The strong north northeast wind that is dropping temperatures about 40 degrees and leaving a layer of snow tonight has got me thinking about a trip I sketched out over the weekend. Beaufort, NC (pronounced boh-fert) to Beaufort, SC (pronounced byoofert).
Beaufort, NC, above is the southernmost point I've sailed on Spartina. The great little down town near Cape Lookout is at mile marker 204 on the ICW. Heading south from there, Wrightsville Beach is at marker 283, Bald Head Island at 308 and into South Carolina at Little River/Calabash at marker 342. Myrtle Beach is at 359, Charleston Harbor at 469 and then Beaufort, SC at mile marker 536, leaving 332 miles of icw - marshes and creeks and rivers - between the two Beauforts.
I have never been to the southern Beaufort, but from this photo I found on the internet, it looks to be my kind of town. And the places in between on the icw - the Crystal Coast, Sunset Beach, Cape Fear, the Georgetown waterfront, Toogoodoo Creek and the Ashpoo River just to name a few - sound like my kind of places. I wonder where I would see the first alligator sunning on the shore.
A fall trip, catching the predominant winds out of the north and northeast (hopefully not as cold nor as strong as tonight's wind), should make for a downhill run. November, after hurricane season but before the first frost, would be a comfortable time with average high temperatures in the sixties and average lows in the forties. Ok, maybe another set of thermals would be a good idea.
And Beaufort, the southern one, has the true friend of a single-handed sailor - an Enterprise rent a car office with one way rentals. Tow Spartina to Beaufort, NC, sail south for a dozen or so days, tie up, take a one-way rental back to NC to retrieve the jeep and trailer. Yes, I know, a lot of driving back and forth at the end of the trip. But Hwy 17, known as The Ocean Highway, is a pretty drive that I have made a few times, with trees draped in Spanish Moss, blues music on the local radio station and barbacued chicken stands on the side of the road.
Vacation schedules are still a little sketchy at the office, we'll have to see how things work out. For now, on a cold, snowy night, I will settle for just thinking about a sail south next fall.