Jacksonville, Florida, USA To Georgetown, South Carolina, USA, June, 2011
PPSE = Passage Princess Scale of Excellence (1 = never again; 10 = sublime)
We left Jacksonville on June 17th, about 1100. We decided not to fight the tide and current on the Saint John’s river, so we waited until the tide started ebbing, and then left Seafarers Marina, on the adjacent Trout River, where we had been docked. When we got out to the Saint John's River, we realized we were just catching the end of its flood tide. This presented no real problem as we were initially making about 4.5 knots when we started the decent, and then were making up to 7.5 knots when we got to the jetty's out to the ocean.
I must say here that, as we were coming down the river to the ocean, we were using an iPad in the cockpit. The iPad was connected to a MacBook Pro, via WiFi. The iPad was displaying the screen of the MacBook. This means I was able to see and control the CAPN navigation software, on the MacBook Pro, from the iPad in the cockpit. This makes navigation of DREAM AWAY so much easier for the person at the helm.
When we got to the jetty's, around 1400, we had the normal problem of wind against tide. The outgoing tide was pretty strong, and the southeast wind was blowing against it. This made for very sloppy waves until we got out past the jetty's and into deeper water. Once we got out a couple of miles, we raised the mizzen sail and turned northeast, heading for Georgetown, South Carolina. Just as we turned, a huge vehicle carrier, AQUAMARINE ACE, came up behind us, and really close. We had passed it further up the Saint John's River, but did not realize it would be following us. The ship was transferring the pilot to the pilot boat, and preparing to get under way. AQUAMARINE ACE,was so close we had to alter course, and so did the ship. Once all of that was done, we got back on course, and unrolled the Genoa. After a few minutes passed, we became a sailboat.
About an hour later, we heard all kinds of thunder so prepared to be hit by a late afternoon storm. While I was taking a nap, Kitty heard on the VHF radio that Warship #64 was doing live fire exercises about half a degree of longitude away from us, so that was the real explanation of the “thunder'.
Friday night, June 17th, we decided to motor-sail as there was a threat of real thunderstorms, and the wind was strong. We had the main sail down, the mizzen sail up, and the genoa rolled up to about half. By 0300 the wind was back down to 15 knots, so we rolled out the Genoa, and shut down the engine. We were a sailboat again!
Saturday, June 18th, was spent playing the wind as we were heading northeast, and the wind was mostly southwest, right on the stern. Sometimes the wind would come more to the southeast, and pick up velocity, so we could shut down the engine, and sail. The wind would then go southwest, and drop in velocity, so we would become a motor-sailor again. It was not unpleasant, just a bit frustrating!
I did put out the trolling line for most of the afternoon, but only caught the Sargasso weed that floats on the ocean’s surface. No fresh fish for dinner!
On Saturday night, there was once again the threat of more thunderstorms, so we reefed down the sails, and motor-sailed. We were actually still going pretty fast, so we slowed the boat down a bit so as to arrive at the mouth of Winyah Bay at dawn.
The thunderstorms did not materialize during the night, or on Sunday morning, and we did arrive at the entrance to Winyah Bay at dawn. We made the entrance with no trouble, and made the turn into a bigger part of the bay. The tide was an ebbing tide, so we decided to anchor DREAM AWAY for the rest of Sunday and Sunday night, and head up to Georgetown on Monday. PPSE7
It was nice to get settled in after the anchor was set. We had a nice hot breakfast, and then Kitty went down for a nap. She had been up most of the previous night letting me get some extra sleep. I got the boat cleaned up and straightened away; I worked on the computer for a while; and, read in the cockpit. We had a nice evening meal, and were in the sack by 2100. A nice quiet Father's day!
On Monday morning, June 20th, my birthday, we got up and had a big breakfast. We got under way to Georgetown around 0945, when the flood tide started. It was interesting that, on this part of the trip, we got more spray on the boat than we had in the previous two days. Our trip up Winyah Bay was right into a wind of 15 to 20 knots, and, of course, there was an incoming tide, so the waters on the bay were very choppy. We eventually got into the lee of the land, and the waters settled down.
We finally got into the Georgetown Harbor. Our friends, Barbara and Craig (s/y FREEDOM QUEST), whom we met in Jacksonville at Seafarers Marina, were on the public dock waiting for us. We had to use the public dock initially. We could not get into the dock at which we would be staying more permanently because of wind velocity and direction. They helped us get tied up to the public dock. We agreed to have dinner with them at The Big Tuna on the Harborwalk. As it so happens, the The Big Tuna is owned by the same person who owns the dock on which we were going to stay. The meal was going to be my birthday celebration meal. So, we settled into the public dock which had no water or electricity. I started the generator so we could run the aft air conditioner for Kitty to be comfortable.
Then we had a call from friends, John and Sheryl, whom we had seen when they passed through Jacksonville. They are looking for a cruising boat to purchase, which is why they were in Florida. John and Sheryl had been our neighbors on the dock when we were in Watergate Yachting Center, in Texas. Sheryl and John said they were about 15 minutes from Georgetown, and were on their way to Oriental, North Carolina, to look at another boat. They stopped off to visit us, so, of course, when they arrived, we started to visit and consume adult beverages.
Soon after their arrival, the owner of a boat tied behind me on the public dock, asked if we could move DREAM AWAY so he could move his boat over to another dock. His boat was not able to use his engine, so he would have to hand line the boat to the next dock. John suggested that, with all three of us, and a long line, we could just warp the boat, a Catalina 30, around DREAM AWAY, and put the Catalina on the other dock, without moving DREAM AWAY at all. We got the job done with no real mishap, and got the Catalina all tied up at its new dock. The owner, Fred, offered to buy us a drink at the The Big Tuna. John and I took Fred up on his offer so off we went, a 30-foot walk. Kitty and Sheryl were waiting for us, so we all had drinks, and got to visit with Fred.
Then we found out that Barbara and Craig waiting for us at a table in the other room at the The Big Tuna. Fred went on home and we joined Barbara and Craig at their table. A few minutes later Kory, Barbara and Craig's daughter joined us. We all had a great first meal in Georgetown. And it was made extra special as Sheryl and John bought Kitty and me our dinners for our birthdays! What a nice treat!
Right after dinner, we noticed, the wind had died down quite a bit, so we decided we could get DREAM AWAY into the slip on Buck's dock. Buck is who owns the dock on which we would be staying. John, Craig and I got on DREAM AWAY, and Barbara, Sheryl and Kitty went down to the dock. We were able to get DREAM AWAY backed into her new slip. Then we got the electricity connected, and all was good.
John and Sheryl left to continue their trip to Oriental, and we settled onto DREAM AWAY. It was a great first day in Georgetown. The people here so far are very friendly, and I think we are going to enjoy our stay here.
Please enjoy the pictures.