After a chilly morning at a marina in Georgetown, S.C., with frost on the dock and deck, we released our dock lines and headed south, with the current in our favor. After low tide, as the tide flowed back in from the ocean through dozens of tiny inlets, the current switched and tussled with our forward progress.
The ride was stressful—large sections of shallow water in the ICW channel. After the channel gets dredged, shoals build up again as water flowing in from side creeks and inlets deposits sand and mud on the bottom. Each time our depth sounder dropped—from 11 feet below our keel to 8, 7 6, 5, 4, 3…we zigzagged back and forth, seeking water deep enough to avoid running aground. My nerves were bundled up and tied with elastic, ready to snap. We came as close as 1 foot of water beneath the keel.
We anchored in a peaceful anchorage in Graham Creek, a side channel at Mile 439 on the ICW, surrounded by marsh, a few shrubs, and a glowing sunset. No one but sailors and a few birds. And the circling alligators. (I can't confirm that; just a suspicion based on a sign not to feed the alligators.) The water was calm and deep. The birds (and earlier frost) kept the swamp mosquitos buried in their lairs.
Rising at sunrise, we lifted anchor and headed out to the main channel to continue our pursuit of the Florida sunshine. "Red sky at night, sailor's delight; red sky in morning, sailor's warning." We might be in for some rain.
I am getting Internet on a pay-as-you-go mobile broadband account from Virgin Mobile. Amazing that it’s working out here in the middle of nowhere, midway between the cities of Georgetown and Charleston.
We made 30 miles on Thursday, with another 30 planned today to reach Charleston. I am looking forward to visiting my friend Cindy there.