Lovely Murrells Inlet, South Carolina
Murrells Inlet is a marshland community that according to legend was named after Captain Murrell, a pirate who used the inlet as his base. This gem of a small community, with only 3,300 people is known for its seafood, including oysters, crabs, clams, fish, and shrimp. Founded in the late eighteenth century by a Captain Morrall, Murrells Inlet has supplied the Waccamaw Neck with fresh seafood for over 200 years. You can watch the Fishing boats as they leave the docks daily, and purchase fresh fish caught that day. If you enjoy deep-sea fishing you will find charters that will take you out for a fishing excursion. Nearby Huntington Beach State park is considered to be one of the best bird watching areas on the east coast. This village is located in what is called the Grand Strand, which is an area that runs from North Myrtle Beach to historic Georgetown. The Grand Strand is a popular area for visitors as it offers an array of motels, restaurants, campgrounds, beaches, and shopping areas.
2000, November 19-20 The Rockpile in the Rain
"Traversing the Pine Island Cut (the Rockpile)"
I call on the radio to check for commercial traffic coming the other direction, but there is no answer. No one is around. The dodger keeps fogging up in the cold and rain.
Since we expected it to be wet, we put the computer down on the nav table and not in the cockpit. So I end up sitting on the steps and relaying what is ahead to Bob. (Although he could look down at it himself if he chose.)
We have transitted most of the Rock Pile, and are coming up to Barefoot Landing when *surprise* - there is a swing bridge here that isn't on the charts and isn't mentioned in the ICW Guide. It opens on request, so I request an opening. I also relay to the bridge tender what the construction guy told me about the canal being open today and closed tomorrow. I'm later told that this bridge should never have been built. All new bridges over the ICW are supposed to be fixed bridges at least 65 feet tall.
As we pass Barefoot Landing we see a number of boats tied up including COSMOS and DESTINY. BETSY MARIE and EQUINOX and I have a conversation on the radio, and I tell them the same story about the ICW being open. They are going to leave about 8:30
I call DOLPHIN (Fred's boat) many times with no answer. He told me yesterday that if the weather was bad, they'd stay there. And this weather is certainly bad. But if he doesn't get through this area today, he will be stuck there. OTOH, Sharon will probably like that extra time for shopping.
The SC bridges monitor channel 9 and not 13. People are having trouble remembering that. The bridge list in the charts doesn't have it correct either
"To the Wacamaw River"
We have picked up a covey of boats behind us. TUPPENCE, COSMOS and a boat with a blue hull and a motor boat pass us. I talk to COSMOS on the VHF.
We go under the Conway Bypass Bridge, which is finished, although the ICW book says it was never finished. We also pass under the new bridge that is under construction.
Farther down we see *another* construction barge with a crane. It appears to be deserted. Bob asks me if he should go to one side or between the barge and something that is being built in the middle of the canal. How should I know? There is only a sign that says "Slow - Construction Area - No Wake". As we passed, it appears that there was an unattended generator pumping out a caisson on the west side. (We did go between the barge and the other thing.)
"After the Socastee Bridge"
As soon as we went through, everyone behind us passed us. They just wanted to let us go first through the scary bit. The folks with COSMOS thought that the bridge that was closing the water way was the Socastee Bridge, which was - they thought- under repair. I didn't think so.
They all go speeding ahead, and then we catch up to them at the Socastee Bridge, which is perfectly OK. I open beefaroni for lunch, and make hot tea.
We wanted to get to Georgetown tonight to allow us a short run to McClellenville. Or at least down farther on the Waccamaw River to Thoroughfare Creek to anchor. But we just can't get that far. It is too much of a strain looking through the fogged up dodger. And it is going to be cool tonight, so I want some heat, which means a marina where we can hook up to the electricity. So we stop at the Wacca Wache Marina in Murrill's Beach near Brookgreen Gardens. We have only done 36.6 miles at an average speed of 5.9 mph. We are at a floating dock.
He has us listed on his board as Rosalynn - says he couldn't understand my accent. He gives us a small bottle of wine, a bag of popcorn and a plastic bucket. We have cable TV and electricity, and he lets me go upstairs and download e-mail. Some non-native English speaking foreigners come in (i.e. not Canadians or English) and have never had barbecue, and are persuaded to try some.
When we can see it, we are in a bald cypress swamp with Spanish moss on the trees. Again, as in the Dismal Swamp, tree stumps are growing small colonies of plants which would be the envy of any landscape gardener.
Bob made a tasty chicken and pasta dish with the last of the fresh string beans, and some fresh carrots in it. TUPPENCE, and MARYLAND YANKEE II are here too, and a 2 boats come in afterwards (one is LA VITA DOLCE which has a dog on it) and are put on the fuel dock. ENCORE comes in much later and is put on the outside of the fuel dock which is a fixed dock. We fell asleep watching TV.
"Nov 20, 2000 Monday - Leaving Wacca Wache"
It is very very foggy this morning. We debate the possibilities, and then decide that the only real option is to go to McClellenville if we are to make Charleston by tomorrow. I download pocketmail by phone.
We leave about 9:45, and Bob pulls out a sail. SHEARWATER (the big power boat docked beside us at the marina) passes us, and then the trawler MARYLAND YANKEE II.
"Down toward Georgetown"
OUR TERN (with the T in the shape of a bird), a Manta 40 catamaran passed us about 10:40. I am trying to dry off the dodger and side curtains. The sponge just makes the droplets of water smaller. None of the towels does any better. I finally use a paper towel. We see a little sun, but it's still cold. The current is with us and we are making 8+ knots.
Next the rest of the long trek to McClellanville