A Different Sort of Thanksgiving
Nov 27, 2008
|Current Location: Charleston, SC
Weather: High in the 60's, lows are 30's-40's, but bright, clear, crisp, and sunny
Favorite boat name seen recently: (Claire, this is for you): Clairebuoyant
Today is Thanksgiving and we will be leaving later this morning, as soon as we finish some chores (like making this entry, filling the water tanks, finishing some repair work etc). We arrived a week ago - a bit delayed, but more about that later, under notable events.
We are staying in the Charleston Maritime Center Marina. It is a small place, and wonderfully located, on the edge of historic Charleston. There is also a great grocery store, cheap vegetable market, library and hardware store nearby. Who could ask for more?
Upon arrival we immediately went to stay with our friends, Susan Kraybill (from my rowing days in Pgh)and Dick Pruet. I am so sorry we have no picures. I was engrossed in being in a warm house again - and never took out my camera! We so appreciated their warm hospitality and generosity. In particular, we are grateful for:
****A WARM place to sleep for 3 nights
**Their lovely home(Mary, you would LOVE their unusual and tasteful decor)
**Tours of their neighborhood on Daniel Island and the beaches at Isle of Palms and Sullivan's Island.
**An introduction to two terrific restaurants. I will venture to say that I had the BEST dinner in my entire life at a place called "Coast". For those who like detail, I had Grouper grilled on an oak fire, served over chipotle and mozzarela grits, accompanied by roasted asparagus, mushrooms and onions, all covered by a pomegranite-infused barbeque sauce!! Wow - I didn't want it to end.
Another highlight of this Charleston visit has been the chance to connect to Spencer (Warwick's nephew) who is Captain of the boat that takes tourists out to Ft Sumpter. He passes by our marina 3 times a day! On Saturday he graciously shlepped us around from one store to another. running errands (among other things we bought a small electric heater, which will only work when pluggled into shore power at a marina). He also introduced us to some great SC barbecue.
And, to top that off, we got to see Spencer's parents, Becky and Sandy, who arrived yesterday for Thanksgiving with their son. They joined us on the boat for dinner last night and put up with my continued boat cooking learning (chile made in the pressure cooker). It was great fun to share this experience with them.
While mentioning all the things we are thankful for in Charleston (in the spirit of the season), I should add that we spent time with Steve and Kate from Shantih, the couple that we met back in Oriental, NC (you may recall that we considered going offshore with them in Beaufort NC to take advantage of their support and experience). They are from Oklahoma and have been living on their boat and traveling for three years; now settled in a Charleston marina for the next 10 months. Kate is a nurse, and will work here for awhile to build up the "cruising kitty". Steve is a retired economics professor and works on the boat (he will also look for part time work). Steve took us - in the old car that they purchased -to pick up the stove when it arrived on Tuesday! They have been a wonderful source of knowledge - and support for us.
Some of you have asked how we spend our days. It is different when we are in a marina, or anchored out for a day or so, but somehow it is always busy and I STILL haven't had much rest time (except maybe when we were at Dick and Sue's). Yesterday, for example, went like this:
We were out of bed by 7:30am and had breakfast. Since the stove had arrived the afternoon before and was proving to be a BIG job for Warwick to install - and Spencer and his folks were coming for dinner- I needed to come up with Plan B for how to get this dinner prepared. Since this marina has a kitchen (not all do) I asked if I could use it for awhile - at least to get things started. I filled a bucket with cooking supplies for the banana bread and started up to the kitchen. Half way there I realized that I forgot the baking soda and salt. Back I went (leaving the bucket) When I got to the kitchen I remembered my measuring cups and so I hiked back to the boat for them. As I was ready to put the batter in the pan, I could see I had too much, so I went back yet again for a muffin pan! Then of course, I had to come back a few times to check for doneness. You may be thinking "this doesn't sound so bad" but our boat was the furthest one on the dock and takes a good while to get to. I was certainly getting my exercise.
And that was just the beginning. I carted the old stove up to the dumpster to trash it (using a cart), and did the laundry. In between we needed to move the boat to another slip in order for them to accomodate some other boat coming in (at this marina they do quite a bit of juggling to fit in boats of different keel sizes, who are staying different lengths of time, etc.). I walked to the supermarket and veggie place to get food for dinner. I made lunch for us in the midst of total chaos in the boat, as Warwick had every tool out and every surface (there aren't many) covered.
At 2:15PM when the stove was still not ready for action, I began to panic (guests arriving at between 5 and 6pm) and raced up to the kitchen again with my pressure cooker, meat and onions! With that underway, I knew we could do it. Warwick had the stove ready by 3:15pm and the rest of the dinner was made on the new stove!!!
The remainder of the afternoon was devoted to cleaning up the boat and getting ready for our guests. Then dinner (it was great to see them), and dishes (that means heating water, then doing the dishes by hand). When Spencer and his folks left, we spent a little while checking email -one of the pleasures of marina life (when it works, because even that is quite variable), then fell into bed exhausted at 10pm.
Some notable events of the recent week plus:
1. Heat on the boat! But that ends now, when we leave today. The weather will be cool, but at least not freezing, we hope.
2. As we approached Charleston, we had two notable adventures. Two days before arriving, we were looking for a place to anchor; it was mid afternoon. The anchorage we had planned on was completely exposed and the wind was up and it was COLD. We didn't have time (daylight) to get to the next recommended spot, so we looked for an alternative. We were passing a state park with a dock into the water, and we tried to get near it but it was shallow and the current was strong. Not safe, so we backed away. We saw some very nice homes with docks (with fenders on them)out into the waterway, and the depths were good - even when we got very close to them. We thought perhaps they wouldn't mind if we tied up one night so we manuevered up to the dock, tied up and I ran up to investigate. The house was completely shuttered up(for the season it appeared). Then I tried the neighbors - but they weren't home. We had tea and waited. As we did, the tide began to go down and we could see that perhaps this wasn't going to work! Finally, with hardly any water under us, at 4:45 pm we sorrowfully had to untie and leave. Where to go? With only a half hour of sunlight and nothing showing on the charts ahead as good as possible anchoring, we were stuck. So, we moved to the side of one of the markers, as far off the center of the channel as we could safely go with out going aground and dropped anchor. Because the boat lies to the current (not the wind) here, we were parallel to the shore and spent a good night. It wasn't the most scenic, but it worked.
Adventure #2- The very next morning (by the way, this one is the coldest of all)! We got ready to leave about 10am, having waited a bit for the sun to warm things up, and knowing we only had 35 miles to go. Warwick is pulling up the anchor, I start the motor. A minute after it started, it dies! We try again, and pull away, but it dies again. Warwick throws out the anchor, so we don't drift to the side or into any oncoming boats. When the motor starts again, we move out, but 15 mins later, it dies yet again. This time, Warwick hoisted the genoa (front sail),though we had very little wind. But between that wind and some current running our way, we slowly crawled along. While I was "sailing" down the ICW, Warwick began to figure out what was wrong with the motor. Four hours later, he was still working on it, deep down in the lazerette. I was painstaking trying to gently turn the boat to catch the wind, but finally there was not wind at all. With no wind and no engine, and now, no current (in fact, it was turning to take us the other way), we began to drift. I shouted for help and Warwick emerged to throw down the anchor once again! An hour later the engine problem was fixed!!! This time it was the pre-filter that had clogged and needed to be replaced. At the end of the day, we had only gone 19 miles. I have to keep reminding myself: "it's not the destination, it's the journey." And our anchorage that night, 14 miles north of Charleston at Dewees creek was great.
Happy Thanksgiving to all - we'll make a cornish hen and have leftover pumpkin pie (Thanks, Becky and Sandy!) for dinner.