10. North to Charleston and then Georgetown SC

I’m not sure what happened here but I had written a post covering the section from Beaufort to Charleston. Since I was going to be in the Charleston area for 2 weeks, I delayed posting it in case there was more I wanted to add during the stay. Instead, it appears that I lost the post and since Charleston was followed immediately by travel days, I’ll rewrite and combine it with the next two stops..

From Beaufort SC the route headed north towards Charleston where my crew had a plane ticket to Detroit to see her rheumatologist at U of Michigan. The days journey was pretty easy but very tiring due to the mid 90’s heat and high humidity. The total distance was 56 nm and we averaged 10.4 knots. If you been following and enlarging the maps, you already know that the Intracoastal is a combination of many rivers literally winding their way across the lowlands, occasionally connected by mostly narrow dredged cuts (shortcuts) and interspersed with numerous small ocean inlets and larger sounds.

In case you hadn’t noticed, the track of the boat is color coded with the speed of the boat. The coding is shown at the bottom of the map and most of the time the speed is just below 10 knots (green) to 12 knots (red). The green slower sections are a generally indicative of either poking the way thru shallow water (lots of attention paid to the depth sounder and the centerline of the channel) or of more built up area with ‘No Wake’ zones . The map is available in different formats. Above it is superimposed in a road map type of format and is easier to get a general idea of the track. Below is the same map but with the track superimposed on a satellite view which probably provides a better sense of the area. If there is a preference, let me know. You can easily zoom in as you wish.

The computer program also distills the info in a journal format generally earmarked by statute mile location. (Norfolk VA is statute mile zero on the Atlantic ICW). Looking at the beginning on page one, you can see the day started 1.2 nm south of statute mile 535 which indicates the boat is 535 statute miles south of Norfolk, VA and looking near the last entry, the boat has moved north near to 475 statute miles south of Norfolk.
This is a photo of the navigation chart Left side is the route and right side depth sounder. . Left side shows the north end of the Ashepoo Coosaw cutoff with a depiction of the boat location. If you look at the “roadmap” at the top, you can see exactly where the boat was at 10:07 am and following the track easterly and then north up the cut, you can see where this snapshot was taken – north end of the cut just before the right (starboard) turn onto the Coosaw River. The heavier dotted line behind the boat is the actual track the boat took while the lighter dotted line is the recommended track. At the turn is a oblong green marker which is a physical green buoy maintained but the US Coast Guard. This bouy is taken on the starboard side of the boat.

Also so show are green squares. These represent the route take about a month ago by a fellow boater that differs a bit from the dotted line. It represents his actual track thru the deepest of water and since his route is very respected, I can import and overlay it in the chart and follow it. The navigatable part of the channel where the boat icon is located, is about 80’ wide.

The depth finder, right, side shows the current depth to be 8.6’ under the boat. We timed this run to be at high tide which at this location has a tidal range of 6’. We were running 10.5 mph at almost 10:39 am and putting out @14 volts.
And this is a video in that exact location. We had a powerboat in front and 2 speedboats behind. As the pic pans to the left, you can see a red crab pot buoy on the side. These are located all over and difficult to see in rippling or greater water. Not something to tangle with as there is a sturdy line running from the buoy to the pot below and catching the line in your props can ruin your day. As the camera pans back forward, you can also see evidence of the horse flies which are looking for dinner. Also can ruin your day and a few thereafter.

We stopped at St Johns Yacht Harbor on the south side of Charleston – about a 10 min car ride to Charleston’s downtown harbor. Slips were a bit cheaper and the marina much more protected than in the Charleston harbor itself. Very nice marina and pool facility. They have a loaner car available in 2 hr increments. In addition I used Instacart for reprovisioning from Publix so that was handy. Didn’t really do any Charleston sightseeing as there have been a number of motor home stops there in the past.

St Johns Yacht Harbor marina
St Johns Yacht Harbor marina

On to Georgetown

The next stop was Georgetown, SC – about midway between Charleston and Myrtle Beach. Another pretty easy trip though again tiring due to heat and humidity.

Crossing Charleston Bay, Fort Sumter, site of the first shots in America’s Civil War, was on the starboard side

Total trip was 66 nm. The 8 mile stretch south of McClellanville is known for its skinny (shallow) water but again we timed it for high tide and had no problem. The marina was nice though a pool would have been nice. The marina is located right off downtown Georgetown but was too exhausted to do much walking around. It’s also a town I’ve been through with the RV probably a dozen or more times.

I refueled taking on 301 gal of diesel. The last fuel fill was Savannah some 191 statute miles distant for an average of .63 miles per gallon with no generator usage (that averages about a gal/hr)

I also discovered when moving a plastic bin of stored yarn that there is a leak in the auto pilot pump. I’ve been in contact with the seller/installer in Ft Pierce. The fittings all seem to be tight s o it is probably leaking between the actual pump and the attached electronic computer module. It is very slow and so far the level in the reservoir hasn’t needed to be replenished. The reservoir is under pressure so I’ve reduced the pressure by half. The pump/ecm will have to be replaced under warranty at some future port. Meanwhile it’s still very functional.

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