We had to lower our antennas in order to pass under the Ben Sawyer Bridge. This bridge has a clearance of 31' at high tide. We need a clearance of 30' with our antennas down. Bridges do not want to open for clearances that include your antennas, so, down they came. It is a bit challenging because our flybridge is enclosed so the antennas are hard to reach. Jeannie needs to keep the boat steady and in mid channel against whatever current, wind or traffic and I stand on a thin ledge and take them down, about a 5-10 min process. We did it without incident and went under the bridge. This was only the second bridge where this was necessary, the first was Barefoot Landing swing bridge in Myrtle Beach. All of the other bridges were easy to go under with either tall clearances or were short enough that there was no question.
The Ben Sawyer Bridge has been a worry spot for several months. They plan to close the ICW for a bit over a week to replace the span with a new one. Quite an operation. However if you are traveling the ICW during this time you need to plan a run outside in the ocean to go around this area. There are really no alternatives, or you are stuck. This time of year the cold fronts come through often enough that going outside is often not feasible. The original dates for this closure would have impacted us as we headed south. There was enough uproar over the timing that they delayed it until mid December and then changed it again to the week after Thanksgiving. When we went past, all of the heavy equipment needed to remove and replace the old span seemed to be there. Would be interesting to watch but we are absolutely thrilled to have it behind us!
We traveled through Isle of Palms which is very nice but the weather was so poor everything had that gray look to it. We headed into Charleston Harbor in the late morning, we had made good time in what was a short run of 30 nm, compared to other days of 70nm.
When we turned the corner past the last markers into the harbor, we were hailed by a motor yacht who had become lost in the fog and had stopped at channel market( r38) going the wrong way. He was a delivery boat captain running a boat south for a brokerage company. He indicated that he did not have good electronics and his radar was not working correctly. Visibility was poor at less than 200 ft. He was .8nm NE of us, so we turned to starboard and located him. Easy to find and asked that he follow us as we turned around and went back to the correct course heading to the Charleston City Marina. He was a nice guy and we were happy to help.
We arrived at the Mega Dock, Charleston City Marina. This is easily the largest face dock we have ever seen. And it was packed with all types of boats, both mega yachts and small sailboats; a veritable potpourri of boating. Easy to dock and we were all set. Our big chore was to travel to the car rental and pick up a car for our trip home for Thanksgiving. Following that there are the usual boat chores of cleaning and stowing things, with the added twist that we would be away for a few days.
Tuesday morning we left before 6am to beat the Charleston rush hour and get home at a reasonable time. Our driving trip was uneventful though more tiring than boating but we are now home and the boys are all converging for a big dinner on Thursday. Katie cannot come this year from Ca., too far to travel for a short holiday but will be here for Christmas.
We plan on returning Saturday or Sunday depending on when everyone heads back out. We will spend a week in Charleston doing boat chores and exploring the city, then head south again.
Here is the link to our current location. I like to view it using the sat view, much more interesting.
All photo's by Jeannie
Our current location