Thursday, April 27, 2017

Charleston, South Carolina

A two day run up the ICW from Savannah brought us to Charleston, South Carolina. This giant pineapple fountain reminds us of the gracious southern hospitality typical in this part of the country.

Another typical Charleston thing is the "Charleston Single House". It's a narrow house with a porch on the south or west side, and an entry door to the street that leads to the porch. The parlor is in the front, then the entry hall and staircase, then a dining room, and in the back a kitchen. These homes are everywhere in Charleston, in every style (including modern interpretations) and every condition.

There are also a fair amount of homes with wrought iron balconies like you might see in New Orleans.

Today we visited the USS Yorktown at Patriot Point. Not only did we visit the aircraft carrier, but also the destroyer USS Laffey (the Ship That Would Not Die), and the submarine USS Clamagore. Malcolm enjoyed looking at all the old aircraft on the hangar deck and flight deck.

This destroyer is of the same class as the USS Cunningham that my Dad served on in WWII, so I took a photo of the radio room like the one where he served. At 90 he forgets a lot of things, but I'm sure he still knows Morse code.

We've realized that we need to move up the coast a little faster so tomorrow we are heading offshore for the run up to Beaufort, North Carolina. After that, we will go up the Chesapeake Bay.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sunday in Savannah

We got out early this morning and took a quiet walk to Forsyth Park. Meandering along the shady streets, we enjoyed the scent of jasmine and gardenia, and more fountains, statues, and monuments.
The locals were out doing their Sunday thing too: jogging, biking, walking their dogs, reading the paper, having coffee, and going to church. 

Just west of the park is a bicycle rental shop where we rented two bikes. We wanted to explore a neighborhood called Ardsley Park that's about a mile further south.
For you folks back home, Ardsley Park is a lot like the Oxford Circle area on steroids. It has block after block of beautiful brick homes built in the 1020s and 1930s. The style of architecture is heavy into Colonial Revival, but there are a few in the English style too. 
The homes are almost all brick because there is no native stone here, but there's plenty of clay for making bricks. Many of the brick homes were painted, but not all, and some of those that were painted have had the paint removed, so there's an interesting range of colors from deep red to dusky rose.

I noticed that the huge Live Oaks were all neatly lined up between the sidewalks and the curbs, not scattered willy-nilly like our Valley Oaks at home. Although they are huge, they must have been planted when this neighborhood was laid out back in 1910, so they are about 100 years old.

This gorgeous five bedroom home is for sale for $949,900. If that's too much, then this four bedroom home is available for only $559,000.

After our bike tour we visited the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum...
and then had lunch at the Six Pence Pub.

We have certainly enjoyed our time in Savannah, but tomorrow we will untie the docklines and head north again. Next stop Charleston?

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Our Old Savannah Tour

First, let me say in all my travels I've never seen a tour quite like this. Basically you pay to pedal yourself from pub to pub where you buy to-go cups that you drink as you pedal along. The driver does the steering and doesn't have to pedal, but he doesn't get to drink beer either.

We didn't do that tour.

We did this tour. It's a hop on - hop off historical tour that takes about two hours. It winds through the city along streets like this...
amongst homes like this...
past squares like this...
and churches like this.

Everything you pass is steeped in history. You can barely turn around without bumping into another historical marker, monument, or statue.
And everything is pleasantly shaded beneath the huge old live oaks, magnolias, and crepe myrtles. This city is gorgeous.

Remember Chippewa Square from yesterday's post? We learned that the bus stop bench where Forrest Gump sat was right where this sign is, so like good tourists, we took our picture there, then went back to the boat and watched the movie. Yep, that's the place!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Savannah, Georgia

Savannah, Georgia, founded by James Oglethorpe in 1733, is on the south side of the Savannah River, which separates Georgia from South Carolina.

After a week of winding our way along some of the most remote portions if the ICW, it was a bit surprising to suddenly arrive at this city of 150,000 people. Because our hometown is a shipping port, we felt comfortable negotiating the river channel with its numerous boats, ship traffic, and a dredge right in the middle of the channel. The ships hoot a LOT. I just hope they don't hoot all night long because they are only about 100' from our boat.
There are also many tourist boats, pleasure boats, and water taxis.

We easily found our docking location "behind the 160' sailboat". Docking downriver against the incoming tide was a breeze. After we got secured, tidied up, and showered, we wandered into town to get the lay of the land.

Our first stop (as per Kristie Burrows' recommendation) was River Street Sweets for a warm praline. They were yummy, but soooo sweet. It's basically toasted pecans in a sugar syrup. When they hand you a warm sample as you walk in the door, you just gotta buy some!

We also found Chippewa Square where the bus bench scene from Forrest Gump was filmed. The bench isn't there, but people still visit the square for photos.

Tomorrow we will get groceries and take a trolley tour, and maybe visit the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum. Please visit us again for more Savannah highlights.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Cumberland Island, Georgia

Cumberland Island National Seashore is a good place to anchor while wandering along the ICW, and it's also a great place to commune with nature.

We arrived there about 1pm Monday afternoon. Shortly after anchoring we took the dinghy ashore at Sea Camp dock and went for a two mile walk down to the south end of the island.
Along the way we saw several of the feral horses that live on the island. (We later learned that there about 150 of them there.) We also saw three armadillos. This one was quite calm, but I understand their eyesight and hearing isn't too good, so maybe it didn't see us.

We walked past these huge specimens of Quercus virginiana, similar to our Quercus lobata back home, but evergreen and with bay-laurel shaped leaves. These Southern Live Oaks, with Spanish moss trailing down and branches drooping to the ground are all over the island and some are said to be hundreds of years old.

We made our way to the ruins of the Dungeness House. First built by Catherine Greene in 1803 and abandoned during the Civil War, it first burned in 1866. Another house was later rebuilt there by Thomas and Lucy Carnegie, who owned 90% of the island at the turn of the century. They also built other mansions on the island for their children. They left the island in 1925 and the home burned again in 1959. The only family living there now is a family of ospreys on the top of the chimney.

The next day we went in early and rented some bicycles to tour the north end of the island. We rode about seven miles on the sandy roads and it was not easy! In several spots the sand was so soft we had to get off and walk.

We went past the Stafford house with its runway and feral horses....
and eventually arrived at Plum Orchard. This "cottage" was built for one of the Carnegie children for a wedding present in 1898.
We took the free tour and enjoyed glimpses of a vanished lifestyle.
It has Tiffany lamps, an indoor swimming pool, a squash court, an elevator, and it's own ice making machine. Posh!

If you're heading this way, I would recommend stopping. Whether you want to watch birds, hike, or just lie on the beach, Cumberland Island won't dissapoint.

Observations on the ICW

We are from a river area that is similar to the ICW. Our delta contains thousands of miles of creeks and sloughs, and a dredged ship channel from San Francisco to Stockton, our hometown.

This wetland area probably looked a lot like the ICW two hundred years ago, but around 1930 peatland islands were reclaimed from the river by building levees. (Some say these "islands" should be called polders, and these "levees" should be called dikes, but that a whole 'nother discussion.)

This rich reclaimed soil was used for farmland with thousands of acres under cultivation in tomatoes, corn, sunflowers, and the Queen of our Delta, asparagus. By the way, there is no asparagus in the world that can compare with the asparagus grown in that peaty soil.

This is the California Delta 

From the age of eleven the Captain and his brother were let loose in this watery playground with their own boat. He knows how to navigate twisting channels, he knows a red marker from a green marker, he understands the concept of a dredged channel, but DARN IF WE DON'T FIND THE BOTTOM here on the ICW on a regular basis. We can both be watching the markers, watching the depth sounder, and watching the chartplotter, and still bump bottom!

Luckily we only draw 5' and always steer the proper direction to get back in the channel. We've kind of gotten used to it now and laughingly refer to ourselves as part of the "ICW depth confirmation team".

What do you think of the ICW?

This is the ICW.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Good Bye St. Augustine

It is with mixed emotions that we leave St. Augustine this morning. We are certainly glad to be cruising again after more than six months of inactivity, but we are sure going to miss this Old Town and the friends we've made here.

When we arrived two days before Hurricane Matthew, we were quickly welcomed, secured, and made to feel part of the community. After Matthew we were impressed with the positive attitude of the locals as they got their town back in shape.

Soon we bought some bikes, learned our way around town, and developed a routine of Sunday morning breakfasts and Wednesday night happy hours at Ann O'Malley's. We met new friends and spent lots of time with old cruising buddies. I even did the Wednesday morning Cruisers' Net for several weeks. We almost felt like locals and more than once tourists asked us for directions, so we must have looked like locals too.

And we got a lot of work done on the boat. We refinished all the sole pieces, removed the old teak decks, put down Kiwigrip nonskid, and installed new lifelines. But it wasn't all boat work. We also found a dermatologist who fixed Malcolm's ear, and we traveled to Costa Rica to get Malcolm's hernia repaired.

So as we head north I'm thinking our next stop is going to have to be pretty amazing to top St. Augustine, Florida.