…like low tide on a mud flat.

We were making steady progress out of Charleston so we decided to push beyond our planned anchorage on the way to Beaufort, SC.  Just as we entered our last narrow channel, I retreated to avoid a barge plowing north, blocking our way (A sailor always demurs to a vessel with Restricted Ability to Maneuver — RAM).  It was low tide (we wanted to reach a fixed bridge said to have only 63’-64’ clearance, not the published 65’) so I powered up as soon as the barge passed to get us back into the low tide shallow channel, hoping to scrape through. I cut too close to the first green can channel marker at the entrance and promptly took Dolce Vento aground on a mud flat.  If we waited a couple of hours we would probably would float off, assuming the wind did not push us deeper into the flat.  I was hopeful so I pointed the bow toward the channel, turned off the engine, sat back and began the wait.

Then, like a gift from the heavens, a white-haired, wizened ol’ salt of a sailor alone aboard his boat, Different Drummer, motored past and shouted, “Need some help?”  We couldn’t fathom how his smaller, lighter and aged sailboat could move our heavy, longer Dolce Vento, but we were no fools and yelled back “Thank you! Yes.”  He turned Different Drummer around, saddled up to our starboard side, threw us bow and stern lines, and after we put a couple of fenders between our hulls, this good Samaritan and I gunned our engines in musical unison, turned hard to starboard and popped us out of that mud flat just like a teenager might pop a pimple.  Then, I religiously followed him through that narrow channel to avoid another grounding, and then successfully passed under that bridge, which, surprise, had a low tide miraculous 67’ clearance.

In all the commotion we didn’t get our hero’s name, nor did we have an opportunity to take pictures of him and Different Drummer.  We will pay his kindness forward, now that we know what is possible.  It was a good day in the end; we were happy that we did what we did.  The evening anchorage was magnificent, calming us all.  We got to Beaufort by noon the next day because of the extra miles we traversed after that bridge.  You never know when the gods will smile upon you.

In Beaufort, SC, we’re focusing on brunch and lunch, enjoying southern cruise and we’ve had a chance to visit with Judy, my friend of many, many years.  Seeing her again warms my heart. In Charleston we did the tourist thing – you know, a museum or two, a plantation, a funky bar constructed out of a church, a walk along the battery with its old side porch mansions, and a trip through the old slave market to buy spices and presents. 

We’ll celebrate an “alternative” Thanksgiving at anchor on the way to Brunswick, GA, our last stop before Florida.  Perhaps we’ll be able to put away our woolly caps and foul weather gear soon.  One can always dream, can’t one?

All the pictures of pleasant passages, red sunsets and golden sunrises do not reflect the uneasy feelings that have bubbled up in me since we arrived in Beaufort.  In my fantasy life, I never lose my enthusiasm, however, in this real life, my enthusiasm curbed a bit as I agonized the next legs of the journey, given the winds, weather, ICW shoaling conditions, and tides.  Even with our detailed trip plan (what we plan to do) and log (what we actually did), traveling a day at a time, a growling of “what’s next?” has erupted in my gut.  It’s source, we have diagnosed, is waiting — I am anxious after planning, then not executing for a day or two before we leave the dock.  It’s the old hurry up and wait syndrome that creates the feeling. The remedy, I believe, is to stop waiting so much, keep moving, find warm sunny weather and then find a respite to recoup, a “place to call home” for a while.   We’ve reserved a slip starting December 15 for a month at the Riviera Beach City Marina (Palm Beach area at Lake Worth).  The trip home for the Christmas and New Year holidays will bring smiles back to me as well.  Until then, we boogie on, one day at a time.

Charleston snaps

More Charleston snaps

And some of those traveling and anchoring scapes

And, finally we arrive in Beaufort, SC

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