November 4, 2010.
The trip from Charleston to Beaufort on the ICW can be knocked out in a day if the stars align just right for you. Due to the Wapoo Creek lift bridges restrictive schedule and the fact that the current ripping through Elliot’s Cut wouldn’t change in our favor until after lunch we spent Thursday morning waiting to get started. The Savages arrived in Chucktown at 1130 and decided to leave with us for Beaufort, SC.
At 1230 we pulled the hook and set out. We hit the 1300 bridge opening and still found a knot of current against us in the cut. It was slow going, but very manageable. We couldn’t have waited any longer if we wanted to make any distance at all during the day. The mornings delay only ensured that we would have to break the trip into 2 days.
After a short day we stopped in Toms Point Creek to spend the night. It was a very beautiful anchorage in a narrow stream cutting through a field of saw grass.
We had a short thirtyish mile day planned but the Savages had to arrive in time to go through the Ladies Island swing bridge before it closed for the afternoon. They were headed for the Beaufort Downtown Marina while we were headed to Factory Creek to drop the hook. So we were up and underway by 0730 the next morning.
While we were pulling the hook Christy and I realized that it was looking a bit foggy. As were motored back out towards the ICW we came to the conclusion that it was actually really, really foggy. We’ve been in worse, but not much worse.
Now I know why they call it “dead reckoning”, it was no help at all and if we had it as our only recourse….we’d be dead. Alright, maybe not dead, but probably pretty well stuck in the mud. If it wasn’t for the radar and chartplotter we would have had to drop the anchor and wait for the fog to burn away. In a few spots the river is a quarter of a mile wide and if not for the instruments it would have been very easy to become completely disoriented.
We passed one sailboat that was pulled off to the side of the channel waiting for the fog to burn away. He was only a hundred feet out of the channel and Christy noticed him, but I never spotted him.
Just before noon the fog did indeed disappear.
We were treated to a beautiful, clear sunny day for about nineteen minutes. And then the storm came.
The wind built swiftly (dead on the nose of course). It topped out at 40 knots and remained steady in the high 20’s for close to an hour reducing our SOG to less than 4 knots at times. On the plus side was that we only had a smattering of rain.
The tide swept us at over 8 knots for the last hour of the day and by 1430 hours the Savages had gone through the bridge and were safely tied up and we were in that little piece of nirvana known as Factory Creek.