Arrive at the Wappoo Cut boat ramp under cover of darkness, 5:00 a.m. Not surprisingly I'm the only one there. I have never rigged in darkness before so I take my time, check and double check each piece of rigging, then slowly load SPARTINA with bits of gear from the back of my jeep. Back down the ramp at 6:00 a.m., the hum of rush hour traffic building as the morning goes on. Outgoing tide, surprisingly strong but it is a good ramp and easy launch.
I move SPARTINA to the outside of the dock so it won't block anyone wanting to launch, then drive off to the storage place to leave my jeep and trailer. Friend Pete drops by the boat, he texts me and we must have missed each other by minutes. Back at the dock before 7:45 and I've time on my hands. Low tides is about 8:25 and I wait on that, talk with some fisherman and enjoy a beautiful morning.
Cast off 8:20, tide approaching slack with a light southwest wind. Mizzen up and under power for Elliott Cut. We make an easy passage at 8:40, calm with swirling eddies as the tide fades, a shore of rip rap port at starboard.
Leave the cut and enter the Stono River at 8:45, full sail at 8:50. Light winds at 9:00, 1.1 and still working against the outgoing tide. Steak and eggs for breakfast, a Buffalo bar and peanut butter Rx bar. Making 3.4 as the wind fills in, skirting the edge of the channel. A cormorant pops out of the water with a fish in its beak and scrambles away. 4.2 in a puff and I begin to feel the incoming tide at 9:50.
10:40 making 3.9, tacking with Johns Island to port, the tide helping as wind comes and goes. It's a narrow winding channel but the wind seems to adjust to help us on our way. 11:30 lots of small boat traffic from a ramp under a bridge. 11:45 passing Rantowles Creek and the channel gets narrower. The tide is still coming in, but now from the Wadmalaw River to the south so the tide is heading us. ICW channel markers don't seem to match the Navionics app on my mini-Ipad, a lot of tacking to avoid the shallows.
12:55 main and jib down with the tide and a gusty wind both on our now, no room to tack. 2:15 at green marker "11" raise the jib and fall off the wind into beautiful Church Creek with an eagle flying along the trees along shore to the south.
I could sail a few more miles but I'm tired from the early start. Anchor down in nine feet of water.
Beef stroganoff for dinner, a tradition for the first night out. 18.59 NM