April 17th Wednesday
Day 2 in Fernandina Beach. Gary dropped me off in town/marina so I could get groceries. Walked 2 miles to Winn Dixie. After buying the items I needed and a few others, I realized I had a lot to carry. Asked the checkout clerk if there was a short cut to the beach by the cement plant (we were anchored if front of this), answer “NO”. Brittany said she was getting off and offered to drive me back to the marina. She does not “live on the Island” so she was headed my way to get home. It was very nice of her. Gary greeted me at the dock to load up the dinghy and head back to the boat. Once on the boat, stowed the supplies and started sewing a few items we needed. Made a cover for the dish rack so when we are in a rough seaway the dishes won’t come tumbling down.
Pulled anchor 7:30 a.m. stopped at the marina for fuel and water. By 8:10 we are on our way out the channel and on to Savannah. Part way out Sailing Vessel Windward hailed us on the VHF asking our destination, “Savannah” we say and they are headed to Charleston, SC along with 3 other boats. Gary and I discussed changing coarse and decided to join this little convoy. We eventually found out the names of the other vessel, Mambo, Gemini & Patty D. We were able to chat with everyone via the single side band radio. Windward hailed us to turn on SSB 4030Mhz at noon. This became a part of the routine for the next 24 hours to chat/check in every 4 to 6 hours. It was nice to know someone else was out there and could chat if falling a sleep on the watch.
We arrive 9:00 a.m. Friday, ahead of everyone, we were able to sail most of the way, the other boats had to motor sail and we made the best time. (The new sail is paying for it’s self) As we entered the Charleston channel and round the 2nd marker, we see 50 plus sailboats heading right at us. Its race weekend and we are right in the middle of the starting line. Man-o-man, dodging boats left and right. As we continue down the channel we come upon the little fleet of sailing vessels with their spinnakers flying with all kinds of color with even more boats down the way. There must have been a 150 boats in all. What a great way to enter into a new port.
Found a nice little anchorage by 11:15. We tried to go into town, but the bay was very choppy and I got soaked halfway to the marine. We turned around and I cleaned up the boat instead. Winds start to howl later in the day, gusts up to 25 knots, with a storm watch till 10 p.m. So much for trying to get into town this day.
Saturday April 20
Gary and I hit the hay last night by 8 and slept long and hard. The overnights take there toll on us, so when we can sleep in we do with gusto. We awoke the next morning to a chilly cabin, about 58 degrees, so we used our terracotta pot to heat the salon.
We headed into town again, this time we wore our foul weather gear to avoid getting wet. We stopped at the gas station for direction and they had a pet mooring post for Rio, this is the first time we have visited Charleston and it is full of history. Named after Charles ll of England “Charles Town” and renamed in 1783 to Charleston. 1861 secession from the Union – 1865 Sherman march through town & made it impossible to defend. Movie “Gone With The Wind” the plantation was modeled after Boone Hall Plantation. Fort Sumtner, Historic downtown with its different boroughs and the beautiful old homes. Gary and I walked for 3 hours and enjoyed the sights. We wanted to see the old French Quarters and their open air market, later we walked to the famers market where I picked up fresh vegitables. Back to the boat to soak our sore feet and clean the veggies for freezing.
Sunday I ventured out to take the bus to Wal-mart to pick up a few items, i.e. dog food, fishing lures and tennis shoes for both of us. I missed the first bus and had to wait an hour and a half for the next one. After shopping I packed up the items into the 3 backpacks I brought with for transporting. Walked across the street to catch the next bus, got there early this time and Guess what – same bus driver. 6 hours later, Gary picked me up at the Holiday Inn which was closer to the boat and a lot less walking for me with 3 backpacks full and 16 lbs of dog food in my arms. So by now you are thinking we are crazy, no just very adventuresome and having a blast doing it.
Monday is baking day, split pea soup was on the agenda first, had for lunch and the rest was frozen for the crossing, then zucchini, cranberry & nut bread. These too were frozen for later consumption. Gary did get to taste each one. After cleaning up and Gary’s nap we went back to town to use the library’s WIFI to download 2 video’s Gary made. Rio was not welcome in the library so he and I sat outside and watched all the college students go by, several girls asked to pet the cute puppy, Rio knows how to charm the girls Video’s uploaded and back to the boat for a steak dinner and corn on the cob. Over dinner we came to the conclusion, we will stay here for a week and provision up for the crossing. We did some checking on stores where we are heading and this is the best place to get food with reasonable transportation “the bus”.