49 McClellanville, SC to Jekyll Island, GA

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The tide was out as we got ready to leave McClellanville at first light. The creek channel seemed to be about 1 inch too shallow for Tranquility. We plowed it a little deeper as we pushed our way out through the soft mud on the bottom. Further down the creek we came upon a scene where you would loved to have heard the story. Hard aground, high up on a bank was a shrimp boat. A long line stretched off into the saw grass from the boat’s trawl outrigger. Without the line the boat would have rolled over. Sure would have been interesting to hear the story about how he got so hard aground and what it took to get the line rigged in the swampy grass.

A few years ago we had visited Charleston by car and felt like we’d seen the city. Now coming ashore as pedestrians we realized how much we had missed. We set off exploring, enjoying the historic section. Many towns are only able to preserve a few square blocks. Charleston has a few square miles of gracious old southern style homes.

One afternoon we signed up for a walking tour and had a fun time learning about some of the homes and the people who built them. The splendid porches, we learned, were always on the southern side to catch prevailing breeze. It was considered bad manners to put windows on the northern side of the houses because then you could see what your neighbors were doing when sitting out on the porch.

One evening, Toby and Sonya from I Gotta Go invited us to join them on the roof of one of the hotels to watch the sunset. There’s always something special about sitting out in the open on top of a building enjoying the view and having a drink. In front of us we could watch the freighters coming and going along with the ferries heading to Fort Sumter. To the side and behind, the roofs of the historic homes poked up through live oaks. Church steeples stood out providing landmarks for easy orientation for where we had walked during the day. The steeples had served the same function during the Civil War when Charleston was under siege. Then Union artillerymen used the steeples as landmarks for aiming cannons.

Heading for Beaufort, SC we stopped short, anchoring on the Ashepoo River. The night was so peaceful we hardly knew we were on a boat. There was one negative, we were back in no-see-um country. On quiet warm evenings, the little buggers come out. It’s a small insect, with a big bite. We were thankful for the enclosed cockpit with screens.

In the land of 7-foot tides and strong currents, docking can sometime be an adventure. At Hilton Head Island, Skull Creek Marina assigned Blitzen and us to slips on opposite sides of the main dock. We were lucky and entered the slip going up current without incident. Blitzen under estimated the current pushing them toward the slip. They came in too close, tried backing out, lost out against the current and ended up pinned against a piling and the stern of the boat in the next slip. Help materialized from all over the marina. Hard pushing and rapid work with boat hooks to hold Blitzen off allowed her to creep away from the piling and up against the current. A second try and she was finally into the slip. The next morning, the situation was reversed. We had the current against us for backing out of the slip. We slightly underestimated the current and held our breath as Tranquility barely cleared the piling we were being pushed toward.

We found a different Hilton Head Island from the one we’d seen years ago by car. Then we had been turned off by high-class luxury. This time we found tasteful, but still expensive homes spread out through the pine forest and along the edge of golf course fairways. Landscaping was beautiful, and we enjoyed our two-mile bike ride to the stores. We found biking on Hilton Head very interesting and enjoyable. We’ll come back again to explore another section of the island in the future.

When we stopped at Isle of Hope I rode my bike to the grocery store for milk and came back with a new laptop. We had started having laptop problems all the way back in Hampton. Storage had filled up and wiped out part of the operating system. What I thought was a logical progression of fix attempts made it worse. I finally took the laptop to a small computer store near the grocery store to have Windows 95 reloaded. While I was there, I talked myself into a new laptop. We are now a two-computer family.

Our exploring at Isle of Hope narrowed down because Ruth’s back had progressively become very painful. Rest and short walks helped. While Ruth rested her back, I did some fiberglass work to make one of our storage lockers gas tight for holding propane tanks. Slowly we are getting everything in place to switch over from CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) to propane.

We had a farewell dinner with Blitzen while anchored at New Teakettle Creek. We went all out and had a progressive dinner. Judy and Laurent dinghied over to Tranquility for happy hour while we enjoyed the sunset. Then we dinghied over to Blitzen for a gourmet beans and hot dog dinner. We said our good byes because in the morning Blitzen heads for Brunswick to leave the boat while they head off to visit family for Thanksgiving.

We tied up at Golden Isles Marina on the other side of the bridge from St Simon Island for a few days. Ruth’s back was feeling a little better so we tried going for a short bike ride. Found the small St Simon’s downtown area and a funky restaurant for lunch. The tide was out and we walked the beach, watching a shrimp boat running within 100 feet of shore. Then headed back to Tranquility to rest Ruth’s back.

The next morning we enjoyed a danish, muffin and newspaper provided by the marina. Ruth’s back was much better, so we went off to explore both St Simon and Sea Island. This time I was unlucky and my bike got a flat tire. We were resigned to a long walk home when we found a bike shop. We ate lunch while our flat was fixed and then headed off to explore Sea Island. Crossing the bridge to Sea Island we came to the Cloisters, a very large, very opulent resort. That set the theme for Sea Island. The homes we rode past were very large and very expensive. Many didn’t seem like they fit the southern character of the island. We pushed on, turning around only when we ran out of road at the end of the island. When we got back to Tranquility, we measured the distance traveled on our computer map and found we had ridden slightly over twenty miles. Needless to say we slept well that evening.

Our four-mile passage from St Simon to Jekyll Island was delayed by dense fog. Once it lifted, we made the short trip and tied up at Jekyll for a stay of about a week. Jekyll has a different character from the other islands. Owned by the State of Georgia and considered a state park, development has been carefully controlled. As a result, the island has a very quiet, laid back feeling. We’ll do our best to match that feeling for the next week.

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