Charleston was the original destination for this trip. Most everyone I spoke to about Charleston said something to the effect of…”Oh, what a great city, it’s a good walking town, fabulous history, very cosmopolitan, you’ll love it, and they even have a french quarter”. I figured I’d spend the winter in Charleston…should be warmer than Martha’s Vineyard at least. When we arrived, I nostalgically put my sail covers on one last time and sadly wrote in the logbook, “1310: Trips over, anchored in Charleston with 120′ of chain in 25′ of water, M.E. secure @ 1174 hrs”.
The best thing I found in Charleston was the candy shop with free praline & candied-pecan samples. We stopped by there everyday for a free snack. We also got a free carriage ride, and free pizza lunch by suffering through a presentation about Festiva Vacations… 3 hrs later, they gave us vouchers for $130 worth of food and carriage rides. Eh, not bad.
We spent a week getting a feel for our new home, applying for a few jobs, seeing an old high school pal, and taking in the sights. But, it became clear, Charleston wasn’t the place to spend a winter. After coming all this way, I realized, Charleston is just too cold and there’s no work. Winter is the ‘slow season’, just like Martha’s Vineyard. Clearly, we hadn’t gone far enough south.
We did however, have a fantastic time with our friends Chad and Nicole aboard Sabbatical, and Maxwell and Jen aboard Anastasia. We all celebrated Thanksgiving aboard Anastasia, a Baba 35. We enjoyed a wonderful meal to which we all brought something, and felt the warmth of family so far from home this time.
Seven days after we arrived, with a good weather window, fuel and water tanks pressed up, we passed Fort Sumter again, this time bound for sea. The winds were perfect, 15 kts from the NE, but I needed a little help fetching the southern breakwater. I went to fire up the Main Engine, it barely turned over, as if the battery was dead. Then suddenly I smelled that unmistakable smell of “burning electricity”. The smoke followed. Then, after I stopped pushing the start button, the engine kept trying to start. It would slowly turn over. I even removed the key from the ignition, but still, that starter, down on it’s knees, bleeding, kept trying to get that engine running. It was freaking me out actually…like the ghost of Yanmar’s Past. A few rotations later, it breathed its final breath and the pathetic cranking ceased.
There I was being set onto the breakwater without an engine, bound for sea to make the overnight passage to Florida. Without much thought, I tacked round and headed back to Charleston reluctantly. Past Ft. Sumter again. Soon the wind petered-out of course, and I was faced with the decision to either anchor and wait for the favorable current to carry me back in or get a tow from Daphne. I took a tow.
Re-anchored in the swift current of Ashley River near our newest friends aboard an AWESOME wooden replica of Joshua Sluocum’s Spray, Starbound, we began “Charleston Part II”.