Since we don’t know when we’ll be on a dock again, we decide to provision a bit. Nothing huge, just grabbing some of the stuff we’ve run out of. We Uber again, and again, it’s a very positive experience. We quickly put the stuff away, and walk to one of the amazing ice cream shops a few blocks away before heading back down the river.
We go back down the Cape Fear River without much drama. We stay the night in the anchorage we had found previously and head back to the west to Little River.
There is a 20+ knot wind and the seas are 4-7’. Kelly isn’t happy (yea, I wasn’t), but I had convinced her it would be fine once we got out into the ocean. I was wrong. (yes, he was) It really isn’t any better. The worst part though is getting out the inlet. Just as we approach the narrowest part, a huge freighter is coming in from the other side. I am a little nervous and call the freighter on the radio. He states that as long as I hug the green side, we can both fit. I’m fairly concerned as we go though the narrows with 6’ seas and a huge freighter so big and close that it blocks out the sun, but after that short excitement, the rest of the sail is easy right up to the inlet at Little River.
As we approach the inlet, the waves have grown to 8’. It is fun, if not nerve wracking, surfing a 47’ boat into a narrow channel. From our previous stay here, I know that I have to stick close to the sea wall, or end up hitting the bottom. The question I have to wrestle with is just how close to the rock sea wall I should get knowing that if I catch one wave wrong, it will grab the back of the boat and spin us into the rocks. I have the boat in full power trying to keep steerage while we surf the face of the waves and then slide down the back side. Luckily my skill, and a lot of help from the man upstairs, we make it through the inlet and back to the anchorage.
We sure do love Little River. This spot near the inlet has something to offer everyone in the crew: Eric has the wind & waves, I have the beach, and the kids have their beach combing & boogie boarding in the surf. It’s perfect. We hang here and wait for a weather window to head South, cause it’s getting cold. In fact, since the cold front came through, it’s downright frigid. Freezing temps and cruising aren’t a good combination.
The good wind that propelled us to Little River brought with it some cold. I went surfing and for the first time need my shorty wet suit. The day starts at 49 degrees and doesn’t climb above 60. At this point the family determines that we should head South.
We sail to the inlet for Georgetown and, little did we know, are too late and the cold is coming. From the inlet to Georgetown is 10 miles up another river. The town is small and inviting. We wander around and have a great time, however, after a few hours of seeing the town, we’ve seen all of it. The entire commercial area is about 10 by 2 blocks. A real wind is whipping up from the west and we decide to take advantage and sail south.
We wake up to a brisk 35 degree morning. The wind is still up near 20 knots and the sail is going to be great, however, I am the only one of that opinion. Kelly and the girls are on some kind of temperature shut down and it takes a significant amount of effort to get them to come up and pull the anchor. We have not packed for the cold weather. I have one pair of jeans and several tee shirts under my fowl weather jacket. My daughters come up in 4 layers of sleeping attire and Kelly is sporting both pairs of pants that she brought and 4 to 6 layers of long and short sleeve t-shirts. We successfully bring up the anchor and all the girls go inside not to be seen again until we get to Charleston some 8 hours later. (Unfortunately that’s true, but it was so darn cold!)
Once I am out of the inlet I have to rely on the autopilot to assist me in getting the sails up as it was made quite clear that I would be getting no help from the family until temperatures became “reasonable”. There is also some talk of mutiny and cars, but I will have none of that on my ship. The sail down to Charleston is quite good save for the bitter cold that has me shaking at the helm the entire way. I think shaking in cold is a good way to burn calories; at least that’s what I tell myself.
We get to Charleston just in time for Halloween. We have yet to meet another kid boat, so we’re unsure if any of the cruisers anchored here will be participating in the festivities. I send Eric out into the anchorage to see who is willing to participate in trick-or-treating. To those, he provides little bags of candy so they’ll have some to give to the girls. The girls dress up in their costumes and have a great experience dingying around the anchorage. Some cruisers invite us aboard, other dressed up, and we even see Captain Lee again! The girls had a ball and we are thankful to those who helped make this an experience to remember.
Charleston is an outstanding city and we enjoyed it the first time we were here. At this point Kelly had to travel up to RI to get some paperwork done, so the girls and I are left without supervision.
This is the first time I’ve traveled alone in ten years! Even though this is a quick business trip, I’m soaking up all the family and fun that I can. My Dad and I do a lot of chatting and stay up way passed our bedtimes. The Kessons have a great impromptu night out to catch up. My visit goes by too quickly, but I know that heading back means that we can head to warmer weather.
Another of the great coincidences is that my brother’s in-laws live in Charleston. We are able to visit them a couple of days and get some great food and conversation and have an awesome time. (Yes, and thank you for getting me to and from the airport. Love you guys!) Once Kelly returns from RI it is time to continue heading South. The weather isn’t freezing, but is still a little on the cold side. Thanksgiving is about a week and half away and we are hoping to be in Florida.