"When I think of all the fools I've been it's a wonder that I've sailed this many miles." -Guy Clark

Thursday, March 18, 2021

day three - fog, strong currents and fine sailing

Wake at 6 a.m. to an unexpected heavy fog.  I can hear birds calling from the nearby marsh but can only see a dark grey line about 15 yards away.  No wind.  Just after 7:00 a light breeze.  Full sail and creeping along against the flood tide at 1.4, wearing the drysuit against the moisture in the air.  Around the bend in the river 2.6.  The marker, the red "v" shaped cursor, confuses me.  Moving slowly the cursor seems to spin around but I can tell from the compass I am not turning at all.  I focus on the track line that leads to the cursor, trying to keep that in a consistently straight line.

Off the mouth of Watts Cut we struggle more against the tide as water comes up the Edisto and flows both upriver and into the cut.  I hear an outboard engine coming towards the cut, I cannot see it in the thick fog.  I grab my air horn, worrying less about making ground and more about not being hit by a speeding boat.  I strain my eyes looking through the grey.  Nothing.  I can hear music and laughter, still can't see it.  And then a clear voice across the water, "I see it" just at the dark shape of the boat comes into view.  They had spotted me out on the river.

Under power to get away from the cut, sailing again at 9:30 as the river widens.  A little sun breaks through.  Skirting the marsh on the west side of the river, 2.4, the fog lifts.  Wonderful tacking back and forth across the river.  It feels like the tide swings in our favor, wind fills in and making 6.3 off of Alligator Creek. 

Fenwick cut, a narrow land cut between the Edisto and Ashpoo Rivers, at 11:30, losing my helping tide and motor sailing through the cut on to the Ashpoo River.  I head up the Ashpoo River to the next turn but a large power boat looks like they will get to the narrow turn just as SPARTINA would so I round up and let them go through first.  I try to motor sail through turn on the Ashpoo but the water is boiling as a strong ebb tide rushes down the Ashpoo and splits in two directions.  We fall back,  tuck in a reef in the building gusts and make another attempt but still can't get through the churning water.  I turn up the Ashpoo to anchor in a shallow area marked on the charts on the south side of the river.  I put the anchor out only to feel it bouncing along the bottom in the rushing tide.  I add a 10 pound mushroom anchor and still can't get purchase.  Haul in the anchor and turning downwind and down current we fall back to anchor about a half mile from the cut.  Checking the app I see it is full ebb tide.  What else to do but lunch and a nap as we wait out the tide.

At 2:00 the app shows the current falling off, sails up and powering through the cut then motor sailing up Rock Creek and the Ashpoo-Coosaw cutoff.  Main and jib down we motor dead center down the narrow waterway lined by mud flats in the falling tide.

Out on the Coosaw River at 3:15, sails up with a single-reefed main doing 5 kts on a beautiful sunny afternoon.

Off Morgan Island 3:45, 4.5 to 5.5 on smooth water.  At green marker 195 gps shows 6.7 kts, we round up and tuck in a second reef.

Enter Brickyard Creek just after 5:00, anchor down 5:25 behind a small mud island that separates us from the main channel.  Omeals beef with lentils, a self-heating meal, at the end of a long, rich day on the water.


1 comment:

Tom said...

What an adventure, thanks for sharing!