Saturday, November 14, 2020

Dewees Creek: Not What I Planned, Turned Out Better

Well, I planned to sail from Georgetown to Charleston on the outside. The winds were blowing from the northeast to give us a nice downwind ride, mild waves, nice sunny weather. It would have been a 12-14 hour passage, port-to-port, meaning we would arrive in Charleston Harbor after dark. No problem, it's an easy entrance, lots of aids to navigation and I've done it before.

Only there was no space in any of the marinas, being still filled with boats that sheltered from Hurricane Eta. And I don't like arriving at an anchorage in the dark. And Charleston only has a few places to anchor and none of them are good.

So, I decided to make our way to Charleston on the inside along the Intracoastal Watererway. I wasn't too happy about this, anticipating shoals, foul currents, bridges, power boat traffic and nothing much to see. Turned out I was wrong on all counts.

It was a beautiful day, mostly sunny with some sheets of white-grey clouds covering portions of the sky. The brown water had a touch of blue reflecting on its surface. Golden reeds stretched for miles, broken up by small creeks in a vast estuary with dark pines off in the distance. We saw several bald eagles, many other waterfowl and a few pods of dolphins. Quite beautiful.

The shoals reported on the charts and cruising guide were not difficult to navigate. We had a fair current most of the way, along one stretch we loped along at over 9 knots! We averaged almost 7 knots for the day. running on one engine almost the whole way. There were only a few powerboats, all of passed courteously at slow speed.  We only had to pass through one bridge, a private swing bridge that is left in the open position except when a vehicle needs to cross the waterway. 

Plus, we saved a night's docking fee by anchoring out rather than pulling into a Charleston marina, if space had been available. Oh, and Lisa didn't get seasick like she would have on the ocean.

So, it turned out much better than my original plan.

We're anchored in Dewees Creek, a wide deep creek surrounded by marsh grass. The tidal current runs fast here, it will switch directions around 22:00 tonight and hopefully our anchor will set quickly in the opposite direction when it does. It's quiet and calm.

Tomorrow we'll head into Charleston Harbor to a marina where a space will open up for us.

South Carolina Low Country Along the Intracoastal Waterway