As we departed Charleston SC to continue our journey northward, I couldn’t help but notice more relaxed attitudes in the cockpit as we approached infamous shoaling areas and other trouble spots on the ICW. We were still mindful, and vigilant. We still researched tides paying attention to floods and ebbs, and slack. But knowing that we have yet to touch bottom in “the ditch” is a reassurance that we lacked last fall. We were still surprised that the winter dredging of Isle of Palms still left a number of shallow spots, and we had less than a foot under our keel south of Awendaw Creek at mid-tide. McClellenville was a bit skinny too, as we suspected it would be. But we conquered all, and anchored on the South Santee River, grilling burgers for dinner with a view of a spectacular sunset.
The next morning, we ventured just a few hours north to arrive in Georgetown SC, a new stop for us since we bypassed it on our way south. We had a couple of afternoon hours to explore this charming town, and I especially delighted in buying unique frozen entrees in Kudzu Bakery, which should really be called Kudzu Gourmet Market. A real treat for boaters!
That evening, we greeted Deanne and Charlie, who drove from their home on nearby Pawley’s Island to join us for cocktails on Belle Bateau, and then dinner at River Road. Deanne and I have collaborated on several occasions for a mutual client, and it was great fun catching up with her and meeting her husband.
Day 185 began with intentions of docking at a marina at Mile 353 but the current in the Waccamaw River was pushing us along so swiftly that we decided we could motor a few miles further to Myrtle Yacht Club and finally rendezvous with friends Annette and Anthony on Magnolia.
We first met A&A in 2010, shortly after we bought our former boat Blind Date, when our two sailing vessels were side-by-side in Galesville MD. Since then, our young friends have retired (yes, they are younger than us and already retired) and are living the dream full-time on their Morgan 44. This is their third season of cruising and they have made it to the Bahamas all three years. We were anxious to finally meet up and share stories. And it was quite nice to have Anthony greet us on the dock, ready to take our lines.
That evening, the Bakers invited us to join them for dinner with their friends Joe and Christine at the Officer’s Club. By the end of dinner, we had convinced Christine to join A&A on Magnolia for the short hop to Southport NC. Love spontaneity!
The next morning, we followed Magnolia, crossing into North Carolina and making it through Shallotte Inlet and Lockwoods Folly without incident. Both boats docked at Southport Marina, and the Captain and I left to explore the town that we had only visited for a nanosecond via car with friends in the fall.
The next few days were filled with more happy hours and dinners, with A&A and even more of their friends. Jack and Kathy joined the Baker Bunch, and described the custom of using no more than 6 words to describe an event or day. At the end of dinner at the Yacht Basin, I quipped “Tony has more than six friends” and we all got a chuckle out of that. If you aren’t laughing while reading this, guess you had to be there!
Southport is known for many, many, many movies and TV shows that have been filmed there, the most famous of which must be Safe Haven, based on the Nicholas Sparks’ novel. So we just had to do the golf cart tour that highlighted all the many sights and scenes from that movie and more. Even Andy Griffith had a presence here, as our tour guide pointed out.
Southport was also a great place to get stuff done, like a professional haircut for me, a couple of blog posts, a few work-related calls (yes, we’re beginning to book business appointments), more postcard writing, and the ever constant weather watching. We had been encouraged to attend Hank’s nightly 6 pm chat at the marina, and we were glad we did. He gives great up-to-date information on traveling the ICW or venturing into the ocean through several inlet possibilities. We were planning to go outside again, so Hank’s chat helped us make a few decisions.
We left Southport on Day 189 after a farewell dinner the evening before with the Baker Bunch at Mr. P’s. We timed the tides and floods through Snows Cut and Carolina Inlet, and were extremely glad we did so on high tide. Hank’s chat helped, as did the U.S. Corps of Engineer’s hydrographic charts.
We anchored in Banks Channel in Wrightsville Beach with anticipation of “going out” the next day. In the distance we could watch the final hours of a paddleboard competition. It’s always something when you live on the water. And just when we thought the excitement was over, we hear a dinghy approach and lo and behold, more friends of Annette and Anthony’s! They’re everywhere! Burt and Prue of Exuberant had just completed an offshore passage and anchored a stone’s throw from us. Word apparently spreads fast in the Baker circle, so Burt dinghied over to say hello.
I guess “Tony really does have more than six friends.” Oops, that’s eight words. Okay, how’s this: “Tony and Annette share friends well.” That should do it!