This morning an early and vigorous SW’ly breeze brought slack water a bit early, and we left the Beaufort Downtown Marina at 0925 making a beeline for the swing bridge opening at 0930. We are starting to get used to turning this 45 feet of boat through 180 degrees in 55 foot wide channels between lots of expensive boats. Well, not quite used to it. Of course the way the hydro-dynamics work here, north of the bridge the flooding current is coming from St. Helena Sound so we had a foul current pretty much all the day.
Leaving the area we had FA-18s shooting touch & goes at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort all the way up to the Coosaw River (
1). Talk about loud. Shortly thereafter as we entered the Coosaw just beyond Brickyard Point, we encountered the tow ( 2) in the pictures. One can see from the radar shot ( 3), this was a loooong tow – over 3/16 mile on the screen and this doesn’t count the 300 feet of floating dredge pipe trailing behind and downwind. (Each range ring is separated by 1/8 mile in this view.) The small stub off the right side of the tow on the radar is the small work boat that was pulling the back of the tow up into the wind to keep them lined up with the channel.
Once we were passed him, we set sail and were able to beam reach along for about 90 minutes. With 18 knots of wind gusting behind the beam, we were able to better our speed under power – occasionally. Still it was very nice to be able to glide along in the quiet. Out of the Coosaw we headed for the Ashepoo River via the dredge cuts provided for the purpose. There, we anchored pretty much where we had on Dec 14th on the way down. This time the weather was quite a bit friendlier. Everything including the salt grass is so much greener now. Spent a lot of time with the bird identification book. Near dinner time the bridge crane we had seen heading south past the marina came north through the channel 1.5 miles south of us. With just the tops of the yellow crane booms visible over the marsh grass it looked a bit like giraffes loping along.