Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Charleston, Mt. Pleasant, and Sullivan's Island, SC

White Pepper was able to spend three weeks in Charleston, SC this fall. This year we stayed at the Charleston Harbor Marina and Resort on the Cooper River in Mount Pleasant, SC . Hurricane Mathew caused extensive damage in Charleston Harbor. Our favorite—the city marina-- was booked up and the Maritime Center was totally destroyed. We were lucky and pleased to find a slip at the Charleston Harbor Marina.

The marina provides a free shuttle into Charleston. Mostly we avoided the amazing restaurants of Charleston except for a raid on Pearlz for oysters. We did check out the famous Jestine's for lunch. We made several trips to the farmer's market every Saturday in downtown Charleston. We became familiar with Mt. Pleasant, which is a thriving community just over the bridge from Charleston. Mt. Pleasant is the home of a large military museum that includes the preserved aircraft carrier, Yorktown. In addition they sponsor numerous activities such as the Mac and Cheese Festival which we declined due to expense. Later we did attend the SC BBQ Throwdown contest. We were able to sample Carolina barbeque which is vinegar based and so alien to Texas taste.

Perhaps our best tourist excursion was to Sullivan's Island. Sullivan's Island is the northern shoulder of Charleston Harbor and site of Fort Moultrie. Fort Moultrie was a Revolutionary War fort made of palm logs and sand berms. It is long gone but was succeeded by a long series of forts that defended our coast until after WWII. Jan and I had an interesting morning exploring Sullivan's Island and the fort.

 Jan hard at work at the Farmer's Market

 Historical cannon display.  This is a Rodman 10"

 Charleston Harbor is a busy place. Two container ships frame Fort Sumter in the background.

The Civil War aspect of Fort Moutrie which never fired a shot. The blue flag is that of the Carolina Militia.


Thursday, November 10, 2016

Hampton, VA to Charleston, SC

White Pepper joined the great migration south on Oct. 23rd leaving our many new friends at Custom House Marina on the Hampton River. One friends, Steve Papkey, tagged along as guide and crew for the first part of the journey. This was our second south bound trip; the other trip being in 2010.

It was a brisk, cool, and sunny trip across Hampton Roads. By noon we had cleared the familiar Hospital Point in Portsmith, VA and dodged the freighter Zim New York. By 1pm we arrived at the Gilmerton Lift Bridge. While waiting we all reminisced about past problems dealing with this tricky bridge. An hour later we arrived at the Great Bridge Lock. After clearing the lock White Pepper pulled over and docked for the rest of day at the free dock provided by the city of Great Bridge.

 The Zim New York

 The naval hospital at Hospital Point, Portsmith

 The always tricky Gilmerton Lift Bridge

The single lock at Great Bridge

The next day was an easy and pleasant motor down the Virginia Cut to Coinjock, VA where we docked at the Midway Marina. Midway Marina is obviously in transition and suffers by comparison with the Coinjock Marina and Restaurant across the way. However, it was fine for our purposes. Jan and I spent the evening at Steve and Val's home nearby and had a lovely meal alongside their canal.

 There is a lot of industry at Great Bridge

Jan, Val and Steve

On Oct. 25th we were actually able to sail across the Albemarle Sound with a brisk tail wind. We entered the Alligator River about 1430, cleared the Alligator River Bridge at 1500, and finally anchored at the base of the Alligator River. The wind had died to nothing by this time. The anchorage was crowded and the sunset particularly lovely.

Base of the Alligator River

On the 26th White Pepper anchored in a new spot—Campbell Creek off of Goose Creek at mile marker 154.5. The next day we waved at our old friend, Oriental, NC as we motored on to Morehead City. We docked at Morehead City Yacht Basin. Joe and Sherry from Narsilion stopped by for dinner at a local restaurant. We had planned on staying at Morehead City for several days. However, after a walk around the next morning we decided to make good use of the good weather. After a long motor that included dodging some nasty shoaling in the ICW, White Pepper arrived at the Camp LeJeune anchorage also known as Mile Hammock Bay. It too was very crowded. I counted 20 boated anchored and were lucky to get a spot.

 Great place to eat
                                             The boardwalk at Morehead City, NC

Mile Hammock Bay at Camp Lejeune, NC

Saturday Oct. 29th was an aggravating day. There were delays at the bridges including an absolute mob scene at the Wrightsville Swing Bridge. This was followed by an aggravation at Carolina Beach which is the subject of a separate blog post.
Mob scene on a Sat. afternoon at Wrightville Beach

Having waited for an excellent weather window, White Pepper followed a familiar route from the 2010 trip by sailing down the Cape Fear River and out into the Atlantic. The weather was excellent. After the sliver of a moon set, the night became so dark and clear that the star, Sirius, actually cast a glittering star shine across the water. I only wish a camera could have captured the moment. Dawn brought the jetties of Charleston. White Pepper docked at the Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina at 1015.