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This year we’ve not felt the urge to push ourselves or the boat. There’s no specific plan other than to be north of Florida and we’ve accomplished that already. Hoping to resist complication and just be, we’re patiently allowing opportunity to be our inspiration. It’s said, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”: We’re prepared and opportunity will appear sooner or later … so maybe we’ll get lucky — maybe we already are.
No, we’ll not put a lot of distance behind us this way, but we’re not sure where we’re going anyway so it really doesn’t matter.
On this day we’re tied up at Harborwalk Marina in Georgetown, SC.
We’ve spent time here before and found the town to be a genuinely friendly little place. Just off the beaten path and very quiet, there’s a beautiful little harbor. On the other side of Front St the neighborhood is covered up in history, many of the homes were built in the 1700s and they’re kept historically correct. Down the street we’ve found a number of bonafide low country restaurants, clothing stores, a barber, and almost anything one might need. Reckoning the whole might be better than the sum of it’s parts, chances are, Georgetown may offer us an opportunity to get acquainted.
The getting here has been good. We’re enjoying the trip and the boat seems to be happy as well. The long run up the Florida coast was a good idea, but for now we’ll do a few short legs and take it easy. We’ve jokingly tagged this portion of our cruise, The Shrimp and Grits Run — and for good reason.
⌘ catching up
Done with Florida and arrived Georgia, we stay in the Brunswick area for a few days. Having been Mel’s hometown and much time spent here in the past, it’s familiar to us.
Over the years there were many rich memories formed in Brunswick. Mostly simple pleasures like shelling peas or heading shrimp and cleaning crabs; our best memories are from the many Christmases we spent here. These big holiday get-togethers always ended with the traditional Oyster Roast. On a cold night family and friends would gather around a hot oak fire and drink a lot of beer as we shucked and devoured bushels of fire roasted oysters. Mel’s Dad loved putting all of this together and he worked hard at it: Sourcing the oysters, building the fire, even cleaning up the aftermath was a task he thoroughly enjoyed.
We all miss Mr. Ralph. Yes, Brunswick is familiar to us.
Like many times before, we shopped the Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning to buy fresh peas and boiled peanuts. Local Georgia Cracker gourmet delights.
Next, we motored over to St Simons Island and Golden Isles Marina. Borrowing the marina courtesy car, we had lunch at Barbara Jeans – Shrimp and Grits and Crab Cakes.
A St Simons tradition, a fine little southern style family restaurant.
A little work was done for the marina then a quick weather check showed the seas were gonna be favorable. It was decided to move on to Hilton Head.
Leaving St Simons at sunrise on a falling tide we caught a nice ride with the current all the way out the long ship channel.
So here we are, Georgetown – livin’ easy. It’s a cool little town and we’re thinking we should to get to know it better.
So far every restaurant has been better than the last. (wonder if they have a gym)
The best to date— Shrimp and Grits with Pork Sauce — The River Room.
In the meantime, life’s pretty good.
Something worth reading: What’s the hurry?
It’s been a while since we’ve done an all-nighter. Several reasons why, but 2 in particular stand out.
Number one: Radar, our senior pup, has apparently developed sea-sickness in his old age. He’s a smart dog so this all could be a show of protest, however he becomes distressed and his old heart does race; that’s not good.
2. My old ass. I once pulled all-nighters for a living and was quite good at it, but that was long-long ago and I was a different person then.
Mel and I enjoy running our boat alone; no crew, no friends aboard, just two dogs and two folks on a boat. This way our unplanned/wishy-washy cruising lifestyle inconveniences no one. While this tack does indulge our desire for independence, it also means we must do it all and that can sometimes be tiresome.
So, yes, running all night will wear us out, but after adding up the pros and cons; bypassing the Florida ICW and running outside in the ocean with a well timed full moon under clear skies and fairly flat/following seas seemed the best option.
Leaving Ft Pierce was easy. Out the inlet, the forecast flat seas were as predicted so we turned north and stayed close to shore. We caught a happy current and enjoyed 10+ knots all the way up to Brunswick.
As we round Cape Canaveral there’s Chester Shoal. One can either stay offshore or run in toward the beach and Kennedy Space Center to get around it. This time we chose the latter. It was cool to see the Space Center from this perspective.
Obviously no rockets were teed up for launch, but the historic significance of the place whetted my imagination.
Once past the Space Center, other than a another stunning sunset, there wasn’t much remarkable.
We stayed within a few miles of shore in order to use cell phones and internet; both worked well almost all the way. Almost zero traffic once darkness fell, though there was a tug out a couple of mile making about the same speed, he was heading north as well so we paralleled almost all the way to Jacksonville.
Somewhere out from St Augustine at around 4AM we did encounter a fleet of Shrimpers. I tried to get a photograph but the darkness won and the below pic was the best I got.
With their bright lights against the dark night the visual was surreal, otherworldly; it would have been an interesting photo.
Then that fat moon we’d been enjoying dropped below the horizon and everything went dark. It took a bit to acclimate to the black night – which brought about a renewed interest in the radar screen – , but after a couple of hours the sun made an appearance and all was well once again.
The comfort that sunrise brings is always soothing after a long night
It’s all right
After a while, we made the long approach to St Simons, turned, and motored under The Lanier Bridge to Brunswick Landing Marina. Ralph was waiting at our slip and after tying up, we shut down, Mel made one of her famous celebratory Bloodies, and my tired old ass caught some Zzzzsss while Mel took the boys for their well deserved walk.
Just before falling asleep I was contemplating my weariness after the long night and calculating where we’d be if we had run the ICW.
Our Florida ICW Milk Run – Ft Pierce, then Daytona… then St Augustine… then a long day just to be where we are now. 3 days – Long, winding, skinny water — not to mention the fuel and marina costs.
So in hindsight; yes, we’re fortunate to have long range capabilities and there is no rest better than this.
Radar? He did alright, though he’ll never let on.
To? -As I’m writing this we’re tied up at Ft Pierce enjoying the company of those darn Kiwis aboard ‘Southern Star’.It’s always fun to catch up with Jenny and Ted. They’ve just finished a pretty extensive run of the Bahamas so plenty of island st…
Marina Cam at Herrington Harbour South Marina. One of the many cams the good folks at HHS had onSpot install. Watching these birds build their nest is fascinating.Thanks Herrington Harbour – Very Cool Link to other onSpot wifi Marina Cams http:…
Brunswick, GA — Tied up at St Simons; a Golden Isles sunset reflecting off the sound, pelicans and gulls ending the day doing what it is they do, all appears peaceful. Though, just a couple days ago, Thanksgiving Day, this was a different picture all together. A damp northerly wind was blowing hard and there was no sunset to be enjoyed, just gray, grayer, then darkness and cold.
In several ways, this trip is winding down.
Leaving Beaufort: With winds and seas in the unsettled state they were in, the choices were to run the ICW or stay put. Staying put was no longer an option.
Motoring south and winding down the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, there are many bends and curves, the shoals around every ocean inlet must be taken seriously, and almost every mile of the way there’s some obstacle that must be overcome. Most are not as precarious as reputed (ActiveCaptain), but all bets are off, you’re compelled to give every one of these complications your attention or one of them could make for a very bad day. Stress.
(Hindsight is 20-20: Unless there’s an unusually low tide, if you stay in the center of the channel there’s little to worry about.)
The stretch between Beaufort and Cape Fear is crossed with bridges all seemingly set up on schedules that are timed to penalize any boat requiring an opening—of course a fierce current is always pushing as you approach them and the incommunicado bridge tender’s watch invariably runs 5 minutes slow.
Needless to say, if one has taken on the mindset to get home, this is a chore, and this portion of the ICW is not much for stopping and smelling the roses so… Push.
Past the Cape Fear River and back into the ICW, St James Marina is just a short way. A nicely manicured marina with an excellent restaurant onsite.
The Southport to Georgetown, SC run is not nearly as bad as it’s reputation. The water’s fairly deep and there are fewer shoals to overthink. Once pass Myrtle Beach, other than strong currents, this bit is not bad at all. It’s nice, actually.
Osprey Marina is a good stop. Tucked back into a forest of low country cypress trees is a little sanctuary of a marina. A pleasant stop that’s out of the current and staffed by nice folks who are happy to give you a hand tying up.
Back in the ICW and a full day’s run in deep water is Georgetown, SC. Harborwalk Marina is the nicest and closest marina to the restaurants and shops that Georgetown has to offer. A charming little town that’s at least worth a couple of days.
The next morning, looking across the harbor at a stack towering over a nearby mill, the winds seemed to have settled, the smoke bellows straight up towards the clouds.
The run out Winyah Bay is uneventful as is the run into Charleston and all the way to Ashley Marina.
The winds were relenting and the seas stayed somewhat still. Leaving Charleston Bay and easing out the inlet, all remains calm and the next leg down to Hilton Head is an easy day.
Soon however, the blow’s back and the affected seas have picked up considerably; the pleasant days in the ocean now turn less than so, but still better than working the ICW.
The next run, Hilton Head to Brunswick, offered up quite a bit more texture.
Plowing away from Hilton Head’s Calibogue Sound and out Tybee Roads, the approach was rough and busy. With northerly winds the following sea brought on nice speed and St Simons Sound got closer sooner than expected.
This same strong north to south wind created continuously tall nasty breakers all the way past St Simons. About 7 miles of contending with a beam bashing sea once again makes this a less than pleasurable day.
Though once it’s done – It’s done
Easing under the Sidney Lanier Bridge you’ll find Brunswick Landing Marina. A nice community of a marina that’s quite large. – Free Beer 24/7 – Nirvana for many.
= = = = = =
We stayed at Brunswick Landing for a few days and had a nice time while getting a bit of work done. We’ve tied up here before but it was a long time back. 14 years ago we brought the original Istaboa, a 62 Offshore, to downtown Brunswick and celebrated Melonie’s mother’s 80 birthday. The place hasn’t changed much since then… just the names and faces.
Thanksgiving was aboard. Excellent Roast Beef for dinner then a few episodes of the Netflix series, Alias Grace. Brunswick Landing did put on a nice Thanksgiving feast for the boaters, but it was rainy and cold out so we decided to lay low with the pups and enjoy ourselves.
We’ve now moved over to Morningstar Golden Isles Marina to stage our departure for Florida as soon as possible.
Brunswick marks the end of a long nautical business trip. A tour to visit the increasing number of marinas that we do business with as well as those we’d like to build a relationship. We’ve caught up with many old friends and made several new contacts. It’s time to stop for a while and take stock of our labors.
This little marina WiFi company is a win for all those it touches; we’re proud of onSpot and it’s service.
This trip is also winding down for Mel and me.
Personally, I’m ready to be back home in Jupiter. To walk with my dogs on the warm sunny beach and sleep in a king size bed, to spend all the time I want in a large hot shower and have a car at my disposal; all the trapping that Mel and I happily left behind last May.
Mel is not quite as pleased as I am about tying up Istaboa, but me thinks she’ll enjoy all these things as well … in time.
This life is in our DNA, it’s not a hobby and not an item on a bucket list to check off, but sometimes, stepping away makes it all just that much better.
Something I wrote a few years back:
And, yes I know, there are those who feel there’s no better life than full time living aboard our boats, but we’ve been doing this cruising thing for many years and we like to think of the boat life as a dream being realized. Though sometimes, for us anyway, it’s fun to hop on the bus and say, “there’s no place like home”, and our dream remains floating somewhere awaiting our return.
So yes, we’re happy to be heading home and now, conveniently, our the boat is just minutes away and we see it almost everyday.
There are a few projects needed to be done; a radar that blinks, electrical gremlins, but all in all Istaboa has been as kind to us as we’ve been to her. She likes to be run and enjoyed; we’ve been doing just that.
Like us, she also enjoys warm weather and Jupiter’s pleasant winter is only a few hundred miles away.