We left Pawley’s Island at 10pm Wednesday night. I wanted to leave at 6, but the tide was racing the wrong way and it didn’t make sense to waste gas and make little progress. I should know to always go with the tide by now and be patient.
Our night sail through Winyah Bay flew by. It was incredibly calm and there was no other traffic on the water. A clear night and a full moon meant I had no trouble seeing the markers. We sailed under the bridge and into the shipping channel and then out behind the island in less than 3 hours. We dropped anchor right outside the cut to turn on the Intercoastal (out of the way of any barge traffic). In the two minutes between dropping anchor and getting screens on the windows, however, we were eaten alive by bugs. Even after the screens were up we were slapping mosquitoes late into the night. I pulled a light cover over Skye and I to try and help, but the next morning we were both eaten alive and needed cream.
We got up Thursday morning early and motored on, now in the marsh water with blue herons and fishing boats to keep us company. We planned to get to McClellanville around noon and plug in, recharge our batteries, buy more ice, and run the AC through the hot part of the day. Turning in, inside the marked channel, I managed to hit a sandbar. We were stuck and it was 1pm. We called the marina and said we wouldn’t be coming in after all. A few minutes later, the marina manager showed up on a dock nearby and told us he’d drive us to AC if we’d come over to the dock. We threw out an anchor and loaded into the kayak. Geoff, myself, Skye, drinks, computer bags, and a second trip for the dog. Then with Geoff in the back of the pickup truck we drive the mile up the river to the marina and set up camp in the office. Skye zonked out for a nap and Geoff and I were able to get a bit of work done.
Geoff got the boat off the sandbar at 5:30 and we decided to stop for the night. There was fresh shrimp right of the boat and homemade shrimp dip for Skye. We feasted, and shared with the marina manager who had helped us, and feasted some more on the fresh shrimp. Two pounds of shrimp, to be precise. Then we crawled into bed, exhausted after our adventure.
“I’m staying at the marina,” I call out to the guard several times a day as I drive into the neighborhood where we’re currently staying. He nods and inspects my sticker and waves me on. I don’t like it one bit.
The houses are beautiful, you have to watch out for golf-cart crossings, there is a country club, tennis courts, and of course, everything is handicap accessible. The spanish moss drips off every tree and the sunsets are spectacular.
This place is also full of rules and clearly governed by grumpy old people. The dockmaster, in an attempt to keep passing boats from waking the marina, spends most of his time running up and down the front dock (where we are tied up) blowing his air horn. To dock for three days, we had to sign a seven-page contract (which the lawyer in me noted that he never actually offered to let me read or give me a copy). Hello, paperwork.
“So we’re leaving Wednesday, right?” Geoff asks our first evening here. I roll my eyes. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful marina and it’s trying its best to cross its i’s, dot its t’s, and be safe and welcoming and legal. But there are no playgrounds. Nowhere I can put Skye down and let her run. The grandparents who see her are all indulgent, “how cute, you have a helper!” But it is not a good fit for a young family on a small boat. I feel welcome, but I don’t have patience for wake or airhorns.
All part of improving our boat, we’ve been testing, re-bedding, and varnishing the outside wood. The wood inside is mostly in great condition now, but outside the sun has eaten away the varnish. Lots of people like the look of unvarnished teak, but it’s also a protection for the wood. But varnishing that wood is a multi-day process involving testing to see if it’s leaking through and needs to be pulled off and re-bedded with new screws and sealant, sanding, several coats of varnish, and then finally re-bedding. Or taping and sanding, which isn’t any easier because you’re removing other hardware off the wood and re-attaching it afterwards. But the end result is that the boat looks a little better.
Geoff still has a bit of glasswork to do in the cockpit before I can put our new, blue stripes on, but I think adding stripes and mast will massively freshen up the look of the boat. A bimini would help, too.
The inside is in good condition and the challenge now is to keep up with the ravaging of a toddler. Turmeric dumped all over the rug? Nice yellow stain. Yogurt wiped down the cushions, no problem. Since the cushions are light blue, they are particularly susceptible to showing everything from dog fur to dirt and keeping them clean is a challenge. Especially when Skye’s Grammy shows up with “washable” markers 🙁 But these are all the normal challenges of life with a toddler, nothing unique to being on a boat. She will sit in her chair, play on her Kindle, and be a perfectly calm baby most of the time. She just waits till we’re working to get 4200 all over her hands and try to climb back in the boat and spread it everywhere.
We’re leaving Bucksport Sunday heading south again. I’ve really liked Bucksport, it’s calm, laid-back, cheap, and everyone has been amazingly friendly. We anticipated bug issues, but other than a few ants getting on the boat and a spider the size of my hand on the dock, we’ve really had no bugs. And while it’s a crazy drive from here to anywhere, it’s a nice change from being in the middle of a cement jungle.