Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Plans, and the lack thereof...

Kintala is well into her second month of riding to the same mooring ball in Beaufort, SC. This wasn’t really part of the plan when we left Tampa Bay. Then again, the only real plan we had when we left Tampa Bay was to rendezvous with Blowin’ In The Wind and keep going north. It took longer than anticipated to meet up and we didn’t really manage that until we got here, already a good bit north of where we started. And, from here, we had a plan to visit St. Louis for a couple of weeks. It was a great trip full of fun and laughter, including a day spent in a climbing gym belaying grand kids up and down a 50 foot climbing wall. How cool is that? Deb and I even made a couple of our own climbs, belaying each other. The people who run the gym went out of their way to make it a good day.

When we left Tampa Bay I had thoughts of aiming for the Chesapeake Bay.  It has been a while since we cruised those waters and I like the place. And though not perfectly safe from hurricanes, it is still far less likely to get blasted than places further south. I used to think, compared to places south, that it was cooler up there as well, And it is, for part of the year anyway. Right now spot checks of the weather suggest this summer in Baltimore has not been appreciably more bearable in the heat department than Beaufort. In fact the rumors are that the Chesapeake is a bit of a rough go at the moment. Constant rainfall, a flood of debris, and a bumper crop of biting insects have taken some of the fun out of living on the water there.

It is impossible to say what the hurricane season will turn out to be like. So far the Atlantic has been quiet. The Pacific, on the other hand, appears to running a hurricane production line at full speed. I can’t decide if that is a good omen for this coast, or a bad one. But Beaufort, SC might not be a bad place to be either way. We are miles up the river from the sound and more than 10 miles inland from the coast. We asked the people at the marina where the locals take their boats when a hurricane comes. We were told they bring them here, to this marina. Apparently they have never lost a boat off of one of the mooring balls or at the dock. Our hurricane plan might consist of nothing more than stripping the boats, adding multiple lines to secure them to the balls come what may, and getting inland another 50 miles or so. Better, perhaps, than we could do if caught flat-footed at the mouth of the Chesapeake.

Blowin' in the Wind on the ball to our stern

So maybe this is a far north as we are going to get this year. The weather is bearable and, on some days, down right pleasant. The thunderstorms have been far less threatening than those in Biscayne Bay and often come late in the afternoon. Giant air conditioning systems that cool the boats and the air, hide the sun for the worst part of the afternoon, and offer up a good night’s sleep. Surprisingly, though there are marshes all around, insects have been a non issue on the boat. Expect to get nibbled on a bit if in the park as the sun goes down, but that is about it.

One downside to this place is just how fast stuff grows on anything that sits in the water. The Ding really needs cleaned about every two weeks. I cringe at the thought of laying to an anchor and 100 feet of chain. What a mess that would be to get on board when it comes time to move on. The cost of the mooring ball is (almost) worth not having to deal with that. The good news is that the dive service that works the marina and mooring field is a first rate operation. They charge by the hour which sounds a bit scary at first. But they are honest about the time it takes to do the job right. The charge is less for those on the dock. (There is a long waiting list for a full time dock.)

Another downside is the current that flows though here, first one way, then the other, for most of the day. New and Full moon tidal ranges are impressive. If yours is a rowing dink, expect a good workout. Blowin’ In The Wind has a sailing dink. The other day Grandson Eldest and I took it out in light winds and full current. At first we made couple of hundred feet of headway against the flow. The winds eased just a bit and the best we could do was hold station. The winds eased a bit more and we needed to call the Mother Ship to tow us away from the marina docks. The Merc had its little, 3.5 horsepower hands full, pulling both boats home.\

For now we are less cruisers and more live-a-boards…again. That will likely change…again. We just don’t have a plan for when.


Unknown said...

Ah, plans! I work so hard just trying to keep myself from going crazy because we have none... ;-)
Beaufort SC is another of those places we just skimmed on our way south, and hope to return at some leisure when we finally go north again. Nice to hear your updates!

Unknown said...

Hi-could be new people there working, and not so familiar with hurricane history. We were there during the so called storm of the century, anchored out. Not too far from the Beaufort city docks. Because I havent been there since then I can't say if the docks are the same but the docked boats had a very hard time of it. Two docks and a few boats were badly damaged. About four anchored boats dragged into shore. Winds topped out at 90 knts that day. The marina on the north side of the bridge, on the island did better because of wind direction. Fair winds!