Monday, 18 June 2012

No 19 Charleston, South Carolina

Hi from Clare,                                                                                    Sunday 17th June 2012

Before leaving the rainy Abacos we met up with our cruising buddies on Yindee Plus, Matador and Innamorata. On Saturday Sue,Chris and their twin sons Wilf and Syd (Yindee Plus) hosted afternoon tea which gave everyone a chance to catch up on each other's news and make plans to travel north together. On Sunday we went for a very relaxing dive with Steph and Stu from Matador. The water was 29 degrees and the coral and fish life were gorgeous. I guess this will be our last dive for a while.

We left the Abacos Monday lunchtime for the 500 mile sail to Beaufort, North Carolina. The weather was showing four days of southerly winds to carry us up the coast. However this was cutting it a bit fine as there was a low forming south of the Abacos (which we didn't want to stick around for) and a low pressure system up near Beaufort which we hoped would blow out to sea before our arrival. Plan B was to head for Charleston South Carolina if the weather didn't cooperate.

We were lucky; we enjoyed good sailing and managed to get into Charleston before the weather turned sour and the wind blew from the north. Coming into Charleston we had black storm clouds and lightning both north and south of us. However we traveled along a corridor of light and clear sky leading straight into Charleston. It reminded us of the Biblical paintings of the parting of the Sea of Galilee; we were very glad of it.
Dramatic skies on our arrival,             An old Charleston home

Charleston is a fascinating place steeped in history from the War of Independence, the slave trade and the consequent fabulous wealth generated from large cotton and rice plantations before slavery was abolished and the Civil war. It has also been devastated by fire, earthquakes and hurricanes and yet proud Charlestonians have tediously repaired and preserved many fine buildings and historic homes some dating back to the mid 1700's.
Homes leaning together,                    Free trolley buses

This is our fourth day in Charleston and we are enjoying glorious sunshine and no rain. It has been a pleasure to walk into town along tree lined streets before hopping on one of the free trolley buses which run around the city (we pick a different street each day). Our first stop was the tourist information centre and then on to the Charleston Museum where amongst other things we learnt a great deal about the two major wars. We intend visiting at least two historic homes and a working plantation which has been in operation since the late 1600s. We will also visit the Maritime Museum and the old Slave Market. But more on this in our next newsletter with photos.

Most of the lovely old homes have large verandahs as the summer months in Charleston are really hot. The verandahs are accessed through a solid door similar to the front door. This is for added security as back in the days before air conditioning whole families used to sleep on the verandah. Once we knew this and took particular notice we saw that most verandahs have this very practical feature.

Perhaps not quite so practical is "The Smoking Shop". This is where a person can go to make his/her own cigar and then sit there and smoke it. We saw or should I say we smelt it on the way home from dinner the other night - quite an extraordinary sight in this day and age!
The Smoking Shop,                       A typical secure verandah

We are anchored in the harbour outside the Charleston City Marina. This is twenty miles inland and we are enjoying not having to keep a close eye on the weather. We are with our sailing buddies mentioned above plus Kate and Kurt on Interlude and Deb and John the new owners of Moon Shadow. Since arriving we have been out for dinner twice, this evening we are having a pot luck dinner on the dock beside Interlude and yesterday we had breakfast out with ex cruising friends from Marmaris, Turkey, Renel, Neil, and their boys Emile (10 yrs) and Peter(7 yrs) from 'Tiger'. They have recently completed a five year sailing trip and have settled in Charleston so the boys can attend a formal school. Yesterday Neil drove some of the guys around to purchase boat supplies and Neil and family will be attending the pot luck dinner tonight. As you can imagine it is unsettling for them to have their ex sailing buddies in town. They wish they could still be one of us but I think they have chosen an excellent town to settle into.
The Tiger crew                        Dining with Moonshadow, Interlude and Matador

In between sight seeing and socializing we have been tackling the never ending list of boat chores. I am delighted to air the boat and hang damp things out in the sun. I have emptied all the cupboards and wiped them out with a weak solution of bleach to combat mold. This is something we never encountered in the Med. I guess it's a small price to pay for seeing the world.

We will be here for a few more days sightseeing and generally enjoying ourselves. Conditions will be fairly mild by then and so we will continue north.

Love Candy xx

At 11:19 AM17/06/2012 (utc) our position was 32°46.50'N 079°57.12'W

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