Saturday, November 23, 2013

Cold Front

November 12-14
Georgetown, SC to Whiteside Creek, SC

In spite of their best efforts, our friends and family up north may take just a little bit of pleasure in the fact that, in spite of our best efforts to get south, we recently shivered through South Carolina temperatures ten degrees colder than those in Minnesota. We really don't expect sympathy, though, from people who have already seen snow a few times this winter!

Gale-force winds and overnight temperatures of twenty-six degrees were predicted, and Georgetown, South Carolina, became our port in the storm. Of course there were silver linings to those clouds. For one thing, we happened upon an almost-six-hundred-year-old Champion Live Oak tree. (A champion tree is the largest of its species in South Carolina, as recognized by The American Forestry Associates and Clemson University.)
The Champion Live Oak Tree

Prince George Winyah Episcopal Church,
finished in 1757
Walking around town, we saw historic homes built while kings ruled the Carolinas, an Episcopal church whose bricks had been the ballast of British sailing ships, and the town's iconic clock tower. Unfortunately, we missed the row of seven historic downtown waterfront buildings that burned down on October 25.
Georgetown's Clock Tower

Once the cold front passed and laundry passed the daisy-fresh test, it was time to move on. As we left Georgetown, a gray-and-orange Coast Guard inflatable came alongside and asked to board Pelican. They primarily wanted to check that we have all the required safety equipment, like life preservers, fire extinguishers, a waste disposal plan, and more. We’d never been boarded before, and my first response was Oh no! What are they going to nail us for? But the two Coasties who stepped onto our boat were real gentlemen. We found common ground with both of them. One had grown up in the Bahamas, the son of medical missionaries (Keith spent five years in the Bahamas while his parents were missionaries there). The other had lived in Hudson, Wisconsin, for a while. Close enough. After a thorough safety inspection they issued a “good as gold” certificate. Thankfully, at the end of October Keith had checked the expiration date on our flares (2004!) and replaced them. Otherwise, we’d have been issued a citation instead.

That evening we returned to a favorite anchorage from previous trips. Whiteside Creek, just a few miles north of Charleston, is a ribbon of deep blue washing between banks of golden marsh grass. The presence of only one other boat made for a peaceful night, although the captain woke up every time the tidal current switched to check that we wouldn’t snag our anchor buoy when we swung in the opposite direction.

 The excitement had died down, the cold front moved out to sea. All was well.

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