Day 296
Wednesday, March 22, 2000

Mile 390 ICW

I am trying to catch up on my writing as we motor toward Myrtle Beach and a place called Barefoot Landing which is supposed to have free dockage. It is still 35 miles away and we have motored 40 already today. We left our anchorage in Five Fathom Creek at 0640 this morning for this 75 mile day. But let me catch up on what has happened since I last wrote back on the day we arrived at the Palmer Johnson Marina in Thunderbolt. We did arrive just around noon and had no problems docking as the tide was slack. They do have huge tides there and when they are running, they run at almost six knots. We were met by Randy, the weekend dockmaster, who was polite and professional. The marina was possibly one of the best we have stayed at, clean and neat and it has all the amenities you could want. We washed down Vera Segunda and were offered a ride to get groceries by an owner of a Willard 30. Gerald and his wife Roz took us over to the Wal-Mart and the Publix and we stocked up on everything we needed. We especially appreciated this as it was Gerald’s 62nd birthday and we know they had other plans. They were a delightful couple and we enjoyed their company immensely - instant good friends and kindred spirits. On Sunday we got a tour of "Patience", their Willard, and we found it to be a comfortable and cozy craft. I also made the four-mile trip back to the Wal-Mart to drop off some photos for developing. I rode my bicycle over the highway bridge and could see all of the countryside from that height and as I descended, the shoulder became serrated (for safety of the autos) and about jarred my teeth out for the next three miles?it was the same on the way back. Monday morning our daughter Megan arrived and it was sure good to see her. We had a great reunion and just spent the day catching up on everything. Tuesday morning we took a cab into Savannah and took a trolley tour of the town, visiting the Telfair Museum and eating a most excellent lunch at Mrs. Wylkes Boarding house. (All you can eat $10 - served home style, and you have to take your plates to the kitchen when you are done?they lost money on us) Carol got Mrs. Wylkes cookbook and I am hoping she makes every recipe when we get home and settled. We walked through all the shops on River Street and just admired the architecture. What a great town. Wednesday we spent doing chores and getting everything set to continue cruising. Thursday we rented a car and Megan, Carol and I became tourists in earnest. We visited Fort Pulaski, a confederated fort that was taken after a 30-hour siege during the Civil War, or as it is called here ‘the war of the Northern aggression’. We then visited the Tybee Island Lighthouse and had lunch at the local hot spot called Café Loco and had a great lunch?food, glorious food. We then went off to the mall?yes the mall ? and Carol got her ears pierced. This was a major project for her since she had a terrible experience as a child. She was very intimidated by the whole process but in the end she was smiling and feeling quite smug with her new earrings. Megan held her mother’s hand through the whole process. The day was topped off with a movie for Megan and I while Mom waited out the tornado warnings and did laundry. Winds up to 50 knots? all in all quite a day.

Friday of course was St. Patrick’s Day and we went back into town and helped the 500,000 other people celebrate. Where else do you get to see a green Santa and watch the ladies run out into the parade and kiss the soldiers. It seems to be about on par with Mardi Gras. The four-hour parade was spectacular and the green water in the fountains was amusing. We also got a tour of the USCG Eagle, a square-rigged sail training vessel. It was quite something to walk the decks and get some sense of what it must have been like centuries ago when all ships were like this. Saturday morning was a sad morning as we said good bye to Megan. Her flight was at 0600 so we were all up by 0330 so she could catch her cab at 0430. The weather had also gotten worse and the wind was blowing at a steady 30 knots with gusts much higher. After the final tears were shed Carol and I went back to Vera Segunda to listen to the weather and made the decision to stay another day… it was just too bad to leave. It was a lazy day but we got a lot of simple chores done. Sunday morning we left in weather that was marginally better but we are now making a push to make it to Washington D.C. by March 31 to meet friends of ours who are coming to D.C. for a few days. Beaufort, SC was our stop for the evening.

While we were in Daytona we met a charming guy named Al who invited us to give him a call when we were going to be in the Beaufort area. We had called a few days before, made plans and at about five that Sunday evening we all got together. We met Lana, Al’s wife, whom I had talked to on the phone a couple of times and got a wonderful tour of the town. Lana has a gallery in town and paints the most wonderful landscapes of the South Carolina low country. Her use of color is to be admired by all. We were then treated to a great dinner and then off to their lovely home and had great pecan pie, which really sums up Southern hospitality. We chatted until we were all worn out. Al and Lana will be friends for a long time, we are sure. We had such a good evening.

Our plans were to leave very early the next morning for the 70 mile trek to Charleston but the weather forced us to wait until nine before casting off the lines. At six in the morning, our intended time of departure, the wind was howling and it was raining at a rate of two inches per hour, visibility was almost down to nothing and we though for sure we would be spending another day in Beaufort. As the storm passed at 0830 it was as though some one just switched it off. The sun came out the wind died down and we had a beautiful day of motoring through the low country, which brought visions of Lana’s paintings back to mind. We arrived in Charleston just after sunset and took a slip at the Ashley Marina, another first class facility, complete with a courtesy car which we made use of the next morning. The night we arrived we were invited for drinks aboard "Five Bells", a boat we had been seeing off and on for since Daytona. Norma and Frank were from Hingham, MA and are heading home with an expected arrival date of April 15th. We drank White Zinfandel and swapped sea storied well into the night.

We got a ride into Charleston with the courtesy van and found another very delightful southern city. Our first stop was at the Post Office where we got A1 treatment from the postal worker behind the window, he was just delightful, stamped my sketch book and gave Carol a Hershey’s Kiss and me a lollipop… what a way to start the day. We visited the Historical Society, the Old Market and shopped at the Harris Teeter grocery store. (One of the best grocery stores we have visited in the last 5400 miles) All were great places to be. At the Old Market Carol got a new hand crafted silver bracelet and a hand crafted black pearl necklace (Black Pearls in honor of the kitty) and some more candles to make Vera Segunda smell good. We were back to the marina by noon and underway by one. We made a good forty miles northward and anchored in a stream called Five Fathom Creek. It was in the middle of the marshes and a beautiful anchorage. At low tide we had drifted off to the side and sat on the bottom for a while but by the time we left this morning we were sitting back in 12 feet of water.

Day 303
Sunday, March 26, 2000

Mile 99, ICW

As I write this installment we have just passed mile 99 on the Intracostal Waterway. Since last Sunday morning we have traveled over 500 miles ? we have really been pushing it to get to Washington, DC by March 31, and it now looks hopeful that we will make it. We are hoping to meet our friends who are coming from Rhode Island to visit and see the cherry blossoms. We are certainly looking forward to seeing some familiar faces. From Five Fathom Creek we had a long 75 mile day that took us to Myrtle Beach and a free dock at Barefoot Landing. We had perfect weather and the day of travel was uneventful. Barefoot Landing is a Factory Outlet shopping area. Try as we may we could hardly find anything to buy? we did have ice cream which cost seven dollars, way too much for a couple of weary mariners. We settled in for the evening and just rested from the long day on the water and got ready for another. By the end of the day on Thursday we made it to a great anchorage in Wrightsville Beach, another 75 miles up the waterway. Carol never even got out of her ‘jammies’ that day which was fine. We did have some chop coming up the Cape Fear River but not enough to make Pearl upset. It was chilly and we had the diesel furnace burning most of the day. Several other boats found the same anchorage for the night and we felt secure as the forecast had the winds up to around 25 knots, but we never felt a thing.

Friday proved to be our longest day of the trip to date. We motored for 12 hours which took us up through the Marine Base, Camp Le Juene, which was a bustle of helicopters and strange looking flying craft. We were delayed by two bridges which really added time to our day, so we made it to Beaufort, NC just after every store in town closed. We anchored just off the town docks, dropped the dinghy scooted over to the town’s dinghy dock. We walked for about an hour, looking for a place to hook into a phone line with the computer all to no avail. We were able to get rid of our trash and post some cards. The whole town was just closed up.. and on a Saturday night! Carol made a great chicken supper and we settled in to watch some TV and do our planning for the next long day. We pulled up the anchor at 0620 and were back in the ICW shortly after. We stopped for fuel at a place called Jarrett Bay Boatworks. The make sportfishers and sell diesel cheap! We paid $1.07, the cheapest we have seen anywhere and took on 110 gallons. We seem to be burning just under two gallons an hour and making just about four miles to a gallon. That is really economical as we have talked with so many people who figure only one mile per gallon and some that burn two gallons per mile! We also got a phone line and sent off some email. A friend of ours, Dan, who we met during our transatlantic crossing in 1998, is circumnavigating the world and we received a note from him that he is just about ready to arrive in Australia.

We anchored that evening near the Wilkerson Bridge at mile 127 up a river in nine feet of the brownest water we have seen. It has been remarkable the color change in the water. We have gone from a beautiful green to dark brown in just a few days. A bucket of this water looks like very strong tea. High winds were predicted again, but never developed. Instead we had perfect calm and light drizzle, which I will take over high winds any day. We got underway six this morning and expect to be in Coinjock, NC this evening at five. We have been here before and are anticipating a great dinner in their restaurant. They are known far and wide for their great steak and seafood. (More to come)

I have to tell you a little bit about our life (or lack of a life) aboard Vera Segunda. It is beginning to feel as thing everything revolves around Pearl, the boat cat. She IS most entertaining. At anchor she spends the evenings running around the decks fearlessly. In a full run she will leave the bow and go all the way to the dinghy on the stern and the leap up onto the boom and walk back to the cabin top. When the dinghy is in the water behind us she will leap from the boat to the dinghy and snuggle down in the bow. She likes to walk on the handrails around the boat, which scares the daylights out of us. We know that one day she will slip in the early morning dew and get a good dunking. But the one thing that amuses us the most is that she plays catch. Yes, Pearl loves to play catch and fetch. She has a couple of multi colored balls that are her favorite and will chase them when they are thrown and retrieve them and drop them in your hand. We are amazed. We had no idea just what kind of a prodigy cat we owned. Pearl will play catch for hours. If you throw the ball from the back of the cabin through the door to the forward stateroom and onto the bed; Pearl will run and leap the gap from the floor to the mattress, get the ball in her mouth, leap back to the floor from the mattress and either put the ball in your hand or drop it on the floor nearby, and bat it over to you. She does keep us amused. She plays until she is panting. She also will come when she is called.

Yesterday we heard from our friends Tom and Debbie (from "A Time For Us") who had just made it to Charleston. Tom and Debbie are the folks we spent time with in Key Largo. The sold their boat and delivered it to Charleston for the new owners. Tom and Debbie are moving ashore and settling down in the Spartenburg area. They have been great friends and some that we will have for the rest of our lives I am sure. A visit to New England this fall is already in the planning stages. We are looking forward to seeing them again.

Bridges Passed Under/Through 729
Locks 75
Miles Traveled 5847
Average speed 7 mph
19 States
2 Countries
303 Days

"Even now, with a thousand little voyages notched in my belt,
I still feel a memorial chill on casting off."
E. B. White

Ed & Carol Huff & Pearl - the boat cat
Aboard M/V Vera Segunda, Yacht in transit
1976 Grand Banks 32