We had a great stay in Beaufort – but when have we not? Over the past four years we’ve spent 33 days there, and to date nowhere has been able to knock it off of its perch as our number one U.S. choice to live when we swallow the anchor.
Tucked into our regular spot on Factory Creek, we enjoyed another week-long stay, walking around and hitting our favorite spots: Low Country Produce for tomato pie, The Chocolate Tree, Bill’s Liquor for great cider choices, Olde Timey Meats for excellent steaks to grill, and of course multiple runs to Publix. In fact, Publix was responsible for us having our first traditional Thanksgiving dinner on the boat since we started cruising.
Our first year we spent Thanksgiving freezing in Carolina Beach, NC waiting out horrible weather. Thanksgiving dinner was some sad squash with sautéed onions. Not good.
Our second year was better. We were in Vero Beach where a local church hosted an annual cruiser’s Thanksgiving. The church members supplied turkeys, ham, and other meats (and some people brought sides), and the cruisers brought more sides and desserts. There were easily over 100 people and the food and camaraderie was wonderful. Of course, little did we know that Covid would upend everything a few months later, and to my knowledge the Vero Beach Cruiser’s Thanksgiving hasn’t yet resumed. Maybe next year.
For the third year we were in Vero again, but it was post-Covid so there wasn’t a gathering. We were scurrying to leave the next day to head to West Palm so we could cross to the Bahamas, so I have no idea what we did. My guess is nothing, since I can’t remember it!
But this year, since we had easy access to a Publix, we had a Thanksgiving with all of the trimmings. A thick cut of Boar’s Head turkey breast from the deli, stuffing, potatoes, cranberry sauce, rolls, gravy, green beans, pie. It was great, and definitely felt like Thanksgiving on Pegu Club.
Even better than Thanksgiving though, was getting together with Anthony and Annette. Now land-based, they were long time cruisers on M/V Magnolia and we met them a few years ago when they stopped at Shenny to see their good friends Al and Michele from M/V Kindred Spirit. Magnolia, Kindred Spirit, our friends on S/V Minx, and Pegu Club had a very enjoyable evening back then, sharing cruising stories over snacks and sundowners.
Anthony saw we were in Beaufort, and he suggested a get together a few days after Thanksgiving. He and Annette kindly drove us to West Marine, and then we went to a local brewery before heading over to the Beaufort Yacht & Sailing Club and eventually wrapping it up at a great pizza place. They’ve settled down in Beaufort, and they patiently answered all of our questions about what it’s really like to live there.
Lots of laughs were had while we all shared cruising stories and just yakked away. We had a WONDERFUL time, and really enjoyed seeing a slice of Beaufort when you live there vs. when you just pass through on a boat. It was great to get together with them, and it will definitely be a recurring event whenever we stop there.
Eventually though, we had our weather window to hop outside from Beaufort to St. Mary’s. It wasn’t a great window – some sailing at the beginning and then mostly a motorfest – but it was the best we were going to get for a while so we decided to grab it.
We timed our trip so we could ride the current out of Beaufort and the Port Royal inlet, and then ride the current back in at the St. Mary’s inlet. As predicted, we had some very nice sailing for four hours or so, and then the wind died leaving us with VERY flat seas as we motored along. It made for easy sleeping for the person who wasn’t on watch, and it felt wonderful to set the autopilot and kick back.
The only thing that could have made it more perfect was more sailing, but as the sun rose I was literally dancing behind the wheel, listening to music and feeling SO happy and content. I LOVE being off the ICW. It absolutely has its benefits, but nothing beats being outside.
We hit 8 1/2 knots of speed over ground going into the inlet at St. Mary’s (sure glad we didn’t have the current against us), and instead of making a right to go to Cumberland Island like we usually do, we kept going straight and then hung a left to St. Mary’s. Yep, we were mixing it up again, keeping it fresh and going someplace new.