May 11. Up and underway by 0800 for our 34 mile trip to Charleston.
After 7 miles as we were approaching one of the ICW markers I was informed by the navigator that the Skipper Bob guide advised staying to the far right side of the channel as there is considerable shoaling. The only problem is that there are only markers on the left side of the channel so where the opposite side of the channel actually is, is open for debate. I think we’re doing fine but the navigator thinks we need to steer more to starboard.
Bump, okay no big deal we just bumped. BUUMMP, okay, still moving, we’ll be past the shoal any second, plenty of water, no worries, not a problem, everything’s gonna be fine. Thud, okay, we’re not moving. Damn. We’re stuck as hell, can’t back off or move forward. The tidal range here is almost 6 feet but fortunately it’s only about 9 inches above low tide. Checking the tide chart and the clock I figure that if we just sit here we should be able to float free by 1130.
We are able to convince Jim and Deb to keep going as the tide falls so quickly here that once you’re stuck on a falling tide you’re pretty much screwed. So we shut off the engine and watched as Freedom disappeared around a bend.
Christy made breakfast omelets and after we ate she sat on the bow in the sun as I watched for boat traffic coming up behind us. Only 2 boats came past and I was able to raise them from close to a mile away and ask that when they got close to please slow down so as not to push us further onto the sandbar with their wakes. Both Captains were very cooperative and crept past us with nary a ripple. Not riffle, there was none of that. The second boat was actually kind of funny because when I asked them to slow down for us I could hear relief in the woman’s voice as she repeated to me “ Ohhh, you just want us to slow down”. I’m sure she thought that we were going to ask for a tow or some kind of help.
I figured that by 1115 I could start the engine and by 1130 we should have enough water to try backing off. At 1110 a small workboat came by and I figured I could use his wake to get the boat moving so I started the engine. I didn’t hail him on the radio and as he approached he realized what was wrong and immediately slowed down. I quickly called him and told him that we were just about refloated and asked him to keep his speed so I could use his wake. He resumed his speed and his wake was just enough to get us off the bottom and moving backwards. In less than a boat length we were back in deep water and on our way again.
The funny thing was that as Freedom headed north they were fighting the outgoing tide while we sat through it. Then when the tide started to fill back in we were able to ride a full knot push for over 2 hours and we arrived at Charleston only an hour behind them.
PAC’s were never so good and then we went over to Freedom to enjoy the evening. Christy and Deb coauthored a fabulous dinner followed by sundowners. Poor Deb was freaked out about our insistence that they leave us behind. We explained to her that there was nothing they could do, we weren’t in any danger and there really wasn’t any stress involved. It is what it is. We had breakfast, sat in the sun, pondered stuff and when it was time we floated off. And a good time was had by all……….