June 21, 2014: Karma—The ugly, mucky, mother of puppies.
Salient points first…
Day 5 – Hilton Head Island, SC to Hilton Head Island, SC, 0 miles, zero hours (down day)
Day 6 – Hilton Head Island, SC to McClellanville, SC, 128.5 miles, 8 hours (and ten minutes, but who’s counting?)
Record distance day – it was a big push because this part of the ICW is rather thin on the fuel/marina front. Fortunately Amy found us a one-stop-shopping deal – Leland Oil Company. Just off the ICW in Jeremy Creek. Leland is the home to a shrimper fleet and is about as 180 degrees as you can get from Hilton Head. Both places are great – just really different. We’ve some video and pics below of where we are tonight, but before those, I want to talk about today’s post title – Karma’s a B*tch...
Case in point. This morning we were heading north out of Hilton Head, coming around a bend at mile marker 535, with Ladies Island swing bridge (a 30-foot clearance) about a mile ahead. Also ahead of us was a tug pushing a crane barge. I hailed her on VHF for a pass – though we were content to wait until the tug and her load was through the bridge.
So I hailed on channel 16 – nothing. Hailed again, again, again and again. Tried channel 13 – nothing. Tried 16 again, nothing. By now we had eyes on the tug’s captain. He was either blatantly ignoring our call or one of our radios was clearly not working. I called out a radio check and immediately got a response from some obliging captain – loud and clear (our radio had damn well better work, it was brand new, as was our main antenna).
Okay – so the bridge was coming up, we were politely stuck behind a tug and crane barge doing 4 knots. I switch to channel 9, which is the bridge channel, figuring the tug had to call the bridge at some point for an opening, as it was way too tall to pass through without. And sure enough, loud and clear, he hailed the bridge and requested an opening. He had been ignoring us. What in the hell?! Whatever. I saw the way come off the tug and took the opportunity to pass. And here’s where karma came into play. The bridge was swinging open, traffic lined up on both sides of the roadway, and we watched the tug push forward, then rapidly slew sideways. I had the radio still on channel 9 and heard him call the bridge to cancel the opening – he had run over a buoy and was hung up on it. Dead in the water.
A quick video of the culprit tug and the bridge opening ahead of us.
Beyond that it was a good day – the usual slow zones, the less-than-one-foot-under-the-keel undredged stress patches, the incessant heat and the equally incessant biting flies (what we call ‘greenheads’ though when you call them that to the locals you get blank stares and are asked if you’re talking about fish. No dammit – I’m talking about those evil bugs from hell that take out great honking chunks of skin with each bite. Greenheads! Oh – cowflies? Sure, those things). Off on a tangent again, aren’t I…
Much of the trip was in water so shallow our wake churned a ton of mud.
As I was saying, beyond that it was a good (hot and buggy) day. At the end of which we landed in McClellanville, South Carolina at Leland Oil – a working shrimpers dock masquerading as fuel dock and transient haven, though we are the only ones here – but it’s low season. We’re surrounded by working boats and apparently the entire town hangs out under the tree off the pier. I very much recommend this as a place to stop for other ICW travelers. We took the dink off and tooled around the port for a bit – here’s what we saw…
Exploring Leland Oil by dink.
And dogs! Earlier we ran past a boat absolutely filled with dogs – overloaded with them – and no humans in sight. Then when we docked for the night who motored past us but the same boat – still filled with dogs, but this time with humans as well. Bella, this bit is for you!
That’s about it – we have Ray LaMontagne radio on Pandora playing through the boat, Amy’s drawing a thin green line through North Carolina and muttering to herself. I think I had better ask what’s in store.
Oh – but before I go, I wanted to share a clip of the interaction between captains for a passing. I know something similar to this was extremely helpful to us, so we want to pass it forward.
Properly overtaking another vessel.
Next stop, North Carolina!
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