Monday 2 December, Charleston SC day 2: Morning onboard monitoring the anchor, and afternoon walking to town.
Bright and sunny but cool morning with the wind blowing briskly straight down the river. When the tide turns against the wind at 7am Cloudy starts a very interesting anchor dance. On our iPad’s anchor-watch app we are going around in 60m diameter circles, occasionally hitting 3 knts when she goes right across, pulling the anchor under her as she charges. Goodness knows how the anchor stays dug in… or maybe we don’t want to know right now what’s holding it in place! And we also pray she won’t get her chain hooked over her protruding keel bulb which sticks out on its aft end. We’ve heard of lots of HRs that have had this issue. So the morning is watching this drama, and other boats around us doing the same. We are just thankful we anchored in a wide open spot. At 1pm the tide turns again and Cloudy immediately lays perfectly peacefully with both wind and tide from one direction.
While keeping an eye on Cloudy’s dance, we spend the morning reading a few other sailing blogs. One in particular from a young couple we know who have just started the ARC across the Atlantic in a Moody 346, called Little Island. Apart from being a very amusing read, this is particularly interesting for me not only because Martin is a good friend, but I owned a Moody 346 in 1990 and sailed it to the Mediterranean. A lot of boat for a 34fter and at the time we thought it huge! Martin was also gunning to be on the GBR Olympic squad (Laser sailor) and even in the ARC he is clearly being competitive. Like me, when other boats are around, there is always a race on!
Also in the morning some pampering. Oana sets her tools on me for a manicure. There’s a lot of chemically destroyed dead skin removed and in just under an hour I hardly recognize my fingers. They almost look human again! Feet next. Clearly she loves me 🙂
Two days at anchor now and batteries are down to 50%. For the first time this season we start the generator and what do you know, something is not right 🙁 For some reason the Combi is limiting the generator output to just 16amps, and hence charge current to only 120amps, and only 80amps when I switch on the water emersion heater. But after doing some playing and several resets it finally bounces back to normal: charging at 175amps (@27V) whilst also heating the water. 1 1/4 hours of that and the Li-Ion batteries are back up to 100%. Lovely. But would have been nice if it had worked properly off the bat. Boat systems don’t like periods of rest. After a layup period all sort of things like this happen.
With Cloudy settled back down and the wind dropping, it’s time to head ashore, using the new dinghy and outboard for the first time. Before we go I experiment with various fuel lines and tanks and discover the fitting in the dinghy to be the problem that causes the fuel leak. We’ll have to change it.
Now, if this dinghy is to be heralded a major improvement on the old Avon, it MUST NOT get Oana wet! Even one drop on her and she will surely announce she got soaked through! So I drive ashore very carefully with the excuse we have to break in the engine. Whereas the truth is: it’s Oana we have to break-in :). All goes well, not a drop on her (that she noticed!) and we are soon tied up in the marina with fenders out. Yes, correct, fenders. Come on, it’s a new dinghy. But don’t worry, this won’t last long before we are bashing it up against slimy docks and not worrying about it!
Last time in Charleston it was June and damned hot. So we took Uber everywhere. Today we walk, and surprised to find it’s only 20 mins to town, via the Charleston heritage district of fine old and majestic houses. What a beautiful day to walk down these streets of history.
And Christmas decorations everywhere, all very festive.
First stop in town is the post office (USPS), to get stamps for our Christmas cards. Surprise surprise, they only have 27 international postage stamps left and the lady really couldn’t give a damn. The last post office in Deale was the same – no international stamps. What’s USPS coming to? So we buy their entire stock, in this massive post office that is about the same size as New York Central Bank, and manage to post only 3/4 of our cards.
On our way to the next post office we try a courier shop and thankfully they had stamps, and seemed not surprise USPS had failed us. In a country renowned for fantastic service, USPS really is an outlier.
Ever since Dianne, the port officer in Beaufort, had told us her delight at a good burger, we have been drooling to have one. She had recommended Five Guys, so we set off to find one. On entering we were not impressed, but decided to try anyway. The posters around the walls kind of gave us a message, most showing awards from 2007-2008 era, nothing dated later. The burgers were OK, and may even have been excellent back in 2007, but today they were nothing special and we left a bit disappointed.
Next, a search for a hair salon for Oana. I warned her the US would not be Bucharest prices, and after 3 tries we find a quick hair trim will set you back $50-60! And to think how many times I’ve cut her hair for free! Hmm, but she cuts mine too, so can’t complain. Needless to say, she walks off with “no way on earth I will pay that much. My last haircut cost me $8, tip included!”
At sundown we head back to Cloudy (dry ride again) and get on board in the last flickers of daylight against the usual red sunset sky. On board the heaters go on and we study the weather. If we left now, yes right now, we would have a good sail although a little on-the-wind. After that the next weather window looks like Thursday. We then look at our low fuel. About 200 liters we reckon. But it’s not the time of year to be in the Atlantic with low fuel and no easy ports for a hundred miles. We also remind ourselves we are in no rush, so decide to leave on Thursday morning directly after fueling up. That decision puts us in a relaxed mood and we again take to our books with a welcome alcoholic beverage, until bedtime.
We are longing to get south, to warmth, but when we get there I’m sure we will miss these cozy long evenings in the saloon, with the heater on.