Following our midges nightmare and major clean up in the River Forest Marina in Belhaven, NC, we continued on our last stretch of the ICW to Beaufort, NC, a quaint marina and port with historic homes and many antiques stores, shops and restaurants.
We planned to stay a few days in Beaufort, NC, then continue south via the Atlantic Ocean. We were apprehensive of more midges and the shallow depths on the ICW. We thought off-shore would be safe from groundings and the ghastly bugs! We contacted our weather router shortly after we arrived in Beaufort and he recommended we go soon, our best weather window was the following day, so we untied early the next morning for Charleston, SC. It would be a 200 nm overnight ocean cruise, our first overnight on Orenda!
The cruise was enjoyable and being in deeper water, easier than traveling the ICW!
We arrived at the Charleston City Marina at the Mega Dock late morning, but due to fast currents on the Ashley River, we hung in the harbor for a couple of hours until currents decreased and docking could be safely accomplished. On the Mega dock, we were one boat in a fleet of Mega yachts, 100 to 250 foot yachts also tied up to the 1530 feet dock! We were the little guys! The Mega yachts had people – boat washing, boat cleaning, chefs, servers, captain crew, matching Yacht logo shirts and they were all beautiful! Fun and friendly also! Well, Orenda has crew, Scott and me. We share cleaning, cooking, skippering and swabby duties!!
Charleston, SC is full of history dating back to 1670. Hundreds of historic buildings designed in a range of period styles such as Colonial, Georgian, Regency. We enjoyed a horse and open carriage ride through the historic district and a lesson on building architecture. One interesting fact was that the houses are built sideways on the lots. We learned that when the city’s first streets were laid out in the mid 1600’s, the residential lots were long and deep and had little street frontage. Placing the house sideways on the lot made the best use of space and also allowed the home to take full advantage of the prevailing southerly breezes, much needed in the hot summer climate.
We wandered the City Market, an outdoor market selling a variety of goods such as jewelry, purses, ceramics, artwork. We purchased fun face coverings for our grand-kids!
From Charleston, SC we day cruised off shore to Beaufort, SC a very southern-like port with old colonial homes, built in the 1800’s. Lovely and just old southern. Huge oak trees lined the streets and are just magnificent in size and shape.
Our next stop along the Atlantic coast was Hilton Head, SC, a very modern resort I had spent time in with my siblings and Mom. My mom loved the ocean! We have wonderful memories! We stayed in Harbor Town Yacht Basin, a half circle basin with shops and restaurants. Sea Pines Resort is laced with bike and walking trails!
We left Hilton Head and continued south along the Atlantic coast to Jekyll Island, GA and anchored for a couple of nights. We caught up on boat chores, cleaning and laundry and enjoyed the solitude of being on the hook.
Our next stop was St. Augustine, FL the oldest city in the United States. So much history! Our slip overlooked the St. Augustine Bridge of Lions that opens on the hour and half hour. We walked to the Fountain of Youth, a park that memorializes Juan Ponce de Leon and his landing in 1515. I was actually looking for the fountain of youth…… We spent time on St. George Street, an 11-block pedestrian street with shops, restaurants and galleries. We found a super interesting brewery called Auggies Draft Room, a self-serve brewery on St. George Street.
We did some provisioning in St. Augustine. Grocery stores were not easily within walking distance, so we made the 4-mile hike to Walmart, then Ubered home. The Uber driver dropped us on the street. We collected dock carts and hauled our goods to the boat. Then we find spaces in the boat to store the goods! Provisioning is exhausting!
Just a note: COVID-19 has had an impact on our travels on the East coast. We feel confident that if one of us gets COVID the other will also get COVID. If Scott needed outside medical care, me on the boat alone worries me. So our port visits are like “window shopping”. Fun stuff to do but we don’t want to go any place where we could be at risk for COVID, (inside restaurants, museums, aquariums, historic homes). Perhaps paranoid, but being far from our normal medical care providers and with only us on board, we are being very cautious.
Stay tuned for more travels…..