Thursday, November 4, 2010


North Myrtle Beach, SC 33º48.114N | 78º44.786W

Have you ever been home alone, late at night, you hear a strange noise and your brain hijacks your thoughts and runs wild? It replays the worst scenes in every scary movie you've ever seen. You break into a cold sweat.

That happened to me today, but it wasn't midnight, and I wasn't home alone. I was standing on the bow of our boat. We left North Myrtle Beach knowing it was going to be an uncomfortable ride through rain. We also knew the first leg would be foggy, because it was when we left.

What we didn't really expect was for the fog to totally close in around us.

This photo was taken just before the fog closed in.
I got the binoculars and went to the bow. From there I could see well enough to direct Chip to stay in the middle of the channel but had to strain to see what would materialize ahead.

There I was alone on the bow in dense fog, trying to identify shapes in the haze of gray, repeatedly seeing apparitions that were there one moment and gone the next. The boat behind blew its foghorn every minute or so, a deep mournful BWAAAAA-AAAHHH. It was when I remembered the name of that boat that my brain ran away with me. Skinwalker.

After indulging my little horror flick for a moment or so, I assessed the reality. I was here on my own boat, Chip at the helm, heading south to the Bahamas. The kind people on Skinwalker had been hailing us on the VHF to make sure all was well.

In fact, on second thought, I found I was having a blast.

A quick lift of the left arm signaled Chip to give the autopilot one click to port, and right for starboard. Just like that we inched along with Skinwalker sounding the foghorn, a good thing because our only horn sounded more like we were cheering a high school touchdown with none of the gravity of a proper foghorn. (Add foghorn to the shopping list.)

Eventually, Skinwalker passed us with some encouraging words and a radio call telling us what to expect ahead.

Skinwalker passes ahead, taking the fog with him.
I had never heard of the Sirens of Bucksport, but we saw them today. The Bucksport Marina had been closed for a few days, so a gaggle of boat were tied up for free, and a sailors' party was brewing. The men standing along the dock beckoned us over as we passed.

Sailboats belonging to the Sirens of Bucksport.
Then our friends on Kajon hailed us to say they had joined the party, did we want to come back. That's when it started pouring.

Skinwalker hailed us to say it was worsening up ahead, maybe we should consider joining our friends.

As we prepared to turn back, the rain let up. We huddled (puddled?) up and decided, reluctantly, to forgo the party and forge ahead.

Fog, rain, gray water, gray sky. We tied up in Georgetown at 2:30, wet, tired and happy. 

Our first call was to people we've never met, the sweet and generous folks on Skinwalker, who monitored our progress all day, giving us weather reports and serving as travel guides to spots we should see along the way -- and who asked us to let them know where we ended up for the night.

Our second call was to Joe and Debbie on Kajon, who also wanted to know when we arrived safely. 

It brings to mind that barista we met our second day out. June told us, "Some of the best people on earth are water people."

I can see now that it's true. The guardian angels of the waterway saw us through.

Georgetown, SC 33º21.664N | 79º16.822W

Fresh catch in Georgetown, SC.
Georgetown's oldest citizen.


  1. Cool, it almost looked like there was snow. Great writing and thru it all in the end you had a great day and are happy!


  2. Assuming you are not still is Georgetown, we have almost caught up. If you ARE still in Georgetown, then we have caught up. :)