Our mission -- Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enter .. OOPS, sorry, I got carried away. Let me start again.

Our mission -- Warm Waters and Great Weather: The final frontier. These are the voyages of the Motor Vessel Traveling Soul. Its five-year mission: to explore strange warm waters, to seek out new forms of recreation and new civilizations, to boldly go where no Brown, Applegate or Higgins has gone before.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Southport to Savannah

We know we want to spend Thanksgiving in St. Augustine, so while in Southport, we added up the number of days left until Thanksgiving, and compared that to the number of days it will take us to complete our cruise to St. Augustine plus the number of days we intend to spend in port sightseeing. We found a disconnect. It seemed as if we would have to drop some of our planned stops. Hmmm. Well, we certainly couldn’t delete Beaufort, SC – we have friends there and a couple of museums we want to see. We couldn’t leave Savannah off the list, as we wanted to take Dave and Joan around the city on the Tour-mobiles and we wanted to eat at Paula Deen’s restaurant. We certainly could not forget Jekyll or Cumberland Islands as these are two of our favorite stops on the Waterway. So, it was goodbye Georgetown, Fort McAlister, Darien, maybe even Ft. George, and everyplace else we had thought about stopping. Maybe next time.

Even by leaving these wonderful sites off our agenda, we were going to have to put the pedal to the metal and crank through some miles. We decide to push hard for three days straight, putting about 60 miles behind us every day and to anchor each night. That would put us about 180+ miles closer to our destination, which would catch us up and maybe put us ahead of schedule by a day or two. And we were off.

We had to time our departure from Southport with the tides because we were heading  for North Carolina’s infamous inlets (said in a sinister voice), especially Lockwood’s Folly (so named because a man named Lockwood built a boat at his house, then, when he was finished found that he had made the draft so deep he couldn’t get it out to the ocean, and Shallote’s Inlet. These inlets are notorious for shoaling up and causing cruisers fits. We left around d 0900 and got there about half way through the rising tide cycle – which is exactly what we wanted to do. We had no problems.

The weather the first day was kind of strange. There was a little bit of sun, a little bit of rain and a whole lot of humidity. Well, it could have been worse, I guess; it could have been snowing (which it soon would be in Maryland and Virginia). That night we anchored just south of Myrtle Beach, SC at what I call the Enterprise Landing Anchorage, which is really an oxbow off the Waccamaw River. We had anchored there before and had not had any problems. This time, however, there was a boat that arrived in the anchorage before we did and got the best spot. We went for what looked like the second best spot and had trouble finding a place that would hold the anchor. In fact we tried three more times before we found a location that had decent holding. Eventually, though, the anchor held when I backed down on it, and we spent a quiet night in the cedar swamps of South Carolina.

The second day was really warm and it was actually T-shirt weather. The cruise itself was nice and easy though, I must admit that it was a little long. That night we spent in Awendaw Creek, just south of that booming metropolis of McClelanville, SC. McClelanville’s claim to fame is … well … nothing. That’s why we didn’t stay. When we arrived at the anchorage, earlier than planned, there were already two boats there. One, a big 53’ Hatteras, was way over on the southern bank of the creek and appeared to be in the process of being towed by TowboatUS. According to his buddy who was waiting for him in the second boat, the Hatteras’ anchor had dragged the previous night and he had ended up aground in the marsh. TowboatUS had to wait until the tide was high enough to pull him off the bank. We let out a lot of chain that night and I made sure our anchor was secure before we went to bed. I also took my anchor alarm to bed with me and checked it several times during the night. In the event, we had to work the next morning to get the anchor unstuck from the mud. We weren’t going to drag anywhere. 

The third night we anchored in Toogoodoo Creek. Many of you may remember the reason I like Toogoodoo so much – because it is so much fun to both say and write. Toogoodoo turned out to be dolphin central as there were at least fifteen or twenty of them in the area just swimming and leaping and having a good ol’ time. On the downside, there was nice weather during day, but that night the spigots opened up and we had some serious rain. In fact, the weather that evening and most of the following day was generally yucky. I know, I know, I promised not to use technical terms. “Yucky” is a term we mariners use to refer to weather that is the opposite of “non-yucky.”

Ann, Dave and Joan -- and if you look closely, you will see 
Spot -- in one of the gre4at pix taken by Kyle and Kathy as
 we passed their dock in Beaufort, SC.
At midday on the fourth day we arrived in Beaufort, SC. As it turns out, our friends Mark and Becky aboard Sea Angel, and Tom and Christina aboard Tadhana were both there. In addition, Kyle and Kathy were also in Beaufort. Although we had met them in the Bahamas aboard their boat Now and Zen, they were in fact staying in their house in Beaufort (which has a nice 50’ dock, oh by the way).

We met Tom and Christina for lunch at Luther’s. Many of you know my opinion of dockside bars and restaurants. In any restaurant, Brown’s Law goes, you want three things: good food, quality service and an outstanding view. For dockside restaurants, you can, at best, pick two out of three. At Luther’s the food was really pretty good, the view was excellent, but the service was extraordinarily slow. It worked out pretty well, though, as we got to spend a lot of time with Tom and Christina and did some good catching up. Since Mark and Becky were at the same marina we were, we asked them over to our boat for drinks. We learned they were in the process of selling their boat and moving onto the land. Kyle and Kathy asked us to their beautiful new house in Beaufort for dinner. We ate, drank and generally had a great time. Kyle and Kathy also took a picture of Traveling Soul as we passed their house on the way further south.

 Besides visiting friends, we also wanted to visit a couple of museums in Beaufort. My personal favorite was the St. Elena Museum. Those of you who believe Jamestown was the first settlement in America are, of course, mistaken. Not only is St. Augustine the oldest continuously-occupied settlement in America, but St. Elena – though not continuously-occupied – is actually the second oldest settlement as it was occupied in 1566. Shortly thereafter it was declared the capital of all of Spanish Florida (which consisted, according to Madrid, of all of present-day Florida and substantial portions of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and southeastern Louisiana. The Spanish eventually gave up on St. Elena and abandoned the area for St. Augustine in 1587. St. Elena was later colonized by the French, the Spanish again, then finally the English who occupied it until the American Revolution. The story of St. Elena is the story of the interaction among the French, the Spanish and the English in sixteenth century America.

One of the batteries at Fort Fremont
We also visited Fort Fremont, a coastal artillery fortification designed and built from 1898 – 1900 to protect Port Royal from foreign attack. I guess we were worried about the Spanish since we had just defeated them in the Spanish-American War and there were really no other potential opponents on the horizon. The complex at Fort Fremont consisted of four gun batteries, one 4.7” rapid fire battery and three batteries of 10” disappearing guns. The fort was originally on 170 acres of land with numerous outbuildings, including an Administration building, guard house, barracks, hospital, stable, mess hall, bakery, commissary, post exchange, lavatory, and water tower. Of these, only the emplacements for the gun batteries remain.  All the other structures were made of wood and were demolished before 1989. What is left of the gun batteries is massive hunks of concrete. I mean massive (see the pictures). Today it is a state park on 15 acres.

In addition, we went on a carriage tour of Beaufort. Although the tour was interesting, I think the most important thing we learned was not always to believe tour guides. Ours was very good, though she was not completely, entirely, totally accurate on a few points. She did, however, point out that Beaufort was the second oldest city in South Carolina (after Charleston) and that there had been a number of films shot there. There was: The Great Santini (1979), The Big Chill (1983), The Prince of Tides (1991), Daughters of the Dust (1992), A Perfect World (1993), Forrest Gump (1994), The War (1994), The Jungle Book (1994), Chasers (1994), Something to Talk About (1995), White Squall (1996), Last Dance (1996), Gone Fishin’ (1997), G.I. Jane (1997), Animals (1997), Forces of Nature (1998), Rules of Engagement (2000), Legend of Bagger Vance (2000).

Our transportation on the Beaufort Carriage Tour. 
His name is Phillipe
In fact, Tom Hanks liked the city do much he later vacationed there. There is another story that is told about Barbara Streisand. When filming Prince of Tides, she was upset that the Marine aircraft were flying during the day and disrupting her filming. She called the Base Commander and demanded that he restrict flying during certain hours. He promised to see what he could do. The next morning three FA-18’s (very loud aircraft) turned on their afterburners over the city at 0300. Although the Commander later published a full paid ad in the newspaper apologizing to the locals for the stunt, when Ms. Streisand called, he reminded her about the “sounds of freedom.”  Ms. Streisand hasn’t been back. Anyhow that’s the tour guide’s story and she is sticking to it.

Mike, Ann, Dave and Joan at Paula Deen's Restaurant
in Savannah
Our next stop was Thunderbolt Marina just outside of Savannah. The reason we stopped was, as you might have guessed, to visit Savannah. We “ubered” into town, then took the Old Town Trolley (a get-on and get-off trolley) on which we visited a number of Savannah’s historical sites. We departed the trolley to eat at Paula Deen’s restaurant. Although she is well known in southern chef circles, our consensus was that the place deserves a good, solid “B” (Dave “A”, Joan “A-“, Mike “B”, Ann “C”). I (Mike) will say that the fried chicken is some of the best I have had – other than Ann’s, of course. But the sandwich I had was tasteless and the soup was cold and not very good.

After lunch we stopped at the Webb Military museum. It is the personal collection of … well, a certain Mr. Webb. He has collected military uniforms and paraphernalia from nearly all the nation’s wars. He even had a jungle fatigue jacket worn by General Westmoreland and two shirts worn by Bob Hope during his Vietnam tours. There was also a MiG 21 cockpit. Thanks to our friends Frank and Sue for recommending the museum.

Ann’s Notes: My portion of the blog will be quick, Michael wants to send this out tonight. Our adventures with Dave and Joan aboard have been fun  they have seen some locations and had some experiences that not everyone gets to experience – even if we had to skip a few of our favorites.  

I am going to call this portion of the blog “Dialing For Turkey Thighs” Let me give you a few facts… (I’ll refer to these later)

·       Population of Lady’s Island SC is 12,570

·       Population of Beaufort SC is 13,729

·       Population of Bluffton SC is 21,085

Y’all  ( please note, I do speak Suth’n) …Those of you who know me well know that I am a planner, it makes me happy and living that way is easy for me. So … most of y’all also know we have a big holiday coming up—one that involves turkey. We will be on a mooring ball at that time in St. Augustine FL with our stove running the generator. Add all those facts together and to me it equals quite a bit of pre-planning to serve a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Should be easy Right? Not so fast.

The screwdriver may be tough top see, but believe me it is there.
While in Beaufort we stayed in a marina that had a courtesy car because I planned it that way… I needed a courtesy car to get to the grocery store. Well…the “courtesy car” looks like a car but it came with a set of unusual driving instructions. Our first clue was that it had a Bahamian license plate in the front – those of you who know the Bahamas are beginning to get the picture.  The first instruction was to make sure you leave the screw driver in the gearshift . You see, although the car sounded like a modern jet plane, like a jet plane taking off as a matter of fact), the screwdriver kept the gearshift in place. Ok, we manage to get the car to the local Publix grocery store on Lady’s Island. All I want is four good size turkey thighs to cook. We went to the turkey meat section and they only had one package with two thighs in it. I talked to the meat manager thinking they surely had more in the back. Wrong…he told me a gentleman had come in the day before and bought two cases of thighs, so all they had was what was on the shelf. Well, they have a Walmart, down the road and certainly Walmart will have thighs. We get into the “sort of car,” drive to Walmart, and  NO THIGHS.

Let’s try Food Lion, back into the clown car, NO Thighs…good heaven there is not …ok…only two turkey thighs to be found on Lady’s Island. Please Note the population above.

Now the phone calls start, I called the local meat market, no thighs.

Called a Publix in northern Beaufort, no thighs…please note the population..

Called the Publix in Bluffton, twenty miles away, talked to Hector in the meat department, he is holding four thighs for me. The marina clown car cannot make that trip. Thank the heavens for our friends Mark and Becky. She has a car that looks like a car, drives like a car and does not need a screwdriver in any way shape or form. Michael and Joan drove to the store, I was DONE with the turkey thigh search. My conclusion … only towns with large populations have turkey thighs available for pre-planners, like me.

So when Dave, Joan, Michael and I set down for dinner on Thanksgiving, while floating in our boat, on a mooring ball, in St. Augustine FL…we will give thanks to Mark and Becky for providing the transportation to get those thighs. And for moi and all the pre-planning that went into the meal.

Just one more funny thing I found on Facebook that has to do with speaking Southern.

The southern definition of Namaste:

One southern asking another…

“There is a hurricane coming…are you going to evacuate?”

His friend’s response? … Namaste here

Mike here. Ok, I know it’s bad when you have to explain a joke, but for those of you who don’t understand southern, that translates to: “Nah, I’m ‘a’ stay.”

Traveling Soul …OUT

1 comment:

  1. Glad we got to say hello on VHF. We’ll have to check out the St Elena museum on our next visit to Beaufort. Happy Thanksgiving!