Onward to Hilton Head, SC
November 15, 2018
Nobody likes getting up at 1:30a, heck, some people are usually just going to bed at that time, but in our case, getting up at that hour was making me feel pretty excited. I was feeling confident and ready for our first solo sail (meaning: no crew) and one that covered an ‘overnight’. And the time was here.
Earlier that day, we moved to the gas dock for a quick fill up and easy way out. Using a fuel filtering system (just in case), we filled up the tanks and crossed our fingers that we wouldn’t need to use the last fuel filter on our trip to Hilton Head.
On Wednesday, November 7, at 1:30a, we got up, made coffee, put on our harnesses, and pulled in the lines. In the dead dark of night, we pulled out of the marina and into the surprisingly quiet shipping channel. I stayed up on deck with Erik for about a half hour, then went back below deck to try to get some sleep. After all, I needed to work the next day and would need to relieve Erik at 6a for my shift.
Grabbing Sparky and his bed, we cuddled up and tried to sleep, but he was super restless and didn’t want to stay put. He’d climb out of his bed and sprawl out next to me. Then he’d kick me and get back up and go to the edge of the bed (which is NOT okay as he is blind and everything startles him. With his bad luck, he’d fall off the bed and break a leg.) So after 45 minutes of trying to get him comfortable, I kind of just gave up.
I put him and his bed back on the floor and tried to sleep. It was now almost 4:30a and I’d have to be up for my shift at 6a and I really wanted to enjoy having the bed all to myself. But it wasn’t meant to be.
I gave up at 5a and went to the galley to make us a pot of coffee. I joined Erik at the fly bridge and we settled into listening to podcasts while we waited for the sun to rise. Just before dawn, I took over and let Erik sleep for a few hours. He stayed with me of course – just laid down on the settee at the fly bridge with a pillow and a blanket.
As the sun began to rise, I binge-listened to the Sailing Doodles podcast. It was good. Laura is just adorable and I had no idea she had so much sailing experience – nor was I aware she was a nurse. Very cool what you learn when you listen to what people say.
When Erik was awake again, I went below to shower and make us some scrambled eggs and toast. We never eat breakfast so this was nice treat for both of us. We were about 3 miles off the coast and my first meeting was at 11a. I’m happy to say that nobody knew I was in the Atlantic Ocean sailing at 7kts down the coast. Haha!!
The day went uneventfully, if not a bit long. We had heard that the entrance to Hilton Head island is best approached at slack tide. Whatever that is (I now know what that is, but I didn’t before that gem advice). Hilton Head island is surrounded by very shallow waters. You could go out a mile from any given beach and find depths less than 20 feet. And with an average tidal range of 7.5 feet, coming in to Skull Creek during low tide was not for the unskilled sailor.
We waited until about an hour before sunset to enter the channel, which was about an hour before the end of low tide, which wasn’t super terrible in terms of opposing current. We anchored just off the Skull Creek Marina and settled in for the night.
Hey, some of you have been asking how Sparky is doing. Besides the fact he sleeps about 22 hours a day, he has had zero issue with peeing and pooping in the cockpit. You just have to watch him. When he wakes up and gets out of his bed – I have to run his little self outside or he will have zero problem with peeing and pooping in our salon. Or cabin. Or hell, he’s even come INTO the head with me and popped a squat while I’m doing the same. It’s like monkey see-monkey do with this one. And it’s a damn good thing that the shower head reaches all the way into the far corners of the head.
Our initial plan was to anchor here for a few nights, catch some local sights, and weather permitting, be on our way for the next leg, which was supposed to be Fernandina Beach, Florida. Once again, Mother Nature will have her own way and a low front would settle and resettle blocking our plans to get out of here.
On Friday morning, I told Erik that if we were going to be here for a week, we need to tie to the dock so I could get laundry done more easily and I wouldn’t freak out that the anchor wasn’t holding each time the swells rolled under us.
The marina sent dock hands to meet us, and with strong winds, an opposing current and the threat of a thunderstorm, we made our way to the dock. Good grief, that was a very difficult docking. During low tide, with westerly winds, Erik was having a very difficult time getting the boat close enough to the dock for the hands to help secure us. After 20 frustrating minutes though, we finally got it done and I went back to my work day.
You may be asking how much I work. I rarely take time off, but I do work 12-8p Eastern – given my company is based out of California. I’m also not trying to hide the fact I live on a boat, and we move a lot, and are planning to travel in the Bahamas starting next month. It’s what we have to do until we win the lottery.
As it stands right now, we are here on a very cold and rainy island waiting til Saturday 11/17 to cast off again. Then it’s game on – a 28-30 hour sail to St. Augustine and the on to Ponce, Florida. Everything seems to happen for a reason – and it’s just possible these delays in our sail plan mean we will be home for the Thanksgiving Holiday with Erik’s dad and stepmom (whom I am sure will spoil all of us, including some turkey goodness for Sparky!)
Next: Sailing further south