Casper’s Marina, Swansboro, NC to River Dunes Marina, Oriental, NC — May 11, 2014

01 Owner is A Proud Swansboro Resident

02-Irish-Pub-Deli

02-Irish-Pub-Deli

03-Swansboro-Downtown-District

03-Swansboro-Downtown-District

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04-Swansboro-Downtown-District

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05-River-Dunes-Marina

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06-River-Dunes-Marina

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07-River-Dunes-Development-Concept

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08-River-Dunes-Restautant-Clubhouse

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09-River-Dunes-Street-Scene

10-River-Dunes-Residential-Area

10-River-Dunes-Residential-Area

11-Sunrise-Over-River-Dunes

11-Sunrise-Over-River-Dunes

The wind was blowing today and the sky was cloudy this morning.  They were predicting a chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon.  the water was a light chop because there was no real fetch or depth for the waves to build.

We were underway about 8:00.  We did our slow cruise up the ICW and I started to watch the color in the southern and western sky. It appeared to me that the sky was darkening so after about 10 miles we picked up the pace and went on plane to try and make River Dunes before any rain/thunderstorms.  I was checking the National Weather Service Radar and they showed some rain offshore in the Atlantic but nothing close by.

We did slow for passing boats in either direction, near the Port of Morehead City and for all the no wake zones in the canal to the Neuse River. The wind appeared to have died down and maybe was 10 mph.

It was Mother’s Day and there were a lot of families out in their runabout and pontoons just cruising the water.  We had a few faster cruisers that went by us but they did a slow pass also so that was good.

The sky stayed about the same for the entire trip. Not dark but not sunny.  River Dunes was as we remembered it from last year.  It is a residential community with its own marina basin off of Broad Creek.  With a separate basin there is no boat wake or even waves against the hull.

A little after we came in, a sailboat, Phoenix, came in and he asked to share a ride into Oriental this evening for dinner.  I had already reserved the courtesy car. The gentleman on Phoenix was single handling and on a return trip to Vermont.  He has been gone from Home for 3 years.  He had been to Europe and sailed the Mediterranean. Rather young person, maybe 40 or so.  The Phoenix is a 36′ sailboat that drafts 6′.  He had some interesting stories.  He crossed the Atlantic with a crew of 4 and he and his wife had cruised the Mediterranean.

We were joined in the courtesy car by 3 other gentlemen that came in late on a 54 Sedan Bridge.  They were taking the boat to the Chesapeake from the Bahamas.  They are leaving in the morning at first light.

Well the weatherman was wrong.  We never had any rain during the day or evening. Dinner was interesting in Oriental.  The restaurant, M & M’s was busy and the service was less than great but we still had good food.

Tomorrow we leave for Dowery Creek Marina just off the Pungo River, East of Belhaven NC.  We stopped there last year and enjoyed it.

 

Seapath Yacht Club, Wrightsville, NC to Casper’s Marina, Swansboro, NC — May 9, 2014

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03-Seapath-Yacht-Club-Long-Face-Dock

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07-Terrapin-Heading-North-On-THe-ICW-From-Wrightsville-Beach

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08-Wind-Blowing-In-Swansboro-Note-Flag

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09-Terrapin-Approaching-Caspers-Dock

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10-Looking-South-on-ICW-From-Caspers-Marina

The wind was still blowing this morning but not to bad.  During the night it had shifted from directly on the starboard side to about 30 degrees off the stern. It had me a little concerned about getting off the dock but I had one of the marina dockhands down next to the boat and essentially backed out into the channel, no problem.

We did not need to wait for any of the bridges today.  We passed under 2 that were listed at 12′ clearance but the tide was near low and we had about 18″ of clearance on both the Surf City Bridge and the Onslow Beach Bridge.

We were hailed on the VHF by a boat called Field Trip.  We last saw them in St Augustine and first met them in Alton IL on the rivers.  I could not raise them on a working channel so Lenore went down to look for their boat card so we could call them on the phone. While Lenore was down below my phone rang and it was Field Trip.  They were just leaving Swansboro and I was amazed that we heard them from about 45 miles away.  Anyway we talked to them and gave them a few suggestions based on our experience from last year.  Hope we catch up with them again.

Traffic was not to bad today, but there were still a lot of small boats and fishermen on the water.  The small boats do not really cause a problem but I do need to be aware they are around and make sure I can take evasive action if necessary.

One of the boats we have been kind of traveling with since Georgetown, After Taxes had a problem yesterday.  They ran aground on the ICW in the channel but with the assistance of another boat and the rising tide they got off.  They came up to the anchorage at Wrightsville Beach where they were anchoring with Linde and Terrapin. After they got the anchor down they went to start the generator and it would not start.  They looked into the engine compartment and there was a lot of water sloshing around and the generator was partially under water.  They pulled the anchor and went to the closest marina with a lift. The marina put a large pump in the bilge and ran it for a couple hours before they could haul the boat. Apparently they had run aground another time in the not to distant past and since that time they have had some water leakage problems in the bilge but nothing serious.  They investigated a number of times but couldn’t find where it was coming from. Well when they ran aground yesterday the crack in the hull worsened to the point that they had all that water in the bilge.  They will have repairs made and it will take a week or so (estimated now) and then they will be on their way.

We went by the Camp Lejeune Marine Base.  The signs on the ICW say to stop if the lights are flashing because they are taking gunnery practice with live ammo.  We were fortunate the lights were not flashing.  There were a few signs on the shore telling people to stay out – unexploded ordinance in the area. Pretty effective way to keep people out.

The wind really started to blow once we got within about 5 miles of Swansboro.  You could see the whitecaps on the ICW.  It made docking very interesting but at least I got to back into the wind to get into the slip.  While on the dock I had to leave my cap on the boat because the wind would have taken it off.  Probably was blowing 30 mph or more.

Swansboro is the home port for the couple on the boat Journey.  We met them in Green Turtle Bay Marina and saw them in Chattanooga last fall. They are actually the harbor hosts and are hosting a dinner tonight at their house.  They thought the house would be better because the boats are rocking in the wind.

We plan to stay here 2 days so Candy can get a medicated bath for her skin tomorrow.  She has been scratching an awful lot.

Mytle Beach Yacht Club, Little River, SC to Seapath Yacht Club, Wrightsville, NC— May 8, 2014

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01-Leaving-Myrtle-Beach-Yacht-Club

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04-Casino-Boat-In-North-Myrtle-Beach-Jacks-or-Better

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07-Must-Have-Been-A-Friend-Of-The-Boater-From-Yesterday

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08-Part-Of-The-Fishing-Fleet-Near-Little-River-Inlet

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09-Low-Country-Along-The-ICW-Near-North-Myrtle-Beach

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10-Seapath-Yacht-Club-Boat-Basin1

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11-Seapath-Yacht-Club-On-Left-With-Tower-Condos-On-Right1

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12-Looking-Back-Toward-ICW-from-Seapath-Yacht-Club1

Candy and I were out early today. There was a large boat, probably 60′, that came in yesterday evening and they put them on the gas dock not to far from us. The boat was from Marblehead MA.  They left this morning at 6:00 as Candy and I were starting our walk.

The weather was perfect again and we got underway about 8:00.  No stops along the way today but we did hear Terrapin and After Taxes on the VHF radio.  As we passed the Little River Inlet from the Atlantic we saw Linde anchored out and they hailed us on the radio.  They are hoping to catch us one night at a marina so we can compare notes on the trip. They are planning on anchoring out in the Wrightsville area tonight.

We had very little traffic up to where we entered the Cape Fear River.  There was a large container ship just coming in from the Atlantic and it had its name written in Arabic on the hull.  He was moving pretty good, probably 14 mph and we were moving a little over 10 mph with the tide. I stayed out of his way and let him get well ahead of us and then pulled in behind him.  We followed him for about 10 miles until we cut off for the ICW near Carolina Beach.

The traffic on the water was not to bad until we got to the Carolina Beach area and the rest of the way to Wrightsville.  Lots of pleasure boaters that you would think it was a weekend.  They were all over the place with pontoon boats, personal water craft, center consoles, etc.  All different sizes.  I was concerned in some places for the wake I was putting out but then a 30′ powerboat passes me on plane and my wake is like a ripple compared to his.

Wrightsville is a real popular place with an awful lot of development all along the ocean shore.  It looks like condominium after condominium. No wonder there are so many people around. The area along the ICW is packed with restaurants and marinas on both sides.  It appears to be a real popular area.

Wrightsville Beach is on the ICW and east toward the Atlantic.  When you drive a little further in you are in Wilmington NC. Lenore and I used a courtesy car to go into dinner and had a great time at a place called Slice of Life.  It is a cross between a Sports Bar and a Pizza Place.  Food was really good and we raised the average age of the customers.

 

Harbourwalk Marina, Georgetown, SC to Mytle Beach Yacht Club, Little River, SC — May 7, 2014

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01-Trumpy-Yacht-Preparing-To-Dock-In-Georgetown

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02-Sunset-In-Georgetown-SC

03-Downtown-House-In-Georgetown-SC

03-Downtown-House-In-Georgetown-SC

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04-Downtown-House-In-Georgetown-SC

05-Somebody-Had-A-Problem-Approaching-Myrtle-Beach

05-Somebody-Had-A-Problem-Approaching-Myrtle-Beach

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06-Myrtle-Beach-Area-With-Fishing-Boats

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07-Myrtle-Beach-Area-With-Fishing-Boats

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08-After-Taxes-On-ICW-Near-Myrtle-Beach

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09-Myrtle-Beach-Yacht-Club-With-Black-n-White-Lighthouse

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10-Myrtle-Beach-Yacht-Club-South-Fairway

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11-Myrtle-Beach-Yacht-Club-Looking-Northeast

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12-Myrtle-Beach-Yacht-Club-Champ-III-In-Her-Slip

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13-Harbor-Entrance-To-Myrtle-Beach-Yacht-Club-From-Captains-Club-Deck

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14-Looking-Southeast-Over-Myrtle-Beach-Yacht-Club-From-Captains-Club-Deck

The weather is still holding.  It was sunny with clear skies this morning and the afternoon temps were in the high 80’s.

Georgetown was great with lots of old homes and Candy any I walked thru several of the residential neighborhoods. The downtown and riverfront are still very nice in spite of the fire they had last September.

We stayed 2 days and on the 2nd day Terrapin came into the harbor.  They wanted to be closer to downtown.  They had walked in from the Landing Marina last night for dinner.  The boat with them is After Taxes and the people are from Malone NY.  That is upstate NY, not to far from the Canadian border.

I mentioned we were probably going up thru Lake Champlain and taking the St Lawrence into the 1,000 Island area of New York,  After Taxes has spent many summers on the St Lawrence and in Montreal.  He listed all the things we should do and places to stop.  I finally gave him a boat card and asked him to email me because there was no way I could remember all of what he said and it was all good information.

We were on the water at 8:00 because we needed to stop for fuel south of Myrtle Beach at Osprey Marina.  We stopped there last year and they had the best price of the whole LOOP.  I mentioned this to Terrapin and After Taxes and they chatted with Linde on the VHF.  Linde is another boat that we traveled with on the Mississippi and have not seen them since the river system. Anyway we were the 3rd boat into Osprey and the fueling took a little longer than last year.

We went on from Osprey to the Myrtle Beach Yacht Club.  It is about 8 miles past the place where we stayed last year.  I re-space the stops so we could eliminate the 80 mile day we did to reach Swansboro NC.

The marina office was only about 300′ from the slip they assigned us and we were all the way back in the marina so there was not going to be any ICW wake tonight.  Right above the office was a bar/restaurant called The Officers Club.  As transients we got a free pass into The Officers Club.

While having dinner we also saw the couple from Water Hog.  They are from Connecticut and they were ahead of us in Osprey for fuel today. This is getting to be a pretty small world.

Tomorrow we will head to Wrightsville NC which is north of the Cape Fear River.

St Johns Yacht Harbor, Charleston, SC to Harbourwalk Marina, Georgetown, SC — May 5, 2014

01-Leaving-St-Johns-Yacht-Harbor

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03-Low-Country-West-of-St-Johns-Yacht-Harbor

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05-Downtown-Charleston

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08-Charleston-Waterfront-Home

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09-These-Seagulls-Think-We-Are-A-Fishing-Boat

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10-These-Seagulls-Think-We-Are-A-Fishing-Boat

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11-Looking-Out-On-Bay-From-Harbourwalk-Marina

12 Harbourwalk Marina In Georgetown SC 13 Fighting Ducks In Harbourwalk Marina 14 Site of Last Falls Fire In Georgetown SC - Last Year There Was No Gap in The BuildingsWhat a glorious morning.  Temps in the mid 60’s and the sky is clear.  They are predicting 90 for today so we headed out fairly early to get on the water before it really warmed up.

We went thru Elliot Cut from the Stono River and that put us in the Downtown Charleston Harbor.  We did get a few pictures and headed out into Charleston Bay to the northbound ICW, about 6 miles away.

We did not have the recreational boaters today but there was a lot of northbound traffic with both power cruisers and sailboats moving north.  Lots of chatter on the VHF radio and no real Coast Guard on the radio today.

We did hear Terrapin on the radio and they were ahead of us.  We have not seen them since the river system last fall.  They are a 46′ DeFever Pilothouse that moves pretty slow, like a turtle, and he does not make any apologies for that.  We did not talk to them and they are staying in Georgetown at a different marina.  We will catch up with them later on the route north.  They are from Duncan Bay Michigan.

Last year we were invaded by large flies in the Low Country south of Georgetown.  At times there were probably 10 to 15 on the boat and we solved the problem by going faster.  This year we had a couple of flies but they were not a problem. At most there were 3 in the cockpit at once.

We had a sport fisherman come up on us on plane on the ICW and he slowed down when he got right on our stern. I slowed down and we did a nice slow pass.  About 2 hours later there is a large boat coming up on us on plane and I slow down hoping he gets the hint.  Well it was the same sport fisherman.  I do not know where they stopped, but they must have found a place for lunch or fuel.

As we were cruising along I heard a lot of seagulls behind us and I looked around.  There must have been 20 seagulls flying around following us on the ICW.  They must have followed us for 10 miles. Sometimes they would fall back and some times they would be close.  I guess we got them to their territorial limits and they went back to home base.

We arrived in Georgetown and we are curious to see the Downtown.  They had a major fire last September and lost eight businesses/buildings along the harbor walk.  The buildings were totally consumed but the boardwalk next to the harbor is still intact so you can walk all the way around the fire site.  They have just finished up the cleanup because there was asbestos in the buildings so that had to be dealt with.  No word yet on rebuilding efforts by the building owners. These buildings only represents maybe 10% to 15% of the downtown businesses so while it is unfortunate, it could have been a lot worse.

Lenore remembers a couple of the shops she visited last year so we will stay here a couple of nights so she can revisit the shops and we can catch our breath a little.

 

Lady’s Island Marina, Beaufort, SC to St Johns Yacht Harbor, Charleston, SC — May 4, 2014

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01-Looking-Toward-Downtown-Beaufort-From-Ladys-Island-Marina

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02-Beaufort-Swing-Bridge-Notice-Low-Tide-On-Right

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06-Looking-South-On-ICW-While-Underway

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07-Low-Country-On-The-Way-To-Charleston-Near-High-Tide

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08-Work-Barge-On-ICW-South-Of-Charleston

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11-A-Relative-of-The-Person-In-Isle-of-Hope

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12-Sunset-In-Charleston

Another good travel day with the sky clear and the sun shining. We left early not knowing exactly how the tides might effect the travel time.  It is hard to predict (for me) which way the water will flow.  There are so many inlets and rivers so it is hard to say if the tide going out, or in, will boost our speed or reduce it.

The tide was against us to start the day but for a good portion of the day we got an assist from the tides. We averaged about 1 mile an hour more than what we would travel in still water.

Today was Sunday and with the weather good there was a lot of local boaters out along the way and they all like to have their runabouts up on plane.  Those less than 20′ are not much of an issue but those in the mid 20 foot size and larger can cause some pretty good wakes.

There was a lot of traffic on the VHF radio and some was the Coast Guard who had a distress call from a boat about 70 miles out in the Atlantic from Charleston.  A lot of talk on channel 16 that was not distress related and I was somewhat surprised that the Coast Guard did not come on and say something about going to a working channel.

As we got within 20 miles of Charleston the traffic was really pretty heavy and my guess is most of these boaters have never heard of a safe boating class and would not attend one. For the most part the larger boats moving north are courteous to each other and call about passing and keep everyone informed of shallow water spots.

Not a lot of scenery today except for the “low country” along the ICW.  This is essentially land that is submerged during high tide and out of the water at low tide.  The tides we have been seeing since before Savannah are in the range of 6′ to 7′ and that can have quite an effect on the water levels near the channel edges when you get near low tide.  We have been fortunate to travel mostly during the rising and falling tides so we have a couple of extra feet to help us along.

We decided to stay at different marina in Charleston this year because we are planning only one night in Charleston and the distance to get Candy to grass was quite long at last years marina.  We chose another highly rated marina, St Johns Yacht Harbor.  Very nice place with all the amenities and everything is in great repair. Medium walk to get to the grass but Candy is fine with it.  They originally wanted to put us on a T head dock and I asked if they had any slips interior to the marina.  Within a minute or 2 we were assigned an inside slip that affords additional protection from the boat waked on the Stono River. There were a couple of times that it seemed like we had no protection from the wakes but it finally calmed down late in the evening.

 

Isle of Hope Marina, Savannah, GA to Lady’s Island Marina, Beaufort, SC — May 3, 2014

 

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01-Cruise-Ship-On-The-ICW-South-of-Savannah

 

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02-You-Have-To-Be-A-Special-Person-To-Drive-This

 

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03-Ray-And-Patti-From-Oh….Kay

 

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04-Savannah-Home-Near-Marina

 

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05-Savannah-Home-Near-Marina

 

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06-Savannah-Home-Near-Marina

 

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07-Savannah-Home-Near-Marina

 

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08-Savannah-Home-Near-Marina

 

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09-Savannah-Home-Near-Marina

 

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10-Leaving-Isle-of-Hope-Marina

 

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11-Low-Tide-Along-The-Rvier-at-Savannah

 

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12-Fellow-Travelers-Boat-At-Hinkley-Marine-in-Savannah

 

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16-We-Head-North-On-ICW-With-Container-Ship-On-Savannah-River

 

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17-Egrit-Along-The-ICW-In-South-Carolina

We left Isle Of Hope Marina today are back on the water.  We waited for some of the rain to pass but it never rained really bad in the Savannah area.  We had some work done on the boat to get the generator running again and replaced the battery charger. Fortunately everything went well.

The homes in the neighborhood around the marina were very interesting.  I took some pictures to give a sampling.  The setting with all the landscaping, large oak trees and the hanging moss is really dramatic.  The only problem is that we shared this with the no-seeums.  We have lots of bug bites to prove it.

Our friends on Moonstruck2 and Oh…..Kay left before us.  Moonstruck2 was on their way to Beaufort and Oh….Kay went to Hinkley’s Marina in Savannah to leave their boat for a month while they went back home to Colorado. We had a lot of laughs and made some friends along the way.

The day started out in the mid 60’s with plenty of clouds.  The weatherman said it would clear by about 1:00 in the afternoon. It did clear but we had a few sprinkles along the way. They did not last long and the cloud cover was actually good because it made it more comfortable cruising. The sky did clear about 2:00 and was sunny and cloudless the rest of the day.

The cruise was fairly uneventful. The only real exciting part was when we crossed the Savannah River.  There were a couple of large container ships that were on the river.  One was headed out to the Atlantic and the other was coming in.  The one headed out was stacked with containers 6 high on the deck and from side to side.  They certainly look top heavy when they are loaded like that.

Again most of the boat traffic on the ICW was headed north.  We passed several trawlers and several sailboats during the day.  I think most of them are from the New England Area and are headed home for the summer.

It is hard to believe that we are out of Georgia already and into South Carolina. The miles and the States are rolling by.

We called and tried to make reservations in Beaufort at the Downtown Municipal Marina but Beaufort is having a festival downtown this weekend and the marina is full. I looked over the other marina options in the area and the Lady’s Island Marina got great reviews and is just across the ICW from Downtown Beaufort.  We made reservations and it was a very nice place.  There were a lot of businesses in the area within walking distance and a good restaurant, Dockside, right next to the marina office.

I did take a walk and was able to find a bakery open and they had some fresh baked olive bread.  I bought a loaf and Lenore said it was really good after she had a sample. The Dockside restaurant was also very good.  Overall this was a great stop.