One advantage of our delay at St. John’s was that we were now looking at a full week of favorable currents in the morning for motoring down the ICW. Our first year south we weren’t experienced enough to use the currents to our best advantage. We felt like we needed to just get started first thing in the day, no matter what. We’re much smarter about it now, and will sleep in and have breakfast (or cut the day short) if it means riding along with the current vs. fighting it. Big Red is only a 16 horsepower engine, so fair and foul currents make a big difference.
We rode the current to our regular anchorage on Calabash Creek, then started off a bit later the next morning to ride the current to the Enterprise Landing oxbow, which was a new spot. Typically we would go farther to Cow House Creek, but it’s impossible for us to ride a fair current all the way from Calabash to Cow House, so Enterprise is now our new anchorage for this stretch.
Consistent with our goal to keep things fresh, we decided to stop in Georgetown, SC for a few nights. We hadn’t been there since our first trip south, but we had enjoyed our first visit and decided it was time for a second. We rode the current down from Enterprise to Georgetown and tied up at Harborwalk Marina where we had stayed before.
Our timing was excellent, because a cold snap was approaching with record-breaking low temperatures. Instead of freezing overnight at anchor in 30 degree temperatures, we plugged the heater into the electric at the marina and stayed nice and cozy!
Once again, Georgetown proved to be a nice stop. It’s the third oldest city in South Carolina and has a beautiful downtown district with more than 250 historic homes in and around the oak tree-lined downtown. More than 60 of them are on the National Register of Historic Places, and they’re gorgeous.
Georgetown was a huge producer of rice back in the 1800’s, with its port exporting more rice than anywhere in the world. Of course there’s a Rice Museum, and I had wanted to visit it last time we were here, but we didn’t have time. I was hoping the second visit would be the charm, but between gazing at the houses and taking care of a few items (like stocking up on groceries and buying a new hotspot), the Rice Museum was a no-go again. So now we have another reason to come back!
As an aside, people in these southern coastal communities are so friendly. Buying the hotspot involved a walk of over 2 miles one-way, but we didn’t have to walk that far on the way back because a woman pulled over and offered us a ride. They can spot a cruiser at 500 yards! That’s happened to us several times – always in southern states – while we’ve been cruising.
In addition to beautiful houses and a cute downtown, Georgetown has plenty of restaurants. We were able to meet up with our friends Tom and Anita from S/V Lone Star for lunch at Aunnie’s, a solid restaurant serving basic Southern comfort food – think fried chicken, Mac and Cheese, and sweet tea that practically curled my teeth. I really like sweet tea, but I debating asking if I could have some tea with that sugar!
It was so much fun catching up with Tom and Anita. They met us at the dock to help with our lines before we went out to lunch, and seeing good friends again left me glowing. We hadn’t seen them since we left Shenny in September, although we did wave to each other as we left Port Washington, NY and they were coming in.
Over lunch we discussed the idea of buddy-boating together on a hop outside from Georgetown to Cumberland Island. It was VERY tempting, and the weather window was great, but it was still going to be VERY cold, and we simply didn’t want to freeze for over 24 hours straight. We also were reluctant to skip our #1 favorite town of Beaufort, SC, so we decided against it and waved goodbye a few days later, opting to continue riding the current down the ICW and be warmish down below each night.
After stocking up on fresh-off-the-boat shrimp for a song from the building next door to the marina, we left Georgetown wondering why we had taken so long to return. We definitely will not wait four years until the next visit.
We rode the current for three days of quick travel to Beaufort, and on our third day we were passed by this stunning 1926 Trumpy, MV Freedom. At 104 feet long, this beautiful wooden boat was completely restored in 2009, and I am totally jealous of the delivery captain.
We could hear him making passing arrangements on the radio as he approached boats for several miles before he passed us, and almost everyone on the radio was complementing him on the boat. I could see him getting closer on the AIS, and I was very curious as to what the boat would look like as he got closer to us. Needless to say, we weren’t disappointed.
Only a few hours after picking our jaws up off the floor, we were anchored in our regular spot on Factory Creek. It was time to enjoy Beaufort – a place we definitely don’t mind waiting as long as necessary for a weather window to hop outside.