March 29, 2018 – Charleston

Pot fo charlestonLeaving each port has been hard for all the friendship and hospitality we’ve experienced so far, but today, we really look forward to untying our lines and heading south. The spot we were given on the transient dock made us the closest boat to the waterway and for some reason, Isle of Palms has the monopoly on rude boat operators. Really, we’ve never rocked so much at any marina yet. The boats here small, large and everything in between, pass thru here without slowing even with ‘no wake’ signs! It’s really quite annoying, but a nice fifteen nautical mile cruise and we’ll be tied up at St Johns Yacht Harbor and no more Isle of Palms Marina rocking.

We start the day with Frankie getting his morning walk and then back to Kailani for departure preparations. We scheduled ourselves for a 10 am departure and we pull away on schedule. Since we only have a short cruise, we run at 800 rpm’s again and enjoy the scenery along the way anticipating the view once we enter Charleston Harbor. Just south of the Isle of Palms Marina is a golf course right alongside the waterway and now that the days are in the seventies, we see golfers in conventional golfwear, shorts and short sleeve shirts. This is finally nice to see. The weather forecasters tell us we should be in the seventies every day for at least the next week, so we are looking forward to keeping the hooded sweatshirts in the closet.

Today’s cruise includes passage thru two bascule bridges, however they are both 33 feet clearance, so we have no openings to include in our plan. In fact since we are travelling today during mostly lower tides, both bridges show 35 feet as we pass under.

Wapoo creek bascule bridgeA bascule bridge is a moveable bridge with a counterweight that continuously balances a span, or “leaf”, throughout its upward swing to provide clearance for boat traffic. It may be single- or double-leafed.  -tc    The tides here in South Carolina are definitely an issue to include in our cruise plan as they are typically 5-6 feet and shoaling has been lowering the depths quite a bit. So at least when we cruise during high tide, we pick up that extra 5 feet of water under Kailani’s keel.

The ICW has been calm lately, but as we enter the waters of Charleston Harbor, the southwest winds kick up the water and we are greeted with whitecaps along the entire three mile crossing. But the views are still spectacular with two cargo ships in the shipping lanes that we must cross and ferries carrying tourists to Fort Sumter and back. Also the views of the historical and modern structures within the city is a very unique sight. We must cross the entire harbor from the east to the west to reach the Wappoo Creek and continue on the ICW. The shores of Charleston are filled with huge marinas as we pass close by and the marinas look quite busy. The radio confirms just that as we hear many vessels calling for entry into each of the marinas.

As we go up the Ashley River side of Charleston, we turn to port into Wappoo Creek and a short five miles to the intersection with Stono River and our destination. First we must pass thru Elliot Cut, a half mile cut at the end of Wappoo Creek. This is a deep but narrow cut and commercial traffic would make a passing impossible but today we are fortunate as the Cut is empty. Even though we luck put with the traffic, the currents are not so friendly to us as they are swirling and at our head passing thru. Kailani is slowed by three knots making the pass thru Elliot Cut!

Once safely out of the Cut, we’re in the Stono River and we can see our destination a mile away. We call them to tell them we’ll be taking on fuel and a pumpout before going to our designated slip, so we are met on the dock and while I pump in 90 gallons of diesel, Tracy and the dock hand take care of emptying our holding tanks. Then we are given slip C29 and we will go bow in for this one to have starboard egress. The dock hand meets us at our slip and I take her in while Tracy and the dock hand tie her up. He stays and helps with the power and the water, but since we are bow-in, we have to move our power cords from the stern plugs to the starboard midship plugs otherwise the cords wouldn’t reach the dock. No big deal as Tracy disconnects the cords, hands them to my and I move them over to the starboard plugs and in short order we have good power on board.

We arrived here at St Johns Yacht Harbor at 12:30 pm so we have a nice long afternoon to get familiarized with the marina and the surroundings. Kim Russo, Executive Director of the America’s Great Loop Cruisers Association gets back to us and says she will stop by at 3 pm tomorrow for a visit. Also, Victoria, our new friend we met in Georgetown calls and says she can come over tomorrow morning to pick us up to go over to her husband JA’s Café for lunch. So Good Friday will be a good Friday!

Tracy makes a nice Steak and squash dinner and we turn in for the evening knowing we will have a busy day tomorrow.

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