?” It was already 4:30PM and we were 17 miles from Georgetown. Knowing many marinas close at 5PM, I looked ahead for another anchorage and found Butler Island at MM 396. We anchored there at 6:30PM, thanks to the current pushing us along at 9.6 mph.

As we left the Minim Creek anchorage, we knew there was a cable ferry crossing a few miles ahead in the Estherville Minim Creek Canal. As we approached, it was just getting ready to cross. The driver waved us through and then started his crossing, a very short one across the narrow canal. There were people walking on the ferry on our port side, and empty vehicles starboard.

Today was our best mileage ever in one day, a completely unplanned 92 miles!! Bob reminded me we also saw our best speed over ground late morning – a whooping 11.7 mph!!!! The favorable currents and tides allowed us to cover so much ground.

Sunset at Butler Island was beautiful. After a trying day, our Tempurpedic mattress felt awfully good. Our peaceful night was interrupted at 5:30AM by our anchor alarm (which only I heard). I quickly awakened Bob; however, Bob doesn’t awaken quickly. Forgetting he had closed the stateroom door to keep the heat in, he walked straight into it. That did wake him up a little. We were securely anchored with our tracks as we would expect. That’s the 2nd time the alarm has gone off, both times a false alarm.

April 18 – The Beautiful Waccamaw River
Mile after mile of pristine, isolated, natural beauty. Nothing but the blue sky, the river lined by Cypress trees, and eagles in their nests We played classical music in the cockpit and thoroughly enjoyed a spectacular morning.

At noon we stopped at the Bucksport Marina for refueling. With the Boat US discount of 10%, it was $3.75 gallon, cheaper than we have seen since leaving Key West. I bought two packages of their famous (on the ICW) “Bucksport Sausage,” which is now stored in our freezer.

By 2:30, thanks to another favorable current boosting our speed, we reached Coquina Yacht Club Marina in Myrtle Beach and tied up at their transient dock. Many of the boats here have a “mustache,” brown water stains on the bow. A thorough outside cleaning to get the discolored water and salt spray off, a quick polishing of the stainless pulpits, stanchions, ports, etc. a fast shower, and off to one of the best meals we’ve had on this trip – at Umberton’s Italian Restaurant, right next to the marina. The food was great, and the service matched the food.

No comments: