Sunday, November 25, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

We anchored on the Callabash River which is the border between North and South Carolina.
Then cruised down the Waccamaw River, one of the prettiest stretches of the ICW. Like everywhere, however, they haven't heard of the housing glut and there are miles and miles of brand new docks waiting to be sold with the vacant lots they're attached to.
We had to stop at Georgetown to pick up fresh shrimp at the shrimp dock. We saw a VERY strange boat there: two boxes with a "flybridge" on top and a sailboat rig on top of that!
We found very peaceful anchorages in the creeks through the marshes. One of them is called Awendaw Creek.
Apparently, "Riparian Rights" around here allow owners to build docks from their houses to navigable water. Some of these docks are well over a mile long, across marshes, mud, and low water.
If you forget to look up, you miss a lot of eagles who are carefully scoping out the waterway.
There are more beautiful creeks with anchorages. This one is called Cattle Pen.
We travelled with Brother Jock aboard his new boat, a Cape Dory 300MS named "Home at Last".
This time we went ashore at Fort Frederica and toured the grounds of the military town created in the 1740s, basically to challenge the Spaniards who had settled St. Augustine and threatened to move north.
We met all kinds of vessels along the way. From huge pushboats which seem to take up the entire waterway,
To classic yachts superbly restored,
To total idiots who are working out their ambivalence about gender with huge overpowered "Sports Fishermen". They push a massive wall of water and threaten to swamp anything smaller when they pass. One of the worst was "Blue Latitude" from our home port, Old Saybrook, CT. The nice guys, who are definitely in the majority, thank goodness, do a "slow pass". The slower vessel slows up even more to allow the faster one to slow down enough to minimize his wake and still get past fairly quickly, then the slow boat moves astern of the fast one and they can both resume speed, having lost little time and saved a lot of pain and strain. [EDITOR'S NOTE: Why do "Slow DOWN" and Slow UP" mean the same thing?] Both vessels thank each other other for the "easy pass" by VHF radio and go on with their lives. I wish we could teach some of the half-wits in the Connecticut River to do this!
To many interesting boats we couldn't identify.
We had heard that St. Marys, Georgia did a marvelous Thanksgiving and took a hard right just before we hit Florida. St. Marys is a former mill town which now has a large waterfront park, some very nice restaurants, beautifully restored (or maintained) old houses (one of which welcomed the Captain's collateral ancestor, Aaron Burr, after his famous legal, but politically incorrect, duel), and at least one bar with a trash-talking tattooed barmaid. Unfortunately, groceries and other necessaries are not within walking distance, but free transportation was arranged for those who needed it.
We were there for 4 days as more than 100 boats gathered for the festivities. We took Jock out for a birthday dinner at a marvelous little restaurant.
More than 200 boaters lined up outdoors for Thanksgiving dinner at the local hotel. Townspeople supplied all the turkeys, ham, and grilled oysters while each of the boats brought a side dish or dessert. We expected total chaos and overcrowding.
But they had set up 4 buffet lines and there were enough food and seats for everyone, so it went very smoothly and the food was delicious!
It was a busy week but a lot of fun. We were happy to get back to the boat and relax as the skies cleared and we experienced another superb sunset.
We are writing this from St. Augustine, which will be the start of our next chapter if and when we get to it. We have tentative plans to be somewhere along the "Space Coast" on December 6 to see the next shuttle take off. Lyz and family are fairly close so they may drive over to say hi. After that, who knows? We will eventually get to the Ft. Lauderdale/Miami area (where two of our favorite anchorages are) to see if a weather window opens up to allow safe passage to the Bahamas before Christmas. If it doesn't, we'll either wait longer or head further south again.
In the meantime, we're in no hurry to go anywhere since we're already "here"!
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