Chantal to Charleston


July 14, 2013 by Last Star blog

Chantal to Charleston

Well, you know the saying, the best laid plans…well, we had planned on moving up to Isle of Hope from St. Simons and spending a few days in Savannah then heading to Charleston.  That should have taken about 5 days.  We were checking the weather, as cruisers do (like a crack addict) and Hank sees that Chantal is a tropical storm and the most likely path puts it hitting Brunswick, Georgia just 4 days from now.  OH, LOVELY, I ADORE HURRICANES ON THE BOAT!  All plans are now to run, run, runaway (yes, we heard that one too in the bar the other day) to Charleston and skip Savannah.  Now this puts everyone’s plans in a tizzy as we were are moving up our Charleston plan by a week and Cole is trying to head our way from the DC area!  Instead of a leisurely sail we spend the next three days with each day being 12 hour marathons.

It was a lot of ICW.

It was a lot of rain.

What we did see and I wasn’t fast enough with the camera were: dozens of dolphin families, bunches of hot pink flamingoes, shrimpers, and 3 alligators (ee gad). There were also a gazillion no-see-ums and a fair amount of dragon flies. 7 13 blog photos 018

C'mon, don't you have like a million friends you can call?

C’mon, don’t you have like a million friends you can call?

Could have used an army of dragon flies, seriously, I was hiding under the covers one morning trying to find a bite-free zone.  At one point in the night one was in my ear and I had visions of the Twilight Zone episode with ear wig, needless to say it took me a while to fall back asleep.  For some reason, mosquitoes don’t bite me but they love Hank and no-see-ums love me…but not my husband.  Hmmn?  What does that say about our natures???

There is a real beauty to the ICW, when it is not raining it is a winding meandering river through lush green marshlands teeming with wildlife.  The graceful egrets hunting along the water, cranes stalking the flats at low tide, pelicans making their bombing runs, and of course the dolphins.  I tried to capture some of the beauty , the photos never do it justice.7 13 blog photos 027 7 13 blog photos 026

Some of the downsides of this kind of sailing(cruising) is navigating through very narrow and shallow passages.  One was called Hell’s Gate.  We had seen someone run aground there on our way south, we called SeaTow and asked for some local knowledge.  The called gave Hank the skinny on just how to maneuver our way through…we made it. However, here we had no intel, and we did run aground.  Luckily, a motor boat guy came hauling ass my us and gave a snarky wave and smirk.  We both and looked at each other and knew he was our chance off the mud!  As his wake hit us, Hank yanking hard to starboard and with the extra foot of water from snarky boy we were afloat and back  in the game!  Yeah, no waiting for the tides.  Gotta love the karma.

taken as we entered this pass, as you can see it is pretty damn shallow in there!

taken as we entered this pass, as you can see it is pretty damn shallow in there!

We are finally here in Charleston, arriving in a downpour and Hank with a terrible cold (day 1).  This is the first time either of us have been sick since we started this adventure last September. Amazing really.  I am hoping to head to the grocery store, as soon it stops pouring.  Chantal decided to peter out and just be a rain event.  I am sorry we humped so hard to get here but am happy to have a/c and be well protected from the rain.  I have no idea how much blogging we will do here, as we are here for two weeks.  How much Charleston can I tell you about?  Hopefully I will manage to keep my footing on my way over the tracks to the Publix.  Wish me luck.

The cats are still on strike… here are a couple of stock photos of them.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


One thought on “Chantal to Charleston


    Pardon the French but the stink potters here in Florida can be real A-holes.

    Many years ago when my wife and I were “young” I decided to take she and our (then) 1 year old and 2 year old out for a high speed cruise on the “pristine” (black/Brown) waters of the back country, North of Key West.

    We were running fine, charts showed plenty of water beneath us but who could tell?

    The impellor clogged, engine over heated and smoked and there we were, adrift, seduced and abandoned by our trusty charts!

    Being an old cruiser I always stuff the foc’s’le with every kind of preparedness known to man even for just a short day cruise. For once the wife did not laugh at my stores.

    Then it began, “Murphy” came on like a juggernaut.
    First a little rain, then with the sun setting it was insects of biblical proportions.

    I am quite sure that my wife would have gone for the boarding cutlass and cleaved me in twain for luring her out on the water with our two little ones but I suspect she realized this would not improve her odds of survival.

    With the last rays of sunset dying I spied a local conk on a collision course and I touched off a flare and hit him with the 100,000 CW light!

    We were overjoyed as he reduced speed and altered course for a “drive by.”

    He came up on us and took one look smiled and hit full throttle speeding off!

    We watched him fade into the dusk and then we heard…..a distant…..

    “Bang! crash! crunch!” As he plowed into an underwater obstruction a few leagues off.

    So there is poetic justice and Karma ruled the night.

    I do not know why these so called “good” old boys are the way they are but they seem to revel in joy at the sight of someone else in trouble. Now this is not always the case as I know many Conks and Florida “crackers” who are the exception that make the rule but for the most part, there are a lot of real A-holes out here.

    Why “snake” didn’t pass you a line when you were aground, I have no idea. In my islands, such a thing is unheard of.

    In our case, off the Keys, we finally managed to flag down a passing powerboat, I loaded my wife and kids on board and playing the good captain, I stayed with my ship in the muggy, insect laden Back Country.

    All night long I could hear the high speed smuggling boats roaring by at 50 knots, no lights, throttle wide open and hull down for the Everglades.

    About Zero-dark thirty I was awakened by two water Nazis (water cops), they lit up my boat, blinding me with their Halogens, then laughed about how they really “coudda” had me.

    What that meant I had no idea, but I suspect they were relatives of Sakeboy and the A-hole who ran off from us.

    Can you imagine? They boarded (without permission and with their black landsman boots on) and started checking my vessel for violations, well, being a Licensed Captain since 1971 they were “S” out of luck, disappointed, they departed into the night and I was awake for the duration of that miserable morning.

    At dawn my good friend and 4th generation “Conk”, Captain Pete McCoy, came and towed me in but it was a lesson I learned from….There’s a lot of two legged sharks out here in Flor-I-da including the water Nazis.

    Cap’n Lee

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