We raised anchor around 6pm to try and time a mid morning Charleston arrival. Once outside of the last red channel marker we motored into the wind and hoisted the main and genoa. We were reaching on a port tack making good time initially. As time wore on though the winds died and shifted coming from directly where we needed to go, so we had to start the engines. This pattern of good winds shifting to no wind or wind right off our nose would continue throughout our entire trip to Charleston. We did have a few hours of 8+ knots under sail, but the vast majority of the time was closer to 4 knots with at least one engine running. This gives us all the power we need for the boat with the alternators running, but it does kind of defeat the reason to buy a sailboat. We should be sailing!
We arrived in Charleston around 1100, a little later than expected but not too late. We dropped anchor outside of Melton Peter Demetre Park. The anchorage is just outside the channel, but the channel traffic really wasn’t much of an issue. What caused Unwritten Timeline to rock was the tide shift. Charleston sees around a 6’ tide change and the currents can reach over 2 knots. The switch between the ebb and flow would swing the boat around at anchor like she was drifting in a Vin Diesel movie.
Once the boat was secured we had to get Sophia to shore. She did go potty on the boat underway, but she was not happy at all about doing it. She was super excited to have the boat at anchor and see me lowering the dinghy so she could jump in and go ashore. Demetre Park is great for coming in by boat. They have a few floating docks that lead right up to a pet friendly small park. We would end up taking Sophia there a few times during our stay in Charleston.
The next day Will Miller was able to secure us some space on his dock while his boats were out conducting an overnight ASA class. We like being at sea and at anchor as much as the next guy, but it is nice to go to the land of air conditioning, unlimited water, and all the electricity you can use. Since we didn’t have to dinghy to shore we took time to hit up West Marine and Harris Teeter while it was easy to carry everything onto the boat.
Our time wasn’t all spent lounging at anchor or grocery shopping though. We made sure to get out and see some of historic Charleston. We started off with a ferry ride over to Fort Sumter. This is where the first shots of the Civil War were fired when Confederate artillery fired on the Union garrison 12 April 1861. The ferry ride over and back is narrated providing some information and the National Park Rangers are on hand to tell visitors the history of Fort Sumter and Charleston. This was a great half day trip.
The next day we set out again for a walk around the city. There are many historical churches and museums to see around the city. You can hire a guided walking tour, or you can also do a horse and buggy tour around the historical parts of Charleston. There are countless restaurants along the waterfront and the City Market is a fantastic place to pick up a small souvenir to remind you of your stay in Charleston. If you do decide to check out downtown you can utilize the free dinghy dock at Charleston City Marina and jump on the DASH. The DASH is the local bus service and it is free to ride. You can jump on at any bus stop and get off across town for zero cost. You should take advantage of this great service if you want to see the town.
We only had a few days to hang out in Charleston before we were sailing South again. We wanted to be in Florida no later than 15 June and we still had one more stop in Hilton Head Island to see another friend, TeddyJ.
We’ll save that story for next time.