Chesapeake Bay

July 31 to Aug 6th

July 31, 2011 Georgetown, NC (Hazzard Marina) Day 2

I looked forward to this day so much. It was a day to sleep in and Bob was going to make our usual Sunday breakfast...eggs. We could take some time for ourselves this morning. Bob was able to watch his Sunday morning political shows and I could catch up on emails. Around 10:00, we decided to take a short walk into town. The live oaks draped with Spanish moss lined the streets, so it was shady and cooler for our walk down Front St.

 
 
Since it was Sunday, most everything in town was closed, but that was ok. We weren't in the market to buy anything, just do some window shopping.

 
 
We first came to the Harper House which houses the Visitor's Center/Maritime Museum where I could pick up a Historic District Map to do a walking tour.

 
 
Next we walked past some beautiful restored homes from the 18th and 19th century.

 
 
 
 
The first notable house was the John and Mary Cleland house built in 1737. It is one of the earliest surviving houses in Georgetown.

 
 
Next on Front Street, was the Rice Museum (1842) and clock tower, Georgetown's best known landmark.

 
 
Continuing down the street, we came across the Kaminski Building which once functioned as a hardware store.

 
 
The Rice Paddy Restaurant was across the street. It was once used as a bank and the vault is now the wine cellar. It was also the site of the Revolutionary War Headquarters.

 
 
We saw the historic Strand Theater where they have 4 major productions throughout the year.

 
 
We walked along the Harborwalk that parallels the Sampit River to check out the restaurants and other shops.

 
 
We went into the Buzz's Roost--a very cool bar/restaurant right on the river. It was about the only place in town that was open today.

 
 
The Old Fish House looked like another neat bar in town, but it was closed.

 
 
Walking back to the boat, we passed the Georgetown Press, the town's newspaper. It's amazing that a town this small has a newspaper at all, but it does. You can walk by the windows and see the presses at work, or so we were told. Once we got back to the boat, we cooled off and took the computer and Auggie up to the boater's lounge with us. Auggie liked running around the room and looking out the window at everyone going by.

 
 
We had given Auggie a trim today. He wanted to know how he looked with his new "do".

 
 
Bob watched some TV while I tried to work on my blog and upload the pictures. (The Internet here is not very strong and it wasn't happening, so I'll have to try tomorrow when we are in a place with a better signal.)

 
 
We left the boater's lounge when we saw some dark clouds approaching, saw flashes of lightning, and heard rumbles of thunder. We sat out in back of the boat listening to the rumbles and watching the lightning for a few hours in the afternoon, but the dark clouds passed to the north of us. The wind picked up for awhile and it actually cooled off a bit, but we never got any rain. Bob went over to chat with some commercial fishermen who came in from 4 days of fishing. They had a 200 gallon plastic tub full of fish to sell to the fish broker tomorrow.

 
 
Bob asked them to sell him some Grouper, but they said he should try the Triggerfish they caught. They said it was better than Grouper and since it was a fish we couldn't get at home, we thought we'd give it a try. Bob cooked it on the stove with some onions, garlic, and chopped tomatoes. It was a firm, white fish that was delicious.....and fresh! (Tomorrow the fishermen want Bob to tell them what he thought of the fish.) We both give it a "thumbs up"! We have enough for another dinner of Triggerfish tomorrow. As we finished our dinner, it finally started to rain. We haven't had rain in a long time, so it was a welcome relief. We watched some TV and walked Auggie for the last time when the rain stopped. Tomorrow we're moving on to Isle of Palms.

Aug. 1, 2011 Georgetown to Isle of Palms, SC

It's hard to believe it's August already! Where did all the time go? It rained lightly last night and was cloudy this morning. The radar showed that the storms had now moved offshore, but there's a slight chance of rain today. It still remains very humid, but maybe temps will stay lower because of the cloud cover. We can't remember the last time we traveled on a cloudy day like this. It's been a LONG time. Bob never did get to tell the fishermen how good that Triggerfish was. I'm sure they already know for themselves. This is what a Triggerfish looks like.

 
 


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Masked triggerfish (Sufflamen fraenatum) with its first dorsal spine partially raised.

We have to keep a close eye on Tropical Storm Emily to see where she's planning to go. Oh, and we have 2 new "broken" developments. One of the bilge blowers seized up so Bob will replace that once we pick up the part in Charleston and this morning the center window vent refused to open so Bob will diagnose that problem once we get to our destination today. While I ate breakfast, Bob took Auggie for his walk this morning where he introduced himself to a crab on the dock for the first time.

 
 
 
 
We cleaned up, got ready to go, and pulled away from the dock at 7:30. We left Winah Bay and entered Minim Canal where we had to slow down for the ferry.

 
 
We traveled through the marsh area where we encountered all those horseflies on the way south. They appeared again, but not in the droves that we had seen them before. They were still bothersome, so we sat with flyswatters "at the ready". Auggie got a little nervous with all the swatting going on, so he had to go below for awhile.

 
 
We did see 6 alligators swimming along the shore at different points along the way.

 
 
I drove for awhile to give Bob some respite from the boredom of the marshes. We arrived at Isle of Palms around 12:30 and by now it was very steamy outside. We stopped for fuel first before pulling up to the dock right underneath the restaurant. We had traveled 53.8 miles today.

 
 
We got all tied up and plugged in. We cooled off a little before venturing out again a little later. We walked Auggie and then took a look around their well-stocked store. Since we had been here last in late April, they added a new security gate, a lower deck with tables, and an outside bar. We sat on the porch of the store, sitting on their swing, eating an ice cream, watching the boat traffic. After awhile, we went back to the boat to cool off. Auggie was catching up on his napping, I worked on my blog, and Bob calculated the gas mileage. Later, we walked up to the Mangrove Grill for beers and nachos. We decided to skip dinner tonight and just take it easy. The view from up there was great. You can see both directions down the ICW.

 
 
We left there and went to clean up. It would be a very relaxing evening. Auggie got his walk before dark and we hung out watching some TV as the sun set.

August 2, 2011 Isle of Palms to Charleston, SC (Harborage Marina)

We didn't have to get a real early start because we didn't have far to go. We ate a leisurely breakfast, walked Auggie, and tossed off the lines from the dock at 9:15. We said goodbye to Isle of Palms Marina.

 
 
Bob wanted to time our arrival in Charleston Harbor so that we would have a slack tide. The tide runs fast and strong in the marina and we wanted to have as easy a docking experience as possible. It was already warm and humid with sunny blue skies when we left. (I'm beginning to sound like a broken record.) Before we got to the entrance of Charleston Harbor, we caught sight of a ship passing by on its way to its dock. It was huge and Bob thought it was some kind of Navy supply ship.

 
 
We entered Charleston harbor where the Coast Guard was practicing towing maneuvers and shooting off flares. At least that's what they said on the marine radio.

 
 
The skyline of Charleston came into view as we crossed the tranquil harbor.

 
 
A commercial shrimp boat crossed our path in the harbor. You can always tell a commercial fishing boat by all the seabirds that follow it in.

 
 
We also passed the familiar Fort Sumter with a tour boat at the dock. That made us feel like we were in Charleston.

 
 
We arrived at the Harborage Marina at 10:45 after 13.4 miles and got tied up without any problems ---no wind, no current.

 
 
It was when we were docking that we noticed that someone had run into the boat while we were at Isle of Palms. There was minor gel coat damage to the aft starboard corner. It would still require some professional repair work. Bob doesn't know how they missed the inflatable, but they did. Thank goodness!

 
 
 
 
Here's an update on the other 2 "broken" items. Bob fixed the window vent by cleaning the contact's on the switch and now it works fine. We got a ride to West Marina from the dockhand, so Bob could pick up the replacement blower fan and install it later today after the engine room cooled off. I went along so they could drop me off at the store for a few grocery items. We were only gone 30 minutes and got back to the boat with the part and the groceries. When we got back, Bob worked on replacing the new blower fan. It took him about 30 minutes with frequent breaks due to the heat. The cockpit thermometer read 103 degrees, even in the shade under the cockpit cover. Tropical Storm Emily was on our minds today. Right now the storm track predictions bring her right up towards our area. We discussed what we needed to do and where we could go for storm protection. The next three days will be very interesting. We tried to stay cool and out of the sun for the rest of the afternoon. Bob cooked the rest of the Triggerfish for dinner. He also served black beans and rice with okra, tomatoes, and corn. It was a traditional Southern meal. Yum!

 
 
There was a beautiful sunset with the sun ablaze before setting. It was a fitting end to a very warm day.

 
 
We would make it an early evening since we wanted to get an early start to Beaufort tomorrow. The temp is supposed to be 100 degrees again and we have quite a long way to go.

August 3, 2011 Charleston to Beaufort, SC

It's going to be a hot one today---expected high of 100 degrees. We got up early, did our "usual", and were leaving the dock at 6:45. As we pulled out into the ICW, the sun was coming up. I haven't caught many sunrises on this trip, so this one was special.

 
 
We had pulled away from the dock this morning during slack tide, but soon after we were on our way, the tide started running and for once it was in our favor. We also had a slight breeze which helped to cool things off a little. We passed 4 cruising boats going north and 2 going south. We keep seeing the same sailboat over and over. They are an elderly couple from Isle of Hope, GA, who are probably heading home. We first saw them in Georgetown last Saturday and on Sunday they had left. We really noticed them because they had no AC on their sailboat and it's been so unbearably hot. We passed them a second time just before Isle of Palms on Monday and again today south of Charleston in the Edisto River. We really feel for them, but with any luck they should be home by Friday, safe and sound. Other than those few boats that we saw today, there wasn't much to look at but a few homes scattered here and there, and lots of salt marshland. The marsh seemed to go on forever.

 
 
We finally took to swatting horseflies for something to do. The wildlife was plentiful though, through the marshes with dolphins, wood storks, white egrets, terns, and other water birds along the shoreline. We finally came upon the wide Coosaw River which had 1' waves traveling at us. We picked up speed a little until we could get back into the narrow and calmer Beaufort River. We finally arrived at the Beaufort Downtown Marina at 1:00 and got tied up.

 
 
The last 2 hours of travel brought hotter temps, more humidity, and lighter breezes so needless to say, we were anxious and happy to get to Beaufort and turn on the AC. Auggie had rested down below where it was cooler for all of the ride today. I think he actually got some sleep and once we were docked, he ate his breakfast and wanted to play. I took him up to the park to run around and it didn't take long before his tongue was hanging out and he wanted to lay down in the shade. I carried him back to the boat and we both relaxed in the AC again. About 4:00 a thunderstorm moved in and the wind picked up. It was a squall that moved across the water. We couldn't see across the channel or down the shoreline. We had lightning and thunder.....way too close to the boat. Auggie had been napping when the first clap of thunder struck. He jumped up, with his eyes as wide as saucers. It scared the crap out of us too. It didn't last long, but it was intense. Good thing we were already tied to the dock. We tried to get caught up on the news and cooked an early dinner. We were both drained after the 6 hour ride of 67.4 miles today.

August 4, 2011 Beaufort, SC to Thunderbolt, GA

It was a rough night tied to the dock. The wind and current made it very bouncy and noisy = hard to sleep. I moved to the settee around midnight and got a much better (but not best) sleep there. We got up early again and were on our way by 7:30. It was already 90 degrees, but the breeze was cooling. In crossing the Port Royal Sound, that lead to the inlet to the ocean, we encountered the wind fighting the current and ocean swells. It was a confused mess of 4-5 miles and then we were back in the protected waters of the ICW. Once back in the ICW, we passed Hilton Head Island and their famous resort. It is the site of the original residential development here at Hilton Head. The red and white lighthouse is very recognizable.

 
 
It was a busy place of boaters, parasailers, sailors, jet skiers, and fishermen.

 
 
The temps were rising and we weren't getting much relief from the breeze in the narrow parts of the ICW. Once we crossed the Savannah River into Georgia, we didn't have far to go. Entering into the Savannah River, we met up with a fully-loaded container ship going out to sea. He put down quite a wake as we passed.

 
 
 
 
All morning long, the horseflies were doing kamikaze dives on us. I had to protect Bob from their attacks while he drove. They seemed to like his legs and ankles a lot. We arrived in Thunderbolt Marina at 12:30 after traveling 47.1 miles. Thunderbolt was named by the Indians when lightning struck the ground and created a natural spring. This would be our homebase for the next couple of days while we explored Savannah. We cooled off, had some lunch, and checked the hurricane website. We plan to stay here in the area until we can tell where Hurricane Emily is going. We went up to the office to register and then hung out, waiting for it to cool down a little. The temperature was 98 in the sun and it was just too hot to go out. Later in the day, we had an afternoon thunderstorm. There was lightning, thunder, and rain, but it didn't last long. After the rain stopped, we cleaned up and Bob grilled some steaks for dinner. It had actually cooled off a little after the rain, so we took Auggie for a walk before it got dark. By then, the water looked like glass.

 
 
This marina is known for it's work on huge yachts and there was one sitting in the yard ready to get work done.

 
 
Looking down the river at the town of Thunderbolt, things looked pretty quiet as night was falling.

 
 
We'll get up early tomorrow and take the bus into Savannah to do some sightseeing. It's not supposed to be as hot tomorrow as it was today, but we want to check out the town before it gets too hot. We'll sleep better tonight in this quiet, protected marina.

August 5, 2011 Thunderbolt Marina, GA (day 2)

We did get a better night's sleep last night. We were even serenaded by the rhythmic croaking of the frogs in the nearby marsh. We set the alarm to make sure we caught the early bus to Savannah, but we didn't need it. Bob got up early and soon after I followed. While I took Auggie for his morning walk, the dockmaster delivered 6 Krispy Kreme donuts to the boat. They were still hot! One of the amenities of staying in this marina is that they deliver the newspaper and donuts to the boat each morning. (I was amazed at myself. I totally forgot we would have donuts this morning and had some cereal instead. How could I do that?) We still had a couple of donuts before we left and saved the rest for another day. At 8:00, we left the boat and walked the 5 blocks to the bus stop at the Savannah State University campus.

 
 
It was already warm and humid that early in the morning, so we were anxious to get on the air-conditioned bus.

 
 
The bus arrived on time and we enjoyed the 20-30 minute ride to downtown Savannah. Riding on the bus allowed us to see more of the city which we enjoyed. We got off of the bus about 3 blocks from the riverfront and headed down towards the water. We stopped first at the City Marketplace to look around.

 
 
None of the stores were open yet, but we were able to find a mall area that was open that contained some art galleries. We went in just to cool off a little.

 
 
The City Market is an area with a series of courtyards featuring art, entertainment, shopping, and dining. Walking through the courtyard, we could see the horse drawn carriages that were just waiting for the tourists. I thought about how hot they must be, but saw that they were standing under a huge live oak tree in the shade and had buckets of water to drink. Still, I felt sorry for them.

 
 
We passed a fountain that I was so tempted to put my feet into. It looked so refreshing.

 
 
We continued to walk down Montgomery St. towards the river and once we got to Bay St. we found a shady sidewalk to follow that paralleled the river.

 
 
We came upon the City Hall, a gold-domed structure that was very impressive.

 
 
A little farther down the street was the Cotton Exchange Building, a stately red brick building with a lion water fountain in front. The Savannah Cotton Exchange is said to have set the world's cotton prices. This building is also said to be the first building to straddle a public street according to the legal principal of air rights.

 
 
Savannah sits on top of a 40' bluff above the banks of the Savannah River. We took a stroll on Factor's Walk which is a row of narrow 4 and 5 story brick warehouses along the river bluff. It acquired its name when it was the meeting place for factors---sales agents and commision brokers such as cotton merchants and was the center of commercial activities. Today it contains shops, restaurants, and bars. The restoration of the warehouses and cotton brokerage houses on Bay St, Factor's Walk, and River Street have renewed the city's waterfront.

 
 
The cobblestone streets are made of river rock and brick used as ballast in the ships from Europe. They are really cool looking, but somewhat difficult to walk on. We took one of these roads down to the river.

 
 
Down by the river, we took a stroll along the waterfront. They have a nice boardwalk that follows the river.

 
 
It was there that I found the Waving Girl statue. The legend goes that Florence Martus, the city light-tender's sister, became known to seamen all over the world for waving at every ship. One legend maintains that she promised her sailor sweetheart to greet every ship this way until his return.

 
 
We continued walking along River St, stopping in some of the shops to look and cool off.

 
 
Across River Street, on the water side, is the River Street Market Place, a courtyard group of shops. The city marina is a long floating pier located in front of this area.

 
 
One of the shops that caught our eye was this one. Bob really liked the name.

 
 
 
 
The Trolley Tours traveled down the street where the old streetcar rails were still imbedded in the road.

 
 
Most of the buildings along River St. were once warehouses and they still contain visual remnants of those old buildings. This was what we saw on the inside of one of the shops.

 
 
There were a couple of old-fashioned candy stores along the street. The aroma and the appeal of free samples drew us in. We watched them make taffy and candy, where Bob took advantage of those free samples. This is a taffy machine that cuts, wraps, and places the candy in bins to be sold. (The taffy is green and pink laying in the shape of a cone in the machine.)

 
 
Once we got to the end of the street and the shops ended, we took this stairway back up to Bay St. There were a few of these access areas to allow people to traverse between Bay St. at the top of the bluff and River Street at the water level.

 
 
A network of iron, wooden, and concrete bridgeways connected the buildings to the bluff.

 
 
At the top, we came upon a service alley, where the shops and restaurants receive their supplies. It was an interesting area and we thought it would be kind of eerie to visit at night.

 
 
It was too hot to visit the bench where Forest Gump sat in the movie. It was filmed here in Savannah. We walked the few blocks back to the corner where the bus dropped us off and it was waiting there for us. What luck! We were very warm by now and happy to be able to sit in the AC and relax on the ride back. We arrived back at the boat around 12:30, in time for lunch. We checked the weather online and were amazed at the temperature. The heat index was even more surprising!

 
 
We hung out for awhile and read the paper. I worked on my blog and did some laundry. About 3:00, we walked the 4 or 5 blocks along the waterfront to Tubby's Tank House.

 
 
 
 
The restaurant/bar is a hangout for the locals. We had a couple of beers and really lucked out. On Fridays, they have free, hot appetizers. Today they had chicken fingers and potato salad. We each had 2 platefuls and wouldn't need dinner. It had looked like rain when we left the boat, so we carried our umbrella, but it passed by without squeezing out a drop. It was a nice walk back to the boat along the waterfront.

 
 
Once back at the boat, we relaxed with some TV and walked Auggie before it got dark.

August 5, 2011 Thunderbolt to Isle of Hope, GA

We decided to move on to Isle of Hope Marina, just about 7 miles down the ICW. It was less expensive with a deal that if you stayed for 2 nights the second night is 20% off. We thought we might need two nights in case Tropical Storm Emily starts up again this weekend. Will she ever go away? The other reason we decided to move to Isle of Palms is because they had a courtesy car. We pulled away from our dock at Thunderbolt at 8:00 to take on some gas at the gas dock. Bob wanted to get there before the current started running. We topped off the tanks and were on our way to Isle of Hope Marina by 8:30. We arrived just before 9:30 and got tied to the dock without an problems.

 
 
 
 
We had only gone 7 miles but we were both wiped out from the heat and it was only 9:30!! The horseflies had started to attack too. We cooled off a little before registering in the office and borrowing the courtesy car to make a trip to Wal-Mart for some odds and ends. It was about 2 miles away, so we were able to see a little bit of the surrounding area on our way. The homes around the marina are very southern looking surrounded by white picket fences and live oak trees with Spanish moss draped from their branches.

 
 
 
 
About a mile from the marina we passed the entrance to the Wormsloe Historic Site with a museum, ruins of a fortified house and a nature walk. The mansion (1739) is a private residence and not open to the public.

We returned in time for lunch. Shortly after, a dark cloud appeared from the west and we began to hear rumbles of thunder. Small boats raced in from the river as the storm threatened, but no rain fell. Around 3:00, we heard more thunder....closer this time and Bob saw lightning, so we secured things on the boat and waited.

 
 
This time the rain came down hard and in waves. It rained for quite awhile and then passed, cooling things off a little. This was the first daytime storm we've had in awhile. Bob did a 5:30 Skype call with his family because they were all gathered for his mom's 89th birthday today. Happy birthday, Jo! It was nice to talk to them and be able to see his mom. We made some phone calls to friends and family today as well. Bob cooked us a nice dinner of lamb chops, grilled asparagus marinated in balsamic vinegar and oil, and teriaki noodles. Delicious! It rained a little more after dinner. We got in a walk for Auggie between rain showers and watched some cable TV. The rain and clouds kept the temperature down a little this afternoon. What a relief! It was a very relaxing day.

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