Monday, April 7, 2014

Friday, April 4, 2014 Isle Of Palms Marina

We had a windy night but the anchor held and Happy Hours II handled the weather well.  We had gusts up to 24 mph.  It's a beautiful morning with a spectacular sunrise.  It looks like it's going to be another great day!  We're anxious to get going to Charleston, SC.  I reserved a dock  at Isle Of Palms because we are suppose to get higher winds within the next few days.  I saw up to 37 mph...definitely sounds like a dock night.

The best part of the day on the water is early in the morning.  We just passed 2 guys fishing in the Church Flats.  They looked so stress free with their fishing poles casting away.  We slipped by them and I don't think they even knew we were there!  They were too busy concentrating on feeling the nibble from the fish.  After passing them, it didn't take us long to get to Elliot Cut.

Elliot Cut
Elliot Cut
motoring thru Elliot Cut
Elliot Cut
The cut connects the Stono River to the Wappoo Creek which then flows into the Ashley River, by Charleston, SC.  Elliot Cut is very narrow and because of this the water just funnels fast either east or west depending on...guess what?....yes the tide!   So, our ETA at the Wappoo lift bridge was 10:29 for the 10:30 opening....until we hit the Elliot Cut.  We were lucky that the current was
Wappoo Bridge
Wappoo Bridge
flowing at us at only 2.8 kts.  At ebb tide it would be coming at us at either 5 or 6 kts.  Even with the 2.8, our speed slowed and we didn't think we would make the lift.   We kept pushing and soon we were there and we still had to wait for the darn bridge!  This bridge tender is very slow with her opening but we made it through by 10:40 am and were soon into the Ashley River.  With our head sail flying, we had a great run out into and across Charleston Bay.  Once across, we entered the ICW again and got to the Ben Sawyer swing bridge by noon.  Good timing since high tide is at 12:22 and we once through this bridge, we have 3 miles of frequent shoaling.  We won't have any trouble at this time.

    Charleston from the Bay
Ben Sawyer Swing Bridge

Happy Hours II
Trawlers with us on dock
The Isle of Palms Marina is 5 miles away.  We decided since it's my birthday, we'll treat both of us to an early day and dinner at the Morgan Creek which is an on-site restaurant.   After we fueled up, we were assigned the very end of the face dock.  As we motored over there, I yelled back to Chuck that the dock space wasn't quite long enough.  The dock master wanted us to dock there anyway and worry about  walking boats back later.  Of course when we got our bow close to the dock, those high gust winds blew us away.   Chuck had to turn Happy Hours II around so we could approach the dock bow first, and headed into the wind.  Oh no...the wind shifted and started blowing us off the dock again...but I was able to toss the spring line to the dock master and then the bow line to the captain of the boat docked in front of us.  They actually muscled us in using the cleats as leverage!  Yeah, we are tied securely, so let the winds continue to blow!

Once docked, we relaxed for a bit and then decided to shower and take a walk.  Since this is an island, we made it to the ocean side.  We walked about 1 mile east admiring the beach houses. Most of these homes are built up on stilts...just in case of flooding from the ocean.  The beach is very flat and the sand is hard.  Conditions are perfect to drive down on this beach but I don't think it's allowed on Isle of Palms.  It must still be spring break for some universities because a group of 10 guys came down to throw a football and romp around.  You could tell they're tourists....bare feet, sleeveless shirts and shorts...the locals are wearing sweatshirts!  It's a nice day but the ocean breeze is still quite cool!!

Looking out the window at Morgans
Morgans Creek
Back to the marina to eat.  We ate here in the fall with Al and Colette from sv/Euphoria after our $88 shuttle to and from Charleston!  The food was good then and it's excellent tonight.  We both ordered the shrimp and flounder. good!  There is one oddity about this restaurant. They have a room with huge windows looking out to the ICW but it's not flat.  It slants down toward the water...amphitheater eating!  I guess they want everyone to have a good view of the water but it gives one the feeling of falling in!!!   Back to the boat to relax and plan tomorrow's trip.

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