Charleston, South Carolina, USA

12 - 16th June 2004

When we finally revived ourselves, we were invited to spend a fun evening aboard Pegasus, in the nearby marina, with Mark, Jane and Mark's mother Jane.    We some of the tuna we'd caught on the way to Charleston.    When we headed back to Anju in the anchorage, we found quite a swell, with the wind and tide opposing each other and getting back aboard was quite perilous.    

Next day we'd planned to see the sights of Charleston and took our bikes over to the marina in preparation.   However the wind blew strongly all afternoon and it poured with rain, so we stayed aboard instead.    Late in the afternoon we noticed one of our neighbouring boats was dragging on its mooring towards the highway bridge just behind us.   We weren't sure it would pass underneath the bridge safely if it kept on dragging, so we called up the Coastguard on the VHF.   In  just a couple of minutes, the Coastguard Auxiliary were there to save the boat from crashing into the bridge.    We were happy we hadn't stopped in Beaufort, SC, slightly further south, where they were experiencing tornados that day.


The Coastguard rescuing our neighbouring boat.


Next day the weather was still very overcast but we decided to head out and tour Charleston on our bikes, regardless.   It was handy having our friends in the marina, as they allowed us to tie our dinghy to their boat and leave the bikes nearby.   They even took us on the marina courtesy bus as their guests and snook us into the laundry!   

Charleston was a very stylish, old town with beautiful houses.   A strange feature on the houses was that they all seemed to be built sideways on to the road, so the verandahs and balconies didn't face the sea.  We met a local Professor, John Hayes, who filled us in on some of Charleston's history and suggested places to visit and a good spot to take photos. 

The waterfront park was very well kept and had several interesting features, including swing benches on the pier and an tunnel maze made entirely of grass.    It was a great place to cycle, the traffic wasn't too frightening and we visited the city's library, which would be better described as a palace for books, with free internet access and printing.  


One of the classy sideways homes of Charleston.


In the evening we joined up with Mark and the two Janes for cocktails in a rooftop bar and dinner in a nearby restaurant, which made a nice change for us and was a good way to celebrate the anniversary of Phil's retirement (wow 3 years already!).

Wonder if we could fit one of these on board?

Will we ever see him again?

Hectic Downtown Charleston.

"Are you sure that's the spot the Professor suggested?"

After a few days in Charleston, we planned to head up the ICW in company with Pegasus.   We'd arranged to meet them on the fuel dock at 8 am, as we both needed fuel and then to head north together.    All we had to do was to take up the anchor and motor over there.  However, when we came to haul up our anchor, something strange was happening.    As we lifted the chain, the anchor suddenly appeared below the bowsprit, completely entangled in our own chain, a ten foot piece of metal pipe and a long rubber hose.   There was still thirty metres of chain in the water wrapped around something extremely heavy.  It was a real mess.    Evidently when the strong wind and current had opposed one another and Anju had sailed back and forth on her anchor chain, it was not only disconcerting for those aboard but she was also tangling the anchor chain around anything in her path.    

We managed to motor slowly to the fuel dock, the anchor, chain and whatever else was attached trailing in the water.   Luckily we didn't become entangled in anything else on the way!    Once safely tied up on the fuel dock, we began to work out how to free ourselves.     With the help of a passing Englishman, Graham, who happened to have a house in Ebbw Vale (small world), we spent two hours in the pouring rain slowly unraveling everything.   First we had to support the weight of the anchor on ropes, so we could untangle the chain wrapped around it and drop it into the dinghy.   That took around an hour.    Once the anchor was off we began to slowly pull up the chain until we could see what we'd hooked.     Once it emerged from the water, we could see that our chain had wrapped around and around a huge piece of steel girder, which somebody must have been using as a mooring.   Again we were pleased that we'd bought the biggest, strongest windlass would could for our boat.   If we hadn't been able to haul the obstruction up out of the water, it would have taken a diver hours and hours in the murky water to free us.     By supporting the weight of the huge lump of steel on ropes we were finally able to untangle the chain and then drop the offending lump of metal back to the bottom of the sea.    Of course then we had to reconnect the anchor to the chain.    

Our friends on Pegasus had left already, as they were on a time schedule.    We still had to fuel up the boat in the pouring rain before we could leave and try and catch them up.     We were completely soaked to the skin as we'd been so absorbed in the anchor problem we hadn't put coats on in the rain.   The weather then took a turn for the worse, so we stayed a little longer on the dock before finally heading out in search of the entrance to the Intracostal Waterway, dressed in swimwear and waterproofs!

What was left after an hour of untangling!

It's a glamorous life - don't let any water in that diesel tank!

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