Bender's Blog July 2009
South Carolina – North Carolina - Virginia
Charleston, – Bucksport – Barefoot Landing – Coquina Yacht Club – Carolina Beach – Wrightsville Beach/Wilmington – Elizabeth City – Dismal Swamp Canal – Norfolk – Deltaville - Chesapeake Bay - Potomoc River - Lottsburg - Rochester, NY
After 16 days of being on the hard in the boat yard, we were finally splashed and t’was so good to feel the ebb and flow of the river rocking us to sleep again. Quite a few of our friends unselfishly offered their home, condo, or boat for us to bunk for those 16 days and we thank each of you for your generous offers and particularly sweet Brenda who gave us not only the key to her house, was kind enough to allow the Old Dawg to also stay in her home, the use of her swimming pool, but also the key to her convertible!!! She made life so good that I think that before we packed up and moved out she probably thought she’d taken us to raise!!! We spent a couple nights in our old stomping grounds, Ashley Marina, Charleston, and visited with old friends there. As we headed north, we took several friends to cruise with us. Sullivan’s Island stood guard on our starboard side as we exited the Charleston Harbor. There old Fort Moultrie stands as a reminder of the great battle that helped give South Carolina their state flag. Too soon we reached Isle of Palms where we said goodbye to our friends and we continued on our way.
Enroute to Bucksport, we found the Waccamaw River absolutely breath-taking with its ancient cypress forests that line its shoreline. We detoured up Prince Creek and that was a highlight of our day.Reflections off Prince Creek Alligators were not too rare a sight. One morning as we were having breakfast, we heard a loud crunching sound, looked out and a gator who was at least 12 ½ feet long, was also having his---something huge and white. Maybe we were seeing the under belly of a mammoth fish. Out of curiosity, I needed to know the force of those jaws. Google told us that it would be equal to a mid-size car falling on you!!! So there was no swimming for me that morning.
Ospreys are everywhere and we love watching them dive and scoop a fish between their claws. Did you know that they hold the fish beneath them in line with their body when they’re carrying dinner home? Wonder how they know about aerodynamics? When you’re unhurried, as trawler people must be, it’s easy to observe all this and imagine a time far removed before cars, factories, plants, and other mechanical noises and enjoy the primeval nature of this unspoiled part of our world. Historically, many beautiful plantations graced the banks of the Waccamaw River before the Civil War, where indigo and rice were grown. The waters are very dark with tannin but the shoreline is punctuated with not only cypress and hardwood trees but also with many tiny yellow flowers.
A Piece of History - Socastee Swing Bridge, SC
The saga of refrigeration issues continue. We spent a long weekend at Barefoot Landing for a technician to spend hours onboard! However, all was not lost, for a RN, now a NP, with whom I worked in Labor and Delivery in Greenville, SC, was in Myrtle Beach with her family and they came over for a delightful visit. She and I hadn’t seen each other nor communicated in any way in 13 years! Of course, wherever we find a Dick’s Last Resort, Bill must go. He loves tossing their sarcastic insults back to them---so we consumed an evening there.Absolutely the Last Resort!!!
The hat says "Sex Machine". The stickie says "Out of Order" And then another serendipity with a similar background. In 1990-1991, another RN from Labor and Delivery, who has also been just a memory for all these years, moved away from Greenville, SC, too, and through a mutual friend, I learned that she and her husband have a sedan motor yacht in the same yacht basin where we were in the North Myrtle Beach/Southport area. We had several nice visits with her and her husband, trying to catch up on many years and then we bid them adieu at a wonderful old North Myrtle Beach benchmark for breakfast.
As we continued to Calabash Creek and Carolina Beach, the scenery reinforced the beauty of the North Carolina Coast. I don’t know from where they emanated or who cares for them but on one of the little spits of land there were wild goats so huge, I thought they were Llamas.
Wrightsville Beach and Wilmington provided an interesting visit. Somehow our bike rides always lead us to the ghetto and this was no exception, however, we eventually got to a very pleasant area. Besides exploring by bicycle, I also took off in my kayak knowing I’d be limited in range as well as trouble that always seems to find me.
We were the first to arrive in Mile Hammock Bay anchorage, part of Camp LeJune. Later 2 sail boats came and securely anchored uneventfully and then began the excitement. A trawler arrived and approached their desired anchorage so close to us that I thought we’d be able to shake hands. Long story short, She was at the helm (and I think for her 1st time) and he was on the bow trying to manually deploy the anchor, whose rode was too short and nylon to boot. He kept screaming at her and in a half a heart beat, she’d thrown the boat in gear and was moving forward like a scalded puppy, missing us but aiming for a sailboat. More shouting and screaming. They never hit anybody but after almost 2 hours, they were anchored…or so they thought. Still daylight so you’d think they’d notice their surroundings changing but not till they were hard aground surrounded by marsh grass did it dawn upon them that there may be a problem. Sea Tow came to their rescue and we were so relieved that they’d haul them off to a marina somewhere so the remaining boats would have a good night’s sleep without having to worry about his anchor breaking free. After pulling and tugging, Sea Tow had them free and towed them toward the entrance of the anchorage as 3 other boats, collectively, heaved a premature sigh of relief. Their tow released them to try again so who does he want to snuggle up to but us! The winds subsided, he put out 2 anchors but I still awoke hourly to peer out the window,checking their proximity to us.Dismal Swamp Canal
We’ve heard stories from cruisers who’ve plied the Dismal nSwamp Canal through northern NC and into VA, terminating in Norfolk/Portsmouth, VA, so we wanted to experience that, too! This 43 mile canal was dug by hand in the 1700’s and an undertaking that we cannot even image the work, sweat, bugs, and other difficulties these people endured. It was a gorgeous trip; so serene, peaceful, and untouched.
Dismal Swamp Canal
Norfolk made for a happy visit. Their Jazz Fest was the weekend we were there and we enjoyed that fabulous music from the comfort of our fly bridge.
We were laughing the other night at our change in perception of distance. If we put in a 50 mile day, that was a hard day. We look at a road map to get our bearings for near cities and…”Wow! 25 miles???!!! That’s a fer piece!!!!” Funny how 4 wheels traveling 70 MPH verses a trawler traveling 7-8 MPH can alter your view!
We’ve been very fortunate for the most part with weather and temperatures. Rare was the occasion that we needed air conditioning at night. Last night with the windows opened, we reached for a blanket!
On the Chesapeake Bay we saw the granddaddy of all airboats. It was huge, very loud, extremely fast, and the water it kicked up was incredible!!!
U.S. Navy Surface Effects Vessel
Now we’re ending the month in Lottsburg, VA, where we’ll leave the boat and travel to upstate New York for some family time. Bill is from a huge family and I always look forward to these reunions.
Stay tuned…! Fondly,Bill, Laura, and old Bailey Dawg
Olverson's Lodge Creek Marina