Monday, March 15, 2021

day one - the running tide

Arrive Wappoo Creek public boat ramp, patchy foggy morning, after an hour-plus drive from Georgetown, SC.  Cool comfortable morning that clears quickly.  No rush to rig and launch, need to wait for a favorable tide through Elliott Cut.  Rigged and ready, I get a visit from instagram friend Pete who has shared his advice and offered assistance over the internet.  And soon Doug is there, a small boat sailor who knows the area well.  We enjoy talking about small yawls and boatbuilding and his recently bought Marshall Sanderling Catboat.  Soon I drop the jeep and trailer off at a storage company and Lyft back to the ramp.  

12:40 cast off with an ebb tide running.  Anchor behind a small marsh island to wait out the tide.  Anxious to get on the way I raise anchor at 1:00 and head for the cut.  Approaching the cut at 1:15 I see my speed against the current drop from 1.6 to 1.4 to .8 and we're not even in Elliott Cut.  Push the tiller over hard and head back to the anchorage.  

Anchored again I watch light grey dolphins swim along the shoreline.  Topping off the outboard fuel tank I notice the tide is already slacking.  

Under power 2:00, my phone app shows .4 kts current in the cut.  By 2:15 in the cut and doing 3.0 against the fading tide.

Out of the cut 1:25 and full sail on the Stono River.  Clear blues skies and warm, wind aft of port beam, water calm and making 3.8.  This is what I have been dreaming about.

3:00 steady 4.3 kts and wonderful sailing.  River bends to the west, which doesn't feel right but that's the nature, I learn, of the ICW.  It is a winding path.    The Stono Curves round a slight bend, wind forward of beam and gps shows 5.3.  Tack at 3:15 with shallows showing on the gps.  At 3:35 Marker 28A piling shows a running tide helping me on my way.

River narrows and the wind falls off.  Waiting to long to make a tack SPARTINA slides suddenly and silently into a mudbank.  Centerboard buried, as is the rudder blade.  I raise both and try to push out with the oar.  The oar sinks into the mud.  Whatever few inches I gain by pushing on the oar I also lose when I try to pull the oar out.  I hop over the side, feet sinking into the mud, and recall my days trying out for the freshman football team as I do short stutter steps into the mud.  

At first nothing.  Then an inch or two, then more, and suddenly SPARTINA is free.  I am surprised and pleased, and also very dirty with mud from the knees down.  I give a good push and hop aboard, cranking up the outboard and motoring back upriver a few hundred yards to Rantowles Creek.  

Anchored about two hundred yards up the creek I clean up the boat, fix dinner and rig for the night.  I wake twice, the first time when I hear a barge pushing up the ICW, lights glowing under a bright full moon.  The second time I wake early morning to the whooshing sound of water.  I feel like it I am anchored on a fast moving river.  It is the full tide running.

1 comment:

Clark said...

Skipper imagines SPARTINA was pleased also when she came free. Nice use of local knowledge and reading the water to get a nice day out on the water. Thanks for the report.
Clark and Skipper