Sunday, December 18, 2011

Awendaw Creek to Charleston

We have been anchoring for over 30 years.  We've stayed in good anchorages, challenging anchorages and some poor anchorages.  The Awendaw Creek anchorage was a magic anchorage. 

We rounded the mark and followed the curve to get to a wide space in the channel.  The area is part of a wildlife area.  You can see homes in the distance.  You can see towers and planes flying into Charleston.  You are away from civilization, but part of it too.  We put one anchor down.  Launched our milk jug float and settled in for the night.  We made dinner and went into the cockpit to watch the sunset.

The sun went down and the stars took control of the sky. The milky way came into view.  We saw a satellite pass over head.  Venus and Jupiter put in an appearance.  We laid down in the cockpit and just marveled at the sky.  Words cannot describe the awe felt at that moment.  It was like a treasure.  It had always been here, but hidden.  We heard some noises like horses snorting.  I thought at first there were wild ponies swimming around us.  Matt laughed, he said, those are dolphins.  We knew we should get some sleep, but didn't want to miss a minute.   The full moon rose.  Sure, some of the stars were lost by the brightness of the moon, but it was a new act of the nightly play.  We finally got some sleep at about 1am until the sun rose for the closing act of the play at 6:30am. 

We hated to leave and pullup anchor, but we wanted to get on to Charleston.  We waved good bye to a wonderful, special place.  We have been through some major trials and tests these past three years.  At the time when you are questioning has all the pain been worth it, the universe answers with a perfect moment.  It feels as if God, the holy spirit, or whomever says Yes, you did learn, You did grow, and Yes, it was worth it. 

We passed through Anderson ville, the site of the notorious civil war prison.  It seemed such a cruel thing to put a horrible place in a beautiful setting.  The birds were flying and feeding.  Fisherman were getting the days catch and kayaks were exploring.  We had to watch for a few shallow places, but managed to find enough deep water. 

The Ben Sawyer bridge was the last challenge before we reached Charleston.  We timed the opening with the boat speed and had no wait time.  The area around Isle of Palms was built up and busy with motor boats speeding around.  They gave us a funny look when we were only doing 3.8knts.  We calculated what speed we need so we arrived at the bridge without the need to do donuts or other stalling techniques.  We hailed the bridge tender.  She let us know that indeed we would be able to get the 1pm bridge opening, and if we sped up she would open the bridge on demand.  The Ben Sawyer has restricted hours in the morning and afternoon, but will open on demand at other times.  So much for the guidebooks! 

We entered Charleston harbor.  It was wide and well marked.  We found the marina, the Charleston Maritime Museum Marina, and followed their direction to our slip.  We turned into the slot in their bulkhead and were shot through the opening.  The current, almost slack tide, grabbed the boat and accelerated her into the marina.  Got control and pulled into the dock.  I'll give it an A.  No carnage and we looked like we knew what we were doing.  We got tied up and were greeted by Ginger and Barbara.  They said they are the official greeters of the marina.  What a lovely way to start. 

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