After basking in the Florida sun for a week, we got ourselves together and set sail for Charleston, South Carolina, where our former neighbors from Galionsvej, Debbie and Marshall, live. We’re figuring on this being about 3-3 ½ day run, less if we get a good run on the Gulfstream.
We set sail at midday, slipped out of Port Everglades inlet and turned up towards Charleston. As required, we always have our VHF turned on and we listen. About 2 hours after we came out, we heard a skipper saying, “we’ve got an overturned boat and 5 persons in the water by the Deerfield Beach Pier”. Quickly another boat skipper chimed in saying, “That’s a Mayday – Mayday Relay, Mayday Relay, Mayday Relay – overturned boat and 5 persons in the water near the Deerfield Beach Pier”. He repeated that message and almost immediately, the Coast Guard answered. I checked our position and we were actually only 4nm from the Deerfield Beach Pier. I radioed the Coast Guard and asked if they wanted us to steam there and render assistance, but they said they had plenty of boats on the way that would get there faster. Shortly thereafter, we could hear that there were a multitude of Coast Guard and local police boats on the scene and all five had been pulled from the water.
So all ended well – but it was a strange feeling listening to a real life Mayday situation and the resulting rescue on the radio.
Believe it or not, Vinni and I actually like being at sea. We think it is fun and there are many wonderful experiences to be had.
Sunsets and sunrises can be so beautiful that they boggle the mind. Here are some photo shots of a sunset and below is a video. Vinni had both a sunrise and a sunset she couldn’t believe and she managed to catch them both on the video. Enjoy this and remember when we see it, we are gliding along under sail power.
It just doesn’t get better than this.
Sometimes, the dolphins come to play. Lots of you have mailed and said, “send more dolphins”. Here’s a longish video of the dolphins playing around our boat. Note how clear the water is. It doesn’t matter how foul a mood you might be in – when dolphins show up, you are immediately cheerful. They are so playful and you simply can’t help but smile at their antics. Look closely and you can see that they turn their heads so they can look up at us as they go by. They definitely are looking and the more you talk to them, the longer they stay.
We caught the Gulfstream, and man did we catch it. We had up to 6 knots current at one point and we were flying right along, racking up 150-160 nm days without even trying. The wind died completely o the second day and we started the engine, but even with it only turning 1400 rpm, we were still making 7-8 knots over ground, 2 knots through the water and 5-6 knots of current.
What a ride!
We hit the Charleston outer marker at 3 in the morning. Vinni was asleep and no way I was going to sail in at night. First because the channel looked a bit tricky once inside the bay, but mostly because we had not been able to reserve a slip in any of the marinas, so we really didn’t know where we were going. Charleston also has a six foot tide and in a couple of the marinas we would almost be touching bottom at low tide. So I dropped the motor down to 1200 rpms and we lazed our way the 18nm in from the outer marker. We decided to try the Charleston City Marina, because this was the closest one to Marshall and Debbie, even though they had told us on the phone that they had no slips available.
We landed on the fuel dock and I went up to the office. Sorry – no slip available. I talked some more to the young woman at the desk, saying we really needed a slip and did she have any – even for just one night? She relented and said we could tie up on the end of one of the docks – how much electricity did we need? None – we have solar. She thought some more and finally said that if we didn’t mind the long walk – we could have a slip all the way out on the end of “Z” dock for as long as we wanted.
See – sometimes it pays to talk to them in person.
This was a great place for us, since it was within walking distance of Marshall and Debbies house (more about their wonderful house below). We could also get our engine serviced and have a rigger check our rigging (there were no issues with the rig, but we did want to have it checked after 1 year and almost 10,000nm of sailing.
Charleston is a nice town. The US civil war started here after seven states had declared they were seceding from the Union (late 1860). The Union Major in charge of the Federal army facilities in Charleston moved all is troops out to Fort Sumter, an island fortress guarding the Charleston Bay and inlet at Christmas 1860. Attempts were made to resupply the fort but they failed when the Confederate guns fired on the supply ship.
The newly inaugurated President, Lincoln, notified the South that he was sending supply ships (early April 1861). This resulted in an ultimatum from the Confederacy to Fort Sumter to surrender – which the Fort refused. Early in the morning of April 12, 1861, the Confederate guns began bombardment of Ft. Sumter and the civil war was a reality. After 34 hours of bombardment, the commanding officer of Ft. Sumter, Major Anderson surrendered the fort.
Many think that the US national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner, was written to commemorate the seige of Ft. Sumter, but it is much older than that. The song was written to commemorate the Seige and bombardment of Ft McHenry by the british during the war of 1812.
Lots of history here and lots of older houses on the peninsula that juts out into Charleston Bay. There is a street, Broad Street, that cuts the peninsula in half – if you are south of it, then by definition you are an SOB (south of broad). This is where the blue bloods and old money (and some new money) live. If you are anybody in Charleston, you live South of Broad. If you aren’t quite so blue-blooded or don’t have old money, you can live Slightly North of Broad – thereby becoming a SNOB (also known as a wannabe SOB).
All kidding aside, the area south of broad is filled with houses from the antebellum (before the war) south. Most of the homes are on the national register of historic places and many of them have plaques telling who built the house and who has owned it since. This was the South and of course there was a slave market and a number of the grand houses were built by slave traders with the enormous profits they made.
The houses are quite close together and those with gardens spend a lot of time and effort (read: money) on their gardens. There is a Charleston garden tour each year where the public is allowed to see the wonderful gardens kept here. Debbie and Marshalls house was on the tour last year (their garden is really wonderful).
Marshall and Debbie’s garden:
I tease Marshall because they live on Price’s Alley, saying “Did you have to buy a house on the alley because you couldn’t afford one on the street?” But this is Charleston – here the most prestigious addresses are on the alleys (hey – does that mean that the dump I lived in on an alley in Albuquerque was actually a prestigious address? Dream on Carsten – Albuquerque isn’t Charleston).
Views of their house:
We stayed for a week in Charleston and let Marshall and Debbie wine and dine and entertain us – which they did and outdid themselves, treating us in grand style. Since both Debbie and Marshall play golf we also had a golfing outing, playing at their country club which will host the US Ladies Open 2 years from now. Vinni and Debbie played great – Marshall and I sucked. Oh well – that’s golf.
We truly thank you Debbie and Marshall for a wonderful week in Charleston and for staying some wonderful days in your beautiful home.