Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Savannah to Charleston

We finally left Savannah Wednesday afternoon, September 10th, after a nice brunch on the boat with Howard & Sue Berriman. We anchored in Bull Creek, about twenty miles north, and decided to stay Thursday as well since the forecast was calling for rain. Late Thursday afternoon, during a break in the rain, we dinghied over to "Gulliver," another boat in the anchorage with us, for cocktails and conversation with John & Joan who Todd had met earlier in the day when he was out and about in the dinghy.

A very pretty sunset in Bull Creek.

We returned to "Life's2Short" a few hours later and started the generator to charge the batteries and fix dinner. Within a few minutes the boat started filling with smoke, the smoke alarm was going off and the intercom system started buzzing incessantly! We immediately shut everything down, but smoke continued to pour into the cabin and staterooms. And, as luck would have it, it was raining again so we couldn't even open the windows without getting everything wet.

When the smoke finally cleared out somewhat Todd discovered a mess of melted wires in the engine room. Fortunately, the engines were still functioning so we left everything as it was and called it a night. Friday morning we went back to Hinckley Yacht Services in Savannah and that afternoon their electricians, Tim and Michel, came aboard and starting assessing the damage.

Within a few hours, they had identified and isolated the majority of the damaged wires and we were able to plug in to shore power. They also determined that the source of the meltdown was a severed wire on the motor for the dinghy davit. The severed wire shorted out when it touched the davit arm and melted everything in its path from the davit to the battery. The affected systems included the dinghy davit, the engine synchronizer, the bow thruster, the auto pilot compass, the holding tank alert system, the intercom system and the 12-volt wiring to our chest freezer.

The electrical meltdown - what a mess!

Fortunately, nothing other than the wiring was ruined by the meltdown and once the wiring was replaced, all systems functioned properly. By Tuesday afternoon, the electricians were finished and we were good to go. Todd and I were extremely impressed with Tim and Michel. Shortly after they came on board Friday afternoon and began tracing and cutting wires, it was apparent to us that their knowledge and expertise was top-notch. They were thorough, yet efficient, and were well-versed and up-to-date on ABYC codes and standards. We were very pleased and would readily recommend their services to anyone in need of a marine electrician.

We pulled away from Hinckley Yacht Services late Wednesday morning, September 17th, and went back to the anchorage in Bull Creek where we stayed until Friday morning. We then travelled the remaining thirty miles or so to Beaufort, SC. It was quite windy, which made the water a bit rough in both Calibogue and Port Royal Sounds, but all-in-all it wasn't a bad trip.

We had planned on anchoring near the Downtown Marina in Beaufort but there were several boats in the anchorage on private mooring balls and there wasn't much room left for other boats, especially considering the amount of scope we needed to put out to accommodate the nearly nine-foot tides and extremely strong current.

A gorgeous sunrise in Bull Creek.

We also checked out an anchorage east of the Woods Memorial Bridge in Factory Creek near Lady's Island Marina but weren't comfortable with it either, so we gave in and decided to stay at the Downtown Marina for a couple of nights. The marina is conveniently situated in the heart of downtown Beaufort and most everything is just a few blocks away. And they have a courtesy car for a quick run to the grocery store, if needed. The price is $1.75 per foot, per night plus $7 for 50 amp electric/$5 for 30 amp, but the proximity to downtown Beaufort is hard to beat! We also inquired about the cost of diesel and learned that it is currently $4.40 per gallon plus 7% tax.

While Todd was helping Michael, the dock hand, catch lines for transient boaters late Friday afternoon, a boat named "September Song" pulled up to the dock. Todd was familiar with the boat name from one of the boater list servs he follows, and when he introduced himself and identified "Life's2Short," Stephanie immediately knew who he was and told him that she follows our blog!

We ended up going to dinner with Stephanie & Bob at Panini's Friday evening and during the course of conversation learned that we have several boating friends and acquaintances in common including Warren & Robin ("Pepi"), Mo ("MOTU"), Steve & Diane ("Aurora") and Bob & Ali ("Bali Motu"), all of whom we met on the Midwest river systems. I know we've said this before, but what a small world it is on the water!  Bob & Stephanie are on their way home to Midway, GA and we hope to see them again when we go back south in a few months.

Todd got up early Saturday morning to see Bob & Stephanie off and to help them with their dock lines. It was an unseasonably cool, overcast morning with a chilly breeze and we actually had to put on long sleeves and sweatshirts when we walked in to town for breakfast at Blackstone's. By noon the sun was trying to come out and it warmed up into the lower 70's but it was still quite a change from the more typical mid-90's!That afternoon we browsed through some more of the stores on Bay Street and then made our way back to Panini's where we had a very nice meal sampling and sharing several menu items.

Bob & Stephanie aboard "September Song."

"September Song" heading home to Midway, GA. What a beautiful boat!

The Beaufort Downtown Marina with "Life's2Short" at the far left.

Beaufort has done a very nice job with its Waterfront Park.

Sunday was laundry and errand day, so I did the laundry while Todd took the courtesy car across the Woods Memorial Bridge to get a few groceries and other items. We pulled away from the dock about 1:30 p.m. and went fifteen miles to Rock Creek, our anchorage for the evening.  Although it was not as chilly as Saturday, it was still overcast, windy and cool.  Monday afternoon we motored a couple of hours to B&B Seafood to take on 250 gallons of fuel. B&B supposedly has the cheapest fuel in South Carolina but it was still $4.00 per gallon (cash price; $4.10 credit, including tax). From there we travelled another three hours to a nice protected anchorage in Tom Point Creek.

Winding our way up Tom Point Creek.

When we left Tom Point Creek to cover the remaining thirty miles to Charleston, we discovered just how windy it was in the Intracoastal Waterway! We battled a strong northeast wind the entire way and it was pretty gnarly in Charleston Harbor. And unfortunately, the place they put us at the Charleston Maritime Center ($1.20 per foot, per night) is exposed to the northeast, so even though we are tied to a dock we are bouncing around quite a bit. We put out just about every fender we have and even aired up our big round lock balls in an effort to keep the boat off the dock, but between the wind and the tide we are essentially pinned in here!

Our view of Charleston Harbor from the Charleston Maritime Center.

At any rate, we plan to spend the next few days exploring downtown Charleston and will leave here when the wind lets up, which may be as early as Friday. The temperatures are remaining in the 70's during the day and low 60's at night so it is a little cool for our liking, especially with it being overcast as it has been the past several days. The wind is the worst, though, at 25 to 40 mph with even higher gusts. I hate to say it, but I think fall has arrived on the east coast!

Friday, September 05, 2008

The Florida Road Trip

We joined the Berriman's and some of their friends for dinner at Sho Gun Friday evening, August 22nd, to celebrate Howard & Sue's daughter-in-law's (Heidi's) 30th birthday. Heidi's husband, Mike, is currently serving his third tour of duty in Iraq and will return to the States in early 2009.

After dinner, Howard & Sue arranged a surprise get-together at their house that included several additional friends and neighbors. What a beautiful birthday cake!

Our gracious host, Howard Berriman.

Birthday girl Heidi (left) with sister Heather and Howard.

Heidi admires her cake.

Saturday morning we rode with Howard & Sue to Port Canaveral, dropped them off at their cruise ship and headed to St. Petersburg to see our friends Cathy, Steve & Lisa. We spent the evening playing Catch Phrase, being silly and just enjoying each other's company.

Cathy's backyard looks empty without "Life's2Short" tied up at her dock.

The following Sunday, August 31st, was Todd's sister's fifth annual "Labor-less" Labor Day party, which doubled as Mark & Jennifer's wedding reception. Mark & Jennifer got married in Key West in July while they were on a cruise and decided to combine their reception with the "Labor-less" party. As you will see from the many photos below, the theme was Hawaiian and there were lots of activities, food and fun for young and old alike!

We returned to Savannah Monday afternoon and spent the rest of the week tackling various boat projects. On Thursday we took a break from the boat and went to lunch with Howard & Sue.

Tropical storm Hanna is currently making its way toward the Carolinas so we have decided to stay tied to the dock until it has passed. If hurricane Ike stays on its current southerly track, we will leave Savannah early next week and begin heading north. Until then, we are waiting to see how Hanna affects the east coast.