Saturday, November 7, 2009

Size is relative

We are in a slip at Thunderbolt Marina in Georgia. Across the way sits this 177' megayacht, Maridome. (MicMac is 36 feet.) I googled her and discovered that she's available for charter! Only $182,000 a week! The bad news is that she can only handle 10 guests, and she has a crew of 14. There are many private yachts bigger than her. Microsoft's's Paul Allen only has a modest 413' yacht, but the newest biggie yachts are 500' plus.

When Maridome (above) was built in 1989 in Great Britain, she was the largest private yacht to be built there for more than fifty years. To get an idea of her size, notice the deckhand on the dock scrubbing her. Maridome can cruise at 16.5 knots (MicMac at 5-7 knots). Maridome includes a private cinema, a large air conditioned tender, parasail, and 4 waverunners. (MicMac includes a TV and DVD player that are finicky and an 8' dinghy.)

Kinda puts things in perspective. But, then again, ALL of us get fresh Krispie Kreme donuts along with our newspaper at this marina tomorrow morning. Some things are equal!

Thunderbolt, Georgia--Mile 583

Betcha never heard of this town! Never did we until we read the cruising guide. It's a little town along the ICW just south of Savannah that's known for its shrimp boats and boatyard for mega-yachts. Plus a friendly marina.

We left Hilton Head this morning and motor-sailed past Daufuskie Island. I wore Pop Pop's "dopey hat" as we went by, since my parents had toured Daufuskie many years ago before it was developed and included spas and golf courses.

Mindy and Tom played golf with us here a few years ago in August. Tom remarked that it "was the hottest place on earth that I've ever experienced." November temps were about 70 today.

Pete and I talked, of course, about the movie Conrack and Pat Conroy because this was where he taught the local kids for a few years. Never could teach them to swim though, since the locals have an overwhelming fear of drowning.

Then we passed a humongous "convoy" of tug-pulled barges loaded with dredging pipes (we think) in one of the cuts. Glad it was high tide. This train-like string of barges was about 200 yards long. I was a tad spooked, but Captain Pete said that we had "plenty or room and plenty of water."

Got a slip in Thunderbolt Marina, famous among ICW boaters as the marina that brings you fresh Krispie Kreme donuts and newspapers in the morning. Can't wait. We ate at a local hotspot, Tubby's Tank House tonight.

Friday, November 6, 2009

"Someday" finally came -- going to Hilton Head

We drove over the bridge to Hilton Head Island MANY times over the last 30 years, going to our August timeshare weeks in Sea Pines. I'd look at the ICW under that bridge and say "maybe someday we can come down the ICW and arrive by boat." Someday was yesterday, and it was a nostalgic moment for us. LOTS of happy memories on Hilton Head with our "kids" and parents. It was very appropriate that I was enjoying leftover boiled shrimp for lunch as we motor-sailed (on another picture-perfect day) past Hudson's Seafood Restaurant.

We passed near Sea Pines' well-known Harbortown Lighthouse on our way up Broad Creek to Shelter Cove Marina (in Palmetto Dunes) to rendezvous again with Ray and Betty for dinner at Bistro 17 --an excellent choice! I enjoyed a scallops with fois gras appetizer and mac and cheese with black truffles! If you see a pattern with our onshore dining choices, it's due to Captain Pete's perference for bistros. We're definitely doing a comparative study of bistros on the ICW. Looking for Anthony Bourdain too.

Ray and Betty at Palmetto Dunes
Played golf with the Whites today at Palmetto Dunes. What a beautiful course. I was distracted by the views--especialy the signature hole with an ocean view. My sketchy back problems for the past week have improved a bit, and I lasted for 18 holes. Hope I don't pay for it tomorrow.

Distracting views
If we hadn't wanted to play golf,  we would have anchored out, since Shelter Cove is a definite "destination." It took us about 90 minutes to go the 5 miles up the creek, refuel, pumpout, and get into a slip. Current and wind were against us.

This harbor is the mixed residential-retail development that we used to visit by land. VERY few shops however--then and now--but a charming and scenic place.

Beaufort, SC

Motor-sailing from Edisto Island to Beaufort, SC, (that's BYOU fort) we saw more gorgeous homes, dolphins, lots more Spanish moss on a picture-perfect day. Ray and Betty White (from our Stingray Harbor Yacht Club) heard us on the radio. They were right behind us for the next opening of Ladies Island Bridge, as we docked at Beaufort Downtown Marina.

Pete and I walked around the beautiful old section of Beaufort and marveled at the well-kept old homes--most of them very large homes from the days when cotton was king.

We got together with the Whites for a MicMac happy hour, then went to dinner ashore at Plum's.

More on boat tappings

I "misspoke" in an earlier posting about the Snap, Crackle, Pops we sometimes hear on MicMac's hull when we're below deck. It's a minor tapping, but it drives me to earplugs when I want to sleep.

I was half-right when I attributed it to shrimp-like krill critters. A Beaufort, SC diver added even more info than what I just found in one of our cruising guides. He told us that he sees these "grass shrimp" under hulls as he scrapes off barnacles and other "under-boat growth." He laughed when I asked if these shrimp are eating the algae, and said "that would put me out of a job."

The cruising guide says it's the sound of snapping shrimp. It seems that these little guys eject water jets as their claws snap shut at 62 mph. Really--not at 60 or 65, but at 62 mph. There's a bit of trivia for your next onboard happy hour!

The technical term is "cavitation" or similar to the the water jets formed by boat propellors. Scientists still don't know if they do it to stun their prey or to attract a mate. Whatever it's called--or whatever the reason--it's a distraction to my sleep.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Getting our "land legs" back, in Edisto SC

We're here in Edisto, SC, at Laurel & Arthur's beach house with two infants and two toddlers--and their mommys and daddys. Brody is having fun with his cousins. Water was a tad too cold for him--NOT bath tub warm!

Brody is REALLY into his first Halloween!

Captain Pete can always have a corkscrew with him now!