Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Charleston Invasion

I've been looking forward to coming back to Charleston ever since we stopped here on our trek southward last November - but we had one more glorious day in Tom Point Creek first! On our way into the Creek, we had passed a couple boats anchored off a little beach - so we dropped the dinks and set out in search of some sand between our toes. Everyone but the September Song boat dogs was a little bummed at the "beach" and I do use that term lightly - it was more like a small landing area of mud and really brown yucky water. However, Cassie and Godiva, who had not been swimming since we were in the Bahamas, were overjoyed and literally leapt into the water from 100 yards offshore as soon as Bob throttled the motor back - they were happy, happy girls!!! Cassie was instantly off exploring the glorious treasures of the beach (nasty smelling horseshoe crabs and muddy, broken shells among others) while Godiva joyously chased after her ball (over and over again!!) OK so even if us beach bums weren't going to throw down chairs and sit for a spell, the dogs were in heaven. After they frolicked for awhile, it was time to explore the other creeks and beaches around the area.
The Beach...
Cassie and Godiva enjoying the water

Big Boat Bob with his GPS on Half Note led the way - soon enough we were bumping our way through some little creek (unlike most creeks, here in SC they dredge the ICW and appear to put the spoil in the creeks so you can have 10 feet of water one minute and then less than 2 feet the next - made for an interesting journey!) in search of a river. When we heard the banjos, we turned back....OK just kidding, but the creek was so overgrown that we barely had enough room for the dinghies to get through and our motor prop got overrun with reeds so we turned around before reaching the river.
Bob and the dogs exit Banjo Creek
Next it was on to another creek which was wider but not too much deeper so we went off in search of several beaches I had seen for another romp with the dogs - turns out the "beaches" were just rocks and shells so nowhere we could land. We finally headed back to the beach we had stopped at initially for more play time with Cassie and Godiva - Cassie "caught" a live horseshoe crab so she was loving life even though she really didn't know what to make of it!!
Cassie found a horsehoe crab
On our way back to the boats, we headed further up into Tom Point Creek which was teeming with splendid wildlife and old southern homes - what a hidden treat!

We arrived back at the boats sunburned (Doug), thirsty (both of us) and having had a marvelous adventure although we do really miss the beaches in the Bahamas with their glorious white sand and that crystal gin clear water!! I hear the beaches are better in the Chesapeake - here's hoping!

That night we had yet another biblical thunderstorm - we have heard that the winds reached up to 50-60 knots here in Charleston, and while we didn't have it quite so bad in the Creek, squalls are never too much fun when you are on anchor! But it did cool things off somewhat so we woke to an absolutely beautiful morning for our steam to Charleston. What an amazing day on the water although we were slogging into the current almost the whole way there - can you say 6 to 6.5 knots (that is until it was time to dock - of course!!!) We were traveling through the real low country of South Carolina at low tide - so the waters were shallow and surrounded by mud flats. Part of the waterway we traveled through was called Church Flats - because it is flat as far as the eye could see and supposedly because you would travel to church on one tide and come home on the next tide (that's 6 hours which is way too long for any mass in my view! you'll see my irreverent side kicking up again in Charleston....) The always amazing birds and dolphins kept us quite entertained although there's not much between Tom Point Creek and Charleston to speak of except mudflats and miles and miles of marsh!!

Hitting the Ashley River which lies on one side of Charleston is a really beautiful sight - ahead of you is the Battery, a section of Charleston with gorgeous ante-bellum homes and parks, off to your right is Fort Sumter where the first shots of the Civil War were fired, across the harbor is the battleship the Yorktown, and a spectacular bridge spanning the Cooper River!
The Battery
The Yorktown across the harbor
Bridge spanning the Cooper River
We both got tied up and Bob and Stephanie came over to check out the gremlins in our air conditioning units - sometimes the A/C works and sometimes not. While Doug and Bob where checking out the A/C motor, two kids came by and asked if they could take some video on the boat for the girl's music video - turns out it was an aspiring singer/songwriter named Kry Rite and her producer Jake and they needed some shots of Kry Rite on a boat singing her new song for her music video. Why not??? So we spent an hour listening to her sing as she reclined on the flybridge of Gypsies - she has a dynamite voice so check out her website for more info on her music - Too weird and pretty cool!

The four of us next set off to invade Charleston's french quarter where there are lots of really funky little bars, shops and restaurants. Our first stop was Tbonz for microbrewed beers (after all it was happy hour!!) and home-made potato chips with melted blue cheese!!! (we remembered them from our last stop in Charleston and they didn't disappoint!!)
Enjoying the Blue Cheese Potato Chips at TBonz
We then walked through the central open air markets with their stands of locally made jewelry, crafts and sweet grass bowls. We managed to walk out of there with just a $3 rope sailors bracelet to replace the one that I got in St. Mary's back in October which had gotten fairly grungy! We were not really in a shopping mood UNTIL we spied the mad hatter store!!! Bob has been in search of a new hat to replace the one that all but wore out over in the Bahamas so we wandered in and Bob proceeded to try on numerous styles and colors of hats. We're going to leave it to all of our loyal blog followers to pick which hat they think Bob should get and we'll go back and get it before we leave Charleston - simply reply to the blog with your choice from the photos below!! We all have our personal favorite but Bob has agreed to go with the popular choice (he just doesn't know this yet!!!)
Bob's Hat #1 - the 1920's gangster look
Bob's Hat #2 - Charlie Chaplin
Bob's Hat #3 - the Belgium Look
Bob's Hat #4 - Squiggy
Bob's Hat #5 - Skipper Bob

Who knew shopping could make you so thirsty - so we hit Wild Wings for some adult beverages and of course wings (half General Tso and half Slayer - yes they were truly hot!!!)
Bob waits for his beer at Wild Wings
We were on our way for one last stop at this very cool looking rooftop bar when we came upon a church (complete with stain glass windows) that had actually been converted into a bar - now I ask you how could I pass that up (here's that irreverent side of me coming out - haven't you always wanted to drink in church??)
The Mud River Bar & Grille
Anyways it was still happy hour so martinis were half price - how could we pass up chocolate martinis (3 of us couldn't) and Doug had a hard time saying no to a dirty martini from our cute waitress who told us she liked them really dirty.....I may find it necessary to attend daily mass while in Charleston - say around 4:00-8:00pm each day!!
Martinis in Church
On to our rooftop bar (had you really thought we'd forgotten it?) - to get there we had to enter this rather stuffy hotel/restaurant where the doorman promptly told Doug and Bob in quite a snooty tone to take their hats off...that didn't bode well!! Nor did the $14 martinis (we'd just paid $4 for our delectable chocolate ones across the street in the church!) What were we thinking? We really don't fit in with that crowd anymore - who wants a $10 glass of wine when we can have $2 drafts just for the privilege of seeing out over the city - so we took our pictures and skeedaddled! Heading back to the boats we passed the Noisy Oyster Bar and of course had to stop in for some oysters and an amazing hot crab, shrimp and parmesan dip for those of us non-oyster lovers (ie me!)
Drinks and Oysters at the Noisy Oyster
What a great way to invade Charleston!!! and we are here for several more days - we'll let you know if the city is still standing!!

Today we are off to see the Sumter Museum and tour Fort Sumter - we figure that after a night like last night, we need to even the balance with a little culture. I'm sure we'll squeeze in a lot of fun while we're at it though.

PS; Don't forget to vote for your favorite hat!!!

Click here to see a Google map of our location at the Charleston Maritime Center

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