Monday, November 7, 2011


Beaufort, SC 32º25.642N | 80º40.837W

As another storm rolled in on Friday, we were unceremoniously expelled from Charleston Maritime Marina, not because we were bad guests, but because our reservation had expired, and the new tenant of our slip was standing off, just outside the marina.

So, off we went at low tide, freezing cold in a 20-25 knot wind gusting to 30, warmed only by a hail on the VHF from Bill & Ana on Knot Tied Down. It was great to hear from them, even though we didn't actually get to see them up close. On down the line....

With an impending blow, we anchored in Tom Point Creek, a lovely if narrow spot where we put out enough anchor chain to hold without careening us into either shore on an unexpected wind shift. We then cranked up the propane heater and holed up below in the toasty cabin listening to the wind howl in the rigging all night.

Calmer conditions had settled in by morning, and we made a late start, just after noon, trying to pair seven- to eight-foot tide swings with shallow cuts. Our math was magical, putting us just before the Ashpoo Cut, known for its shallow, shoaly waters, as high tide approached. Perfect.

"Cara Mia, Cara Mia, This is Jessie Marie. Go up one."

"Our cabin is filling with smoke. Standing by on 1-7."

We were right at a cross cut between the ICW and Rock Creek. We made a joint decision to anchor both boats, the smoking one and the non-smoking one, just to the port side, in Rock Creek. Jessie Marie, with a hole in her exhaust elbow, expertly sailed onto anchor with just a jib, into a wide open, calm anchorage -- and made dinner for us.

We all settled in for a night of predicted 10-15 knot breezes, a nice break from the blow of the previous night.


By 10 p.m. it was blowing a steady 20+, NNW, dead straight down the creek, which was fine, for a while.

I had fallen asleep at about 9:30, only to be wakened at 11:15 to a loud screech at the bow. When the current switched, it turned the boat's stern dead into the wind. The wind blew the boat right up over the anchor, pushed us to the end of the chain and, as you might imagine, an abrupt halt, the bow dipping quite disturbingly. Then the snubber and chain would scrape across the hull, like fingernails on a chalkboard if those nails were King Kong's and the chalkboard was beside your pillow. The chain would flip to the other side of the boat, backing off for another approach.

This battle of wind and current went on for six very long hours.

The current shifted the bow back into the wind between 5 and 6 a.m., allowing us to take a tiny catnap before the alarm went off at 6:15.

I've never been so happy to hear an alarm.

Jessie Marie planned to wait for the rising tide in the afternoon to sail through the cut, so we bolted through on the early falling tide, bleary eyed and delighted to have Cara Mia out of hell's anchorage, apparently without harm.

The wind was still blowing between 20 and 25 knots as we waddled up the Coosaw River wearing everything warm and fleecy that we owned, taking one-hour turns with the helm -- and the fleece.


Beaufort, SC, welcomed us at 10:30 with a calm anchorage and nearly warm sunshine, celebrated with a long, afternoon nap.

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