Last June in St. Augustine we placed an order for new cockpit cushions that will be fabricated once we get back to Florida. We didn’t have them made while we were there because we ran out of time and besides we had spent enough money that month getting things fixed. When we got our hurricane-damaged dodger window replaced in Annapolis we picked up a pretty big swatch of our chosen cushion fabric and now after living with it for a month I decided I hate it. For the past couple of weeks we’ve been looking for marine canvas shops so we can peruse their swatch books and choose another fabric and tell our man in Florida what to order. Believe it or not, we haven’t come across anyone accessible to us. Looking ahead for options I found there are three on Hilton Head Island, so we left Charleston Monday morning planning to make a two-day trip down the ICW. We could have made an ocean run of it, but there was no wind predicted and we’d be motoring anyway so inside it is.
We got a late start when our anchor windlass jammed and we missed a bridge opening but after that the current was with us and we made great time on a gorgeous day through the South Carolina low country.
It even got warm enough to finally peel off some layers of fleece.
While we were underway, and before we lost all contact with the outside world as we often do in remote places, we got an email from a friend suggesting we consider a stop at Beaufort, SC. I admit we didn’t know much about Beaufort except that they pronounce it funny, but it’s on the way and we can certainly afford to put ourselves behind a day, so why not?
We anchored last night in Rock Creek, about halfway to our original intended destination, Hilton Head, and about 20 miles from Beaufort.
I got up at 6am as usual. Izzy and I enjoyed a quiet sunrise, then watched a stunning classic yawl leave the anchorage. She’s called Seminole, built in 1916 and completely restored.
I went back about my business inside with various morning chores, neglecting to wipe the heavy dew off my shoes. I know better. As I started down the steps to the pantry my feet slipped out from under me and I took a hard tumble down the narrow companionway, banging my whole right side and landing all twisted at the bottom. Ouch! Luckily nothing was broken, but I went straight for the Advil before the adrenaline wore off.
We got underway before 8am in wet fog that was supposed to burn off by 10. It didn’t, but by the time we dropped the anchor in Beaufort it was starting to brighten a bit. While Jack was cleaning the foredeck after anchoring I shut down the engines and went below to change into shore clothes. That’s when I heard an unusual sound. I thought maybe it was the solar vent in the starboard hull, which has always had a bit of a rattle to it. But no, it was coming from the bilge. I opened the bilge hatch and there was definitely a pump running, but there was no water in the bilge. I called Jack. He came down and checked the engine room and declared that dry. I ran up to the electrical panel and turned the bilge pump on manually just to hear the sound. Totally different. Ok, so it wasn’t that. By process of elimination it had to be the shower sump, which is odd because we never use that shower, but yesterday when I was making water I filled two Jerry jugs and set them in the starboard shower. One of them had been overfilled and some water sloshed over the top. But still, why was the pump running now?
I ran upstairs and got a screwdriver, took the top off the sump and found that the filter had dislodged and jammed the float switch to the ON position. Whew! Easy fix, but I wondered how long that thing was running, since I couldn’t hear it when the engines were running. Plus all that upping and downing didn’t help my hip from the fall this morning. More Advil.
We stayed aboard for a while to be sure we were secure because there’s an 8-foot tidal range here and a strong current. When we were sure we were well anchored we dinghied to the town dock. As I was reaching for the cable to lock up the dinghy I whacked my head right into a piece of angle iron bolted to the piling. Are you kidding me??!
“I need to get you a helmet,” said Jack, and I wondered when that Advil was going to kick in.
We walked through downtown Beaufort to the old City Hall, now the Low Country Produce Market and Cafe, where we had a delicious lunch.
We picked up a walking tour map and set out to see some of the antebellum mansions Beaufort is famous for.
The live oaks are spectacular here.
We continued to explore the town until we felt we’d burned sufficient calories to earn an ice cream reward.
And it was at that point that I realized I’d lost my sunglasses. Jack parked me and my aching hip on a bench and retraced our steps until he found my shades at the tourist office where we’d gotten the map, and I was thinking my biorhythms must be way down.
Sun out and eyes protected, we finished our afternoon in Beaufort with a cup of coffee and a stroll along the waterfront where a group of men played bocce.
I’m glad we stopped here and I don’t blame Beaufort at all for my injuries and the pump malfunction. I’m just going to take more Advil and get out of here before anything else happens.