Here’s the thing: everything you hear about the South is true. At least, it has been for us.
For example — we pulled in to McClellanville, looking for fuel and groceries. Rutledge, the fuel attendant, cheerfully told us that the closest grocery store was more than a good walk away, but “no problem!”, we could take his car. I just met you 35 seconds ago and you’re already offering me your car? I’m impressed.
The grocery store, as it turned out, was a Dollar General. I don’t know when the last time was that you tried to provision from a dollar store, but let me just say that we left well-stocked in Snack-Pak puddings and Mac & Cheese, but completely lacking fruits or anything fresh (although the cashier had a good giggle when I asked if they had any vegetables).
The scenery on the intracoastal has been absolutely amazing. Most mornings we have the whole river to ourselves, and the sunrises are incredible.
Of course with those calm quiet rivers comes… GATORS. Look carefully, you’ll see his scary little head sticking up from the water…
The gators are kinda cool — we saw 7 that first day — but they’ve caused an unexpected problem: we’re now both terrified of getting in the water! We keep psyching each other out, so Brio’s poor bottom hasn’t been cleaned in wayyy too long. We’ve got so many barnacles growing I think we’re going to be declared a protected reef soon, and this is NOT helping our motoring speed!!
We had one very cool morning of fog — something new for us 🙂
And then we came to my very favourite part of the intracoastal waterway so far — the Waccamaw River Swamp. I really wanted to write a post titled “Suffering Succotash, This Swamp is Sweet!” cuz that seemed pretty Southernly-appropriate, but then I got all caught up in what succatosh actually is (some lima bean stew that apparently Jon really likes??) and forgot to post pictures so you’re getting the condensed version instead 🙂
The Waccamaw is amazing because the trees grow right out of the ocean. So you can be motoring along 10′ away from a giant tree with an osprey nesting above your head. Very cool.
Sometimes driving (because it really is driving — there isn’t much sailing going on in the swamp) gets a little boring, so we have spontaneous photo shoots to mix it up a bit…
Have I mentioned that we really like taking pictures of our boat?? It’s revolting, I know, but we’re obsessed 😉
After the Waccamaw we had an amazing few days in Carolina Beach. Our incredible friends put us up in a house (with a REAL BED and AIR CONDITIONING and UNLIMITED HOT WATER and IN-SUITE LAUNDRY and all sorts of other wonders that deserve ALL CAPS RECOGNITION) and we caught up on the last decade and a bit.
Lindsay (left, with the baby!) was my best friend when I was 13. Our families were cruising the same area then and Lindsay introduced me to Britney Spears, taught me to bead from a sailing dinghy, and listened while I whined about the miseries of sharing a v-berth with my 8 year old sister 😉
It was great fun to catch up, introduce husbands (!!!) and meet that sweet baby boy of hers. Not to mention experience that amazing Southern Hospitality again!
That brought us along to Camp LeJeune — a full scale marine base that the intracoastal winds its way through the middle of. It was quite interesting to huff along the “live fire section”, pushing hard to make it out of there before the 8:00 am practice began. We cleared the last marker at 7:53 and could hear the ba-BOOMS for the rest of the day. A little freaky!
We got caught in our worst squall to date — 40+ knots with white-out condition rain. It’s crazy how these systems roll through, blowing you over on your ear even without any canvas up, drumming rain down (which yes, we are catching!!), and essentially stopping all forwards progress. But then, 30 minutes later, the clouds clear out, the birds start chirping, and the sun shines once more. It’s exhilarating and exhausting all at once!
Oh yes, and I have to mention that Jon continues to be the best. I’ll spot a marina with a store a mile away (I’ve got ice-cream-spidey-sense) and he’ll go zipping off in the dinghy to return with some delicious frozen treat. Nothing beats ice cream on a bright sunny day of sailing!
And one more gratuitous sailing shot 🙂