Started: ICW Mile 393 Schooner Creek 33°27.63′N 079°10.34′W
Anchored: ICW Mile 454 Long Creek 32°49.24′N 079°45.12′W
Log: 57.3 nm. Time 9½ hr. Engine 9½ hr.
We're within sight of Charleston's bridges and the loom of the city lights.
With luck, we'll make Charleston by Thanksgiving. Tomorrow.
We could have stayed in Schooner Creek to avoid today's nasty headwind down Winyah Bay. But tomorrow, Thursday, promises to be bitterly cold. Who wants to drive the boat all day in near freezing temperatures?
The Commodore wanted to know exactly what wind speed and how long it would take to transit Winyah Bay. Based on that, she looked at some anchorages between the Santee Rivers and Charleston that looked promising.
Her orders? Go while the going is good. Even if the wind was against us, it wouldn't be against us all day. And it wasn't going to be near freezing.
The Schooner Creek exit didn't go as badly as I had envisioned.
We were up at 05:00 breakfasted and ready for Nautical Dawn. Nautical dawn is 48 minutes prior to sunrise. Nautical dawn is defined as sun 12° below the horizon; at the sun's pace of a 15° per hour, that's 48 minutes before real sunup.
About 6:15 more or less, we started hauling up the anchor. I could make out the banks of the creek in the gloom. I drove looking at the depth gauge mostly: sticking to the deepest available water.
No real problem. Whew. Not so bad a spot after all.
The Day's Distance
Winyah Bay was pleasant. Winds 10-15. Still warmish, but raining on-and-off. Low clouds in long streaks from horizon to horizon. We had an ebb tide that pushed us along at 8.1 knots.
Even into the ICW, we caught good ebb tides running down into the inlets. Of course, the ebb was against us going "up" from the inlet, but we'd crest the little watershed and run back down the next one at a good pace.
The ICW was — well — the ICW. We ran aground near G37 outside McClellanville. The fairway is pushed way to the north side of the channel and the chart shows a shoal that's not actually there. Essentially, you have to run down the mid-line between the previous mark and shore, not between shore and shore. And not based on the next mark which is too far away to be relevant.
There are other places between mile markers 430 and 450 where the fairway is hard to discern. We got in line behind another sailboat and followed them. They were in no particular hurry, so we kept our speed way down to match there's.
What good is it to go a little quicker and lose all the time getting off a mud bank?
Windy and Cold
As we chugged down the ditch, the wind steadily built. And built. And the temperatures dropped. And dropped. Arctic Cold. Blustery Conditions.
We had gusts over 30 throughout the afternoon. Not 30 knots of apparent wind: with us flying along at 7 knots the wind was really only 23. No. This was 30 knots for real blasting in over the beam. 30 knot winds are alarmingly powerful. We were happy to be hunkered down underneath the dodger.
We tried to imagine handling sails in that kind of wind. Dropping the main. Reefing the mizzen. Scary.
When we finally came into Long Creek — off Dewee's Creek — off the ICW — in the marshes behind Isle of Palms — we were freezing. It was cold and getting colder.
Time for hot cocoa with bourbon. And propane heaters. And wooly slippers. And fleece pants. Hot Soup with Biscuits.
Tomorrow, if we can get Mr. Lehman to start, we're only 15 miles from Charleston. 3 hours, perhaps, depending on how well we can time the Ben Sawyer Memorial Bridge opening.
|Depart||Started: ICW Mile 393 Schooner Creek 33°27.63′N 079°10.34′W|
|Arrive||Anchored: ICW Mile 454 Long Creek 32°49.24′N 079°45.12′W|