Friday, May 11, 2012

May 11th - St. Augustine, Florida to Beaufort, SC.

The trip up from Titusville went without incident. We'd been up through the ICW in the area before but it was a little different this time. When you're travelling by boat down a relatively narrow channel you tend to get focused on looking ahead or at the chart plotter. You very rarely look back unless you detect one of those big sport fishermen that are going to run you down very soon. As a result, the trip back took on a different look.
We stayed at a mooring in front of downtown St. Augustine for a couple days as we waited for my brother Dan and his friend Rosa to arrive on Sunday at which time we took a dock at the Municipal Marina for the day. We thought we'd seen just about everything in St. Augustine, but with Dan & Rosa, we discovered a whole new area of the inner city known as the Old Spanish Quarter. Basically it is a two mile pedestrian mall through the tiny streets and very old buildings. We gained a whole new appreciation for this place.
On Monday morning we had leave and start our journey north to Fernandina Beach. We had met two other new boaters, Chuck and Maryanne on Symphony, and Brian and Maxine on Benchmark. Both couples were also heading north after a winter in the Caribbean. The night was spent on moorings off Fernandina in strong winds and heavy rain.
Morning arrived and it was time to head north again. Benchmark had some issues with their inverter so they decided to remain and Symphony decided to run up the ICW rather than to make the outside run up to Brunswick, Georgia ... so on we went.
It was a good day with slight SE seas but not enough wind to carry us under sail alone .... this seems to happen a lot to us ... so on came the iron spinnaker once again.
Once inside we made our way in through Sapelo Sound, up the South Newport River to the Wahoo River where we found a cozy, bug and horse fly infested anchorage among the bullrushes .... and did I mention our breakfast friend ... the alligator? (31 36N 81 11W)

This 7 footer came knocking at the door looking for some fresh chicken ... but I was staying on the boat

A brief overnight stay at anchor turned into an early morning start for the short run up the coast that brought us inside of Hilton Head Island to an anchorage off the ICW in a small creek known as Skull Creek (32 15N 80 45W). This was a very quiet and secluded anchorage in behind a number of small islands that had their beginnings as spoil grounds when dredging the ICW .... or so we thought.
The women down here must be good cooks, because around supper time every fisherman from South Carolina came roaring in right past us leaving a huge wake for us to bounce around in.
We weren't going to drag the anchor tonight because we had put out 100 feet (our standard) of chain in 17 feet of water.
One hundred feet !!! Why did I have to put out that much? When we tried to retrieve the anchor the next morning .... BANG !!! Our electric windlass had raised about 10 feet of chain and it fetched up hard. No matter what we did, the chain was caught on something real heavy and very hard. Now what? .... TowBoat U.S. to the rescue! .... and bring a diver please!
Chuck and Maryanne had heard the Coast Guard calling us the day before (that was because I'd reported a buoy about two miles off position), but they couldn't hear us. Now they were hearing us calling TowBoat U.S. for help.
What had we gotten ourselves into? They were very concerned for us.
Well, the boat showed up, with diver who quickly discovered that our chain had tightly wrapped itself around some very big, steel. It could have been an old cannon or anchor but he wasn't sure. All he knew was that there was no way we were going to get it free without his services, so down he went again..... I let out a lot of extra chain, and could feel him tugging on the chain to remove the five or so wraps we had around this big object. Fifteen minutes later and we had our anchor back. Goo job Gene!!
Go figure, we probably discovered the only Confederate ship to have sunk in this water!
Soooo, off we go again, without our tails between our legs as this one wasn't our fault, and a short 20 mile run brough us up to Beaufort, S. C. (pronounced Bee You Firt).

WOW !!! What an amazingly beautiful place this is. It's one of the only towns that wasn't burnt to the ground by General Sherman in the Civil War. All the old plantation houses here date back into the late 1700's to early 1800's and they are certainly things of beauty. All two story with larger verandas and tall pillars. Right out of a page in the history books.

The entire old part of the town looks like this.
Eleven of the homes were used by the Confederate Army and converted into hospitals for the wounded soldiers. This one was Hospital #1.
The mansions are majestic looking as they stand among the live oaks.

The Spanish moss hanging from nearly every live oak tree provided a tranquil setting.

As we strolled through town we came upon St. Helena's Church. The surrounding church yard is a cemetery that contains the graves of many Civil War soldiers from both the Union and Confederate forces that were killed in action.

The graves are all laid out in perfect formation.

We read with great interest how these young gentlemen had lost their lives fighting to make America into a strong and united country .... (man I've been down here too long) ..... but this was still the United States and their history .... Wait!! What's this?

This war just got a lot closer to home.
Here lies the grave of a Cape Bretoner, from Louisbourg, who was a major in the 4th Regiment, SC Artillery. He had married a Beaufort girl, Sarah Wilkinson in 1778. He was the Lieutenant of Grenadiers in the Seven Year War, fought in the Civil War, was wounded in the Battle of Savannah and died in 1791 in Beaufort, SC.

Oh yeah, his name? John LaBoularderie de Treville, born in 1742 in Louisbourg, NS. Canada wasn't even a country yet! Halifax wasn't even founded when he was born!

We wanted to place a small Cape Breton flag by his grave but we were told not to.

Back to the present time ......
Friday morning was very pleasant wso we decided to walk into town to eat breakfast at Blackstone's Café What a perfect old fashioned little café

How many cars do we see that look like this running around?

We just had to check out this place, Ahhhh .... found it!

Jan was in Lollipop Heaven.

The next morning we decided to walk to town for some site-seeing. They must have awfully short dogs around here.

They even make the hydrants short for them. How accomodating!

We've had a few very enriched days here in Beaufort, SC but it's time to leave. Tomorrow it's north to Charleston. Man .... I need a hair cut!

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