June 20, 2014: ...When they're your parRENTS.
First off, the stats for our journey (and to tell the truth, these stats are for yesterday, as today we did not move ONE INCH today!)
Travel Day 4 – St Simons Island, Georgia, to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, 116.5 miles, 7.5 hours
So we are sitting here, at slip A7 at the Windmill Harbor Marina, drinking margaritas on the helm deck. Amy’s sorta planning the next two days, although she just said, “They don’t accept transient lips for more that ten days.” Perhaps I made the margaritas too strong.
Regardless, it’s been another interesting and fun few days. We got into Windmill Harbor yesterday around 4:00pm, after a long and somewhat stressful day of travel. Another cruiser tip – if you plan on going through the Mud River, just north of St Simons Island (mile marker 660 till about 653), be warned that it’s VERY shallow. Stressfully shallow. There’s about a 6-foot tidal swing here and if you do it at low tide there is basically no water. Trust me – that’s what we did.
The loss of government funding for the ICW means that there’s no dredging in many parts, so shoaling is becoming more and more of an issue, which is shown no better than the MUD RIVER (which lives up to its name – it’s all stirred up and you can’t see bottom, even when it’s scraping by just under your keel). We had many, uh, intense moments throughout this stretch when we were pretty positive we were going to simply grind to a halt, the sounder reading the same number of inches under our bottom as the number of fingers on your two hands. I had to run zig zag patterns simply to find the deepest part of the river, which is tough because the Mud River is so windy (read "whine-dy" wait – is that a word? Words suck sometimes), curvy, and all ’round voluptuous. We also used the numerous ranges whenever we could – except that half the time the range markers were destroyed, or in the process of becoming destroyed. Still, we never touched bottom, never grounded, and in our book that means success.
Windmill Harbor Marina, our destination. How cool in so many ways. It is protected from the tidal influences of Calibogue Sound by the ‘quaintest’ lock I’ve ever seen (we just got back from running a 43′ canal boat through southern France where we locked through 33 times, so we ate this lock for breakfast). But it works. So smart – no tides at Windmill Harbor Marina.
However, this place holds more interest to me than just a haven for two days. For starters, my parents – the infamous Jean and Zeke, for those who’ve come into their sphere of influence – live here in Hilton Head on a ‘Land Yacht’ (my term as far as I’m concerned, and if you use it then I get royalties).
[AUTHOR’S NOTE: The story of my parents could fill an entire blog, book, bookshelf, and more. Let’s just say they’re way more interesting than I am.]
Beyond my folks (who can get beyond me folks?), Windmill Harbor Marina is where Amy and I looked at a Sabre 38 Hardtop Express in December. It was a pretty boat, but obviously we ended up with a different girl. I had driven to northern Florida in December to do some rebreather diving training (if interested I did write a little about it), and when I was done Amy flew down to Key Largo where I was staying with friends. We drove north together (prophetic, right?), stopping at Hilton Head Island to visit my ‘rents on the way and we all went to see the Sabre at Windmill Harbor Marina. Anyway – my sense of full circle was satisfied when we motored through the opening lock gate into the very same marina on Sequel.
Which brings me to today – kind of. Last night we had pizza on the boat with my folks (pizza was a request of ours) and we were happy to have them as our first boat guests – they were our first guests when we took delivery of our last boat, the Double G.
Today was a ‘down day.’ We got up late (7:45am), had a leisurely coffee with no checking of fluids (leave it!), no unhooking or stowing, no uprooting in general. Nope – today was all about… Target. West Marine. Laundry. Shaving (I can only vouch for me). And of course seeing my folks again. We also got to meet their neighbors at their motorcoach resort, John and Elaine of Atlanta – wanted to give them a shout out.
Lastly, we had coordinated logistically with Jay our installer to have a replacement chartplotter, already preconfigured for us, shipped to Windmill. It arrived today and I swapped out the original unit with this one. Fingers crossed our crashing issue is behind us.
That’s about it. Oh – we watched "Non-Stop," an action film with Liam Neeson last night too. It was okay.
Amy’s now checking the weather for tomorrow and just finished filling up our water tanks. And I have to head into the engine room, AKA ‘Holy Place’ and clean the AC strainer basket. Which reminds me – next down day (in about five days), I’m planning on doing a set of blogs titled ‘Meet the Helm’ and ‘Meet the Holy Space’, is that of any interest?