Hilton Head Redux

November 21, 2022

It was about a year ago that I left Hilton Head to return home for Christmas, and here I am, back again. This year’s trip is vastly different however, in that Jinhee is with me and we are continuing south. Let me start from where I left off last.

On November 12th, with the threat of Hurricane Nicole diminished, we lifted anchor and moved south to Moorehead city (near Beaufort) and dropped anchor. I had promised Jinhee a lot of dolphins at the Beaufort inlet, but there was a grand total of one. And that one was busy looking for food, so paid no attention to us. This is becoming a theme.

Because the aftermath from Nicole was encouraging high seas, we continued inside, day after day. We stopped at Wrightsville Beach where we anchored and Little River where we got a slip to take on water. Having seen ‘Vanish’ in Wrightsville Beach, I was intrigued, and we were lucky enough to be tied up beside her again in Little River.

Vanish is made by ‘Silent Yachts’, and is a really large (60′ in this case) electrically driven catamaran. It is covered in solar panels, has a ‘convertible’ flybridge and looks enormous on the water. We didn’t get a chance to talk to the operator in any significant way, but heard some chatter over the radio and the boat appeared to be new to the captain. It was an impressive vehicle if you have a spare US$2.8MM lying around.

Next up we decided to slow down a little. Having been up and down this coast a few times without Jinhee, it was a personal goal to see some of the places for the first time, and so we anchored just north of Georgetown (Block Island) on the 15th. This was one of the best anchorages we have visited along the ICW. It was quiet, remote and when we dropped anchor, we were alone. It took just 30 minutes to fill up with about eight other boats, but there was so much space and deep water, that it still felt remote. We slept like babies in the middle of nowhere.

The trip from Little River to Block Island was also intriguing because you are running in a wide and deep body of water that is truly beautiful to look at from any angle. If you read the book “Where the Crawdad’s Sing” or watch the movie, you get a sense of the terrain here. Of course we were running in open and deeper areas but the trees, marsh and life around us was reminiscent of these stories of life on/in the marsh.

We moved the five miles to Georgetown next where we walked through the town and enjoyed some local sights. Now, Georgetown has a lot of history as a shipping port, wood processing, metal working and a number of other things, but we were fascinated by the slave history of the area. Last year, while in Hilton Head, I found out about the Gullah people. Strangely I had never heard of them before. In any case, the Gullah history was strong in Georgetown as well, and we visited the very small, but intent Gullah museum. Fascinating stories of the slave trade, and the culture that ensued from that melting pot of African peoples.

The HarborWalk at Georgetown would probably be rip roaring fun during the summer, but the cold air of November left things a little sparse and subdued. Still we met some other cruisers and enjoyed seeing a new town.

Moving on, we made the run to Charleston, another city that I have never visited. We planned for three days in Charleston and stayed on the ‘Megadock’, which is really big! Charleston is a place that we may revisit. It has a really significant foodie culture with a lot of interesting restaurants, an unusually large number of art galleries and a ridiculous number of high end retail stores. We overheard a local tour guide say that their heritage real-estate zone was the second largest in the world after Rome. That’s pretty cool, unless you realize that Rome is 3-4,000 years old and Charleston is 400 years old. Those houses are just not going to make the next 1,000 years despite how pretty they are. We would go back in a second.

The bad news is that Jinhee twisted her ankle on the stone walkways of Charleston and will likely be limping for the next few weeks. It made our final day in the city a short one, but we still got a sense for what a great place it is to visit.

With Jinhee being less able to walk about, I took the time to clean some bits of the engine room and do some maintenance on my generator which needed a new impeller and some water inlets that needed cleaning. The generator and A/C pump are much happier now.

After three days, we re-started the engines and got moving south. While our target was Hilton Head Island, we anchored before we made it after a long day on the outside and got some sleep.

Last year I was lucky to meet Regan and Lynne (at Atlantic Yacht Basin, no less), who keep their boat in Hilton Head, and we had to stop in to say hello. They took time out from their Thanksgiving week activities with family and friends to enjoy lunch with us. It was great to catch up and I got an update on the best way to protect the wood on my boat (AWL Wood) which looks awesome on their boat, Hesperus.

A very interesting conversation came up when we talked about derelict vessels. At the docks here in Skull Creek an excited new boat owner brought his boat to the docks here, intent on taking an old boat and fixing it up and living aboard. That boat apparently sank within days of arriving. It was refloated a while ago, so I went to take a look this afternoon. It sank again last night.

If you ever wonder how boats sink, an owner with a grand dream, empty pockets and insufficient attention to care and maintenance will do the trick everytime. Add to that, a hurricane, a poorly timed passage when the tides are ebbing and any other multitude of problems and you have a recipe for disaster.

The ICW has a lot of boats on the bottom, on the shore and the causes are numerous, but the boat on the bottom here will likely take months to clean up and the owner is not likely to pay for it. His boat is now worthless.

The weather remains unusually cold here and tomorrow we will untie and head south through the Georgian ICW where tides can reach nine feet and the twists and turns will likely keep me busy for a long time. Soon however we will feel warm sunshine. Unfortunately, now is not the time for that.

We also saw our first gator of the trip today at Skull Creek. Originally it was on the shore but it was back in the water for its photo op.

The alligator in the centre of that shot is huge. We saw it on land at lunch time, basking in the sun.

Stay warm if you are suffering through the aftermath of the blizzard in Canada.

2 thoughts on “Hilton Head Redux

  1. Enjoyed reading the account of your trip through our State. Glad you enjoyed Georgetown and Charleston. Lets do a rendezvous there when you next come North. Enjoy your trip. We will follow the bolg along.

  2. Safe boating Don and Jinhee! Keep writing and shared! Love it❣️Joe is now recovering nicely albeit slowly and steady. We are grateful to be home for awhile!

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