Monday, June 29, 2009

Georgia in the Rearview Mirror

We left Stephanie and Bob's dock in Midway, Georgia on Friday but not before one last dinner Thursday night on Gypsies with the hungry and temporarily boatless ones (September Song was getting its bottom painted at the Hinckley Yacht Yard in Thunderbolt, GA). We were only too glad to welcome them aboard, especially when we saw their sign - how could anyone resist?? (it also said thirsty down below and THAT we could relate to!!!)
How could we say no to those faces?
The next morning bright and early we set off for Thunderbolt - they were going to splash September Song at high tide around noon. We had a full compliment of crew on board - namely the whole September Song gang including Cassie and Godiva, and a bunch of grasshoppers we hadn't been able to get rid of yet! The boat kitties were a little put out that we had allowed DOGS on board - I mean can you imagine the indignity! At first they just looked out at poor Cassie and Godiva with kitty contempt since the dogs had to stay outside but eventually they decided they didn't even want to see them so went downstairs and slept on our bed the rest of the trip.
"You brought DOGS onto MY boat?"
"I'll just ignore them!"
Meanwhile all the dogs really wanted was to make new friends - they would sit outside the back or pilothouse doors staring at the boat kitties and occasionally barking a hello - the boat kitties were having none of it!! So the dogs had to be content chasing the odd grasshopper or barking at the gorgeous osprey in their nests atop the channel markers or playing with the dolphins who frolicked in our bow wake! I think they were very glad to finally get home when September Song was once again in the water - sorry our girls didn't make you feel more welcome Godiva and Cassie!!!

Watching them put September Song back in the water was quite something - she just barely fit into their big 50 ton lift - there were but inches to spare!! But with oversight and direction from the captain, they got her back into the water with amazing speed and ease and soon enough she was tied up to the dock looking pretty as you please!
"Be careful with my baby!"
"Good job fellows"
After settling in and turning on the air conditioning for the boat kitties (we don't use it often - only when we are at a dock with free electricity - but it has been brutally hot down here and it's a treat for them especially when we are off the boat and have to close doors!), the human crew all descended on Tubby's Tank House for some refreshments - several cold draft beers, bacon cheeseburgers and mahi sandwiches had us feeling half human again!
Bob, Stephanie and Doug at Tubby's
Watching the weather forecast on the TV at the bar which was calling for a major thunder and lightning storm with up to 50 knot winds, made us do a major beeline back to the boat (we are back to hoofing it everywhere so there's no escaping the elements). We managed to dodge the lightning show although it was quite impressive and really too close for comfort and boarded our boats just as the first quarter sized raindrops began to fall!! The storm wasn't nearly as bad as predicted but we were all happy to be safe and snug aboard and tied up to a dock rather than on anchor.

Click here to see a Google map of our location at Hinckley Services in Thunderbolt, GA

The next morning we headed up the ICW for Beaufort, SC (pronounced Bew'-fort, never to be confused with Boe'-fort as in Beaufort, NC). We had a great run through northern Georgia with its ever present marshes and abundant wildlife - the dolphins surrounded us while white and blue herons and ibis lined the water's muddy edge.

After playing "frogger" across the Savannah River with a fast moving tug and a huge container ship, we entered into South Carolina - it was a Saturday and a beautiful day so all the little go fast boats were out racing around us as if we were standing still! No worries mon.... We passed through Hilton Head and out around Dolphin Head into the Port Royal Sound and finally up the Beaufort River past Paris Island where the marines have their enormous training facility. Just as I came on watch (of course), I viewed an entire armada of sailboats - they looked like fleas on the water - oh goody, a regatta!!
Now just how do we get through there?
Talk about frogger! We made our way through that one relatively easily as the race markers were laid outside of the channel so we had some room to maneuver but we were not to be so lucky next time!! As we approached Beaufort, another regatta was in process only this time the race was across the channel and back!!! There must have been a hundred lasers careening back and forth and sideways in front of us - the race marshall told us to come on through slowly and the racers would get out of our way - NOT!!!! I felt like we were playing twister maneuvering Gypsies through the maze of largely clueless (or so it appeared to us especially when one of the little boats stopped - yes stopped in front of us and looked up at me as if to say, what do I do now? - hello, getting out of the way of a 66,000 pound boat would be a pretty good start!!!!) After I went around another kid, he turned back into us so I yelled down to him that he really needed to watch where he was going - his response was to tell me that he was still racing....face it kid, if I run over you in this boat, you won't win the race anyways!!! We finally made it through the kiddie regatta and got ourselves tied up to the city docks - definitely time for a coldie or two!!!
September Song and Gypsies in the Palace invade Beaufort

Click here to see a Google map of our location at the Downtown Marina in Beaufort, SC

That evening started with app's and a few drinks on September Song and moved on to Hemingways for happy hour where we enjoyed not only 2-for-1 drinks but several different flavored jello shots!!
Tammy, Doug and Stephanie enjoy drinks at Hemingways
"I think I'll try one of those."
Bob even joined me for a round while Doug and Stephanie just shook their heads at us "kids"!!! You can grow up but stay immature indefinitely - heh, someone's got to do it!! Next it was on to Luther's for dinner and to hear the band - but before we got there, we passed a huge wedding in progress down at the pavilion on the water. We watched the enormous wedding party from our ringside seats and offered the new bride and groom our best wishes from afar - the kids in the wedding party seemed to be having a ball!
I Do!
Luther's was a great spot for an outside dinner and then we watched the band play for a little while - the long day finally overcame us so we headed back to Gypsies (without stopping for more jello shots I might add - although one of us who shall remain nameless was sorely tempted)!

Yesterday we had a wonderful steam up to Tom's Point Creek where we are now anchored in peaceful splendor - just the two of us and the millions of herons, cranes, laughing gulls, turtles and schools of fish - this place is a veritable wild kingdom!! Along the way yesterday we were entertained by not only pods of dolphin but the laughing gulls that trailed our boat, swooping down into our wake to scoop up the little silver fish that we stirred up - a whole gang of them followed us for miles feasting the whole way!!!
"Hey, Gypsies, can we tag along?"
Feasting on the ICW
We think we are finally grasshopper-less - we sent the last one that was clinging to our flagstick swimming yesterday and we haven't noticed any others (but they are tricky little guys so we'll stay vigilant).

Last night we had an anchor dance watch (as we call it) since we are in a narrow creek where the current runs strong and every 6 hours flips our boat around bringing our boat perilously close to the muddy shore (OK maybe it just looks that close!) - somehow at 3:00 am, the shore looks even closer!! But our anchor is holding like a champ and we plan to drop the dink today (after a beautiful sunrise) and go explore this amazing river system - we even saw a tiny beach on the way, on which, if sun pig has anything to say about it, we may find ourselves in a little while with a coldie...
Sunrise in Tom's Point Creek

Tomorrow we head on to Charleston, one of my favorite places on our trip down!!!

Click here to see a Google map of our location in Tom's Point Creek

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