Sunday, May 13, 2007

May 10

May 10. As I told you earlier the Ladies Island Swing Bridge is on a restricted opening schedule. We’re leaving today so we got up before 0800 to get ready for the 1015 bridge opening. Miss it and we’re screwed.

Christy fills the water tank while I take the dogs on their morning walk. On my way past the dockmasters office there’s another boater asking about the bridge’s schedule. The dockmaster is holding a piece of paper from the office of Homeland Security that says as of today there will be no 1015 opening, its going to be an 0915 opening instead.

On the VHF the bridge tender has been telling everyone that the opening will be 1015 and he says he hasn’t received any new opening schedule from Homeland Security when the dockmaster is asked to call him. So its 1015, period.

So I continue on my walk with the dogs and just for the heck of it I stop and ask about the schedule one more time and the dockmaster assures me of a 1015 opening. When I get back to the boat I hear the bridge tender announce that he’s just gotten an update from Homeland Security and the next scheduled bridge opening has been moved up to 0915. Holy shit, get ready we’ve got to go.

Luckily since we were up plenty early we were able to get underway quickly. Christy backed us off the wall as I pushed the stern away, fended the bow and hopped on at the last moment. Only one other boat beside us made the opening, Jim and Deb on their catamaran Freedom. The poor guy who had been assured of a 1015 opening had taken his group into town for breakfast and missed the newly scheduled time. The next opening wasn’t until 1415 hours and we listened to him bitch, whine and bitch some more at the bridge tender on the VHF when he got back to the boat and found out things had changed. They actually had a Coast Guard boat go down to the marina to calm him down.

The rest of the day was an uneventful trip of about 30 miles. We stopped for the night at a fork in the ICW. When the path most traveled turned right, we went left into a secluded section of the river and dropped the hook in 10 feet of water. The trip to Charleston would have been about 60 couple miles so with the late start we decided not to kill ourselves and split it up into 2 days.

Jim and Deb on Freedom have similar plans for the immediate future so we are traveling together. We had met the Freedom’s when they were in Marathon with us for a few days and our paths once again crossed briefly in Saint Augustine. So they dropped the anchor 100 yards away and enjoyed the private anchorage along with us. Late in the evening a few boats that had been trapped until the 1415 bridge opening showed up and joined us in the anchorage. The place was plenty big and we were all able to put out plenty of scope to deal with the ripping tidal current. Tomorrow will be a short day as well so a starting time of 0800 will give us plenty of time to make Charleston by early afternoon.

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