Battling the flies
Battling the flies

We’re here visiting Justin, Catherine and baby James for a few days while the weather turned cold and windy.  We got here just in time!  It was 4 1/2 long days of motoring from St. Augustine to here without stepping on land once!  The worst part of the trip was the flies — there were so many swarming about and it didn’t do any good to kill them. 

On the way, we passed another Sabre going south called Surfer Girl.  We knew Bill from the Sabre club and chatted with him on the radio for a while.  He was on his way to Daytona to keep his boat near where he lives. 

The fuel indicator dropped below 1/4 as we approached our last anchorage before Charleston and I started to worry.  We had already used our 5 spare gallons from the jerry can.  The closest marina with fuel was a few hours away.  We put out the headsail to help save fuel and slowly made our way to Church creek.  As we came into the anchorage, we spotted a boat called Spartina with Phil and Sarah aboard.  We had crossed paths with them several times in the Exumas and they were on their way home to Claiborne Creek on the eastern shore of Maryland.  We talked to them on the radio and when I mentioned that we were low on fuel, they offered us their spare 5 gallon jerry can.  We launced the dinghy (which we hadn’t used since Manjack Cay!) and visited with Spartina for a while.  As it turned out, the extra 5 gallons was just enough to get us to Charleston without worrying too much about the fuel gauge dropping to E.  We need to figure out a way to tell how much fuel is left when it starts getting low.  Also, we decided that next trip we will carry 2 jerry cans of diesel!  Phil and Sarah talked about how helping out fellow cruisers generates ‘good karma’.  We really appreciated their help and will definitely pass it along!

I woke up the middle of the night and sat outside listening to the dolphins.  They make loud breathing noises and thrash about while feeding on fish.  I couldn’t see them at night but they were all around us.  The next morning, we left early for the final stretch to Charleston.  There were plenty of things to make me nervous– 2 bridges, a cut with very strong currents and thunderstorms approaching.   We managed to follow a tug pushing a barge with a crane through the first bridge.  The bridges that only open on schedules always open for barges.  After he called the bridge, I asked if we could also come through.  The bridge tender said she would only keep the bridge open if we were close enough.  The tug captain offered to slow down to make sure we also made it — how nice!

A bad day on the waterway
A bad day on the waterway

We passed a sailboat that had missed a turn and was standing hard aground in the mud.  Slowing down as we passed, Skip offered to help.  When the woman came to the side of the boat, it creaked and tipped over about 45 degrees!  That was scary!  They had already called a tow boat but decided that it would do more damage than good so they planned to wait for the tide to rise. 

We heard that the next bridge which is just past Charleston harbor (Ben Sawyer) had trouble opening in the morning.  I called the bridge tender later in the morning to make sure they got it fixed.  Once we passed there, we were just  a few miles from the Isle of Palms marina where we stayed in the Fall.  We passed another sailboat who’s engine overheated.  I felt silly being so nervous when other people were having a really bad day on the waterway!

After fueling up at the marina, we tied up along the face dock and went for lunch at the restaurant.  We were happy to make it there without any difficulties and before the storms.  Skip worked on the refrigeration unit.  The fan wasn’t starting up and it caused the unit to overheat.  Turns out it was clogged with dog hair — what a surprise!

Justin, Catherine and James
Justin, Catherine and James

Justin came and picked us up later in the afternoon.  It was great to see him and Cat.  James has grown so much since we saw him in the Fall.  He was sitting up, giggling and crawling.  We are having a nice, relaxing visit.  It’s so nice to sleep in a bed after 5 months!  I did laundry yesterday.  Justin took us back to the boat in the afternoon to get warmer clothes.  It was so chilly, I needed shoes, socks and jeans!  In the evening, we went out to eat sushi and celebrate Skip’s birthday.  We finally got our sushi fix!

It looks like it might clear up enough to leave Thursday morning.  Our next stop will be Myrtle Beach!

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