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  • Katharine Hesmer

DAY THREE | December 16, 2021

Updated: Jan 7, 2022

Butler Island, SC to Charleston, SC

Today we adjusted our departure time from 5:00 to 6:00 am which worked out a LOT better in the being-able-to-see-where-we're-going department. What a concept! And actually seeing the South Carolina low country is a necessity if you haven't already. It's truly breathtaking.

Skeet sets his alarm every morning and is up and ready to go so he can help his dad with navigation and anything else he needs. That's Skeet and Ron on the bow in the first picture, talking about anchors or windlasses or who knows what exactly. Knowing Skeet they're probably discussing map coordinates, wind direction, or tide. Skeet usually sleeps until noon if he's not in school or at work, so willingly setting his alarm for the crack of dawn is a pretty significant indicator of how excited he is about this trip. He pays close attention to which instruments Ron turns on on the panel to start the day (things like navigation lights, radar, autopilot etc). There's an entire panel that basically controls the boat as far as powering whatever we are using at the time. It's like the circuit panel breaker in your home.

For example, we would only turn on the stove when we need to use it. Otherwise it draws too much battery power and we won't be able to run multiple things simultaneously. Things like the refrigerator obviously stay on all the time, and run on battery power. We have a generator that runs on diesel but we only use that if it's necessary. If we need to run the AC at some point in the next few weeks, that would definitely require the generator. (Yes, we have AC!! I can't believe it either!)

At 7:30, I risked what little is left of my self respect and decided to participate in a live online exercise class .... on the bow. 😳 (For anyone out there who is or was a David Letterman fan, that sweatshirt is a relic and I'm shocked it hasn't disintegrated. It's from the days of the Late Show, which preceded Late Night, which is about the time that dinosaurs roamed the earth.)

I figured I looked completely ridiculous to anyone unlucky enough to see me, and I did, but the boat traffic has been so light, especially early in the morning, that I thought it was worse to let the blood continue to pool in my legs from inactivity. This class has saved my sanity since our gyms initially closed in Wilmington in March of 2020 due to the pandemic, and it has also surprised me how much I love the online format. I really didn't think I would. But it is so convenient to roll out of bed and show up 5 minutes before my class and log in. No traffic to fight, and you still get the social interaction of the group and the motivation of our amazing instructor Fonda Dickens, who's a personal trainer. It's called Fonda Interactive Training (F.I.T.), and if you're the least bit tempted by this idea, I encourage you to try it. Fonda is amazing, and tailors the workouts to not only work every muscle group, but also to make the exercise intensity appropriate for any fitness level. The biggest bonus of all is being able to opt out of turning on your video if you prefer. How many gyms let you HIDE during a workout, and how many of us would rather HIDE?!? But then again, you could also be a fool like me and jump around on the bow of a boat. 🙄 After looking at the weather conditions and tide, Ron and Skeet decided we'd be fighting the tide all day long if we stayed in the ICW, slowing us down significantly, so they opted to head "outside" which just means traveling in the ocean. It's much easier to navigate because you obviously don't have to avoid crab pots or channel markers, but it's also a bit of a gamble because you aren't sure how rough it'll be until you make the commitment to go out. Based on the light winds, we felt like the conditions would be ok, but it turned out to be a pretty long and roll-y day on the ocean after all. 🤢

We get spoiled in the waterway because it's consistently flat and calm. For example, when we sleep at night, it is literally no different than being in bed at home. Perfectly still. The only "bumps" we encounter along the way are from other boats passing by, and as I said, there just hasn't been that much traffic. When the conditions are rough, like they were on this particular passage, you have to really think through what objects in the boat could become projectiles and plan accordingly. But even the best "planning" doesn't always pan out. There's a rack for glassware above the sink for example, and while most of those are plastic for obvious reasons, we DO have a few actual wine glasses. Or did. In anticipation of a rough ride, I had put a smaller cup in front of the glasses in the back row of the rack so they wouldn't tip forward. One tipped forward anyway and crashed into the sink. Whatcha gonna do. 🤷‍♀️

Here's what it looks like to make coffee when your boat is listing from side-to-side. 😳

And here's what it looks like when your dog is wondering what the HECK is going on with all of this turbulence. Steve is super easy going, but he did NOT like all of that rolling around.

It made him a little clingier than usual . . . and the "usual" is . . . pretty darn clingy. We stayed upstairs on the fly bridge for the majority of the ride. Thank goodness the weather made that an option. Being inside was just too — bleh.

Our reward for enduring several hours of urp-inducing conditions in the ocean was finally coming into Charleston Harbor. It was gorgeous. We saw shrimp boats and tug boats, as well as a pilot boat for an incoming container ship. These gigantic ships have come from all over the world, and don't know the intricacies of various United States ports, so each port has designated "pilots" that go out to the container ships to deliver a temporary substitute captain who then pilots the ship into the port. Pretty interesting. I had heard a number of heavy foreign accents on the VHF radio as we approached Charleston (all boats, ships, and the Coast Guard monitor channel 16), so this made perfect sense.

The conditions finally started to calm down and Steve was happy to return to some semblance of our new normal. His favorite thing to do on this trip so far is to keep watch for dolphins. The craziest thing is that he smells them about 5 minutes before we ever see one.

Seeing Fort Sumter and The Battery from the water was a special treat. I couldn't believe we weren't going to stop and take it all in (and get a delicious hot meal at a nice restaurant — let's be real), but it's all about making as much headway as we can, and I get it. But what I DIDN'T get was . . . a delicious hot meal at a nice restaurant. 😑

Spent the night anchored just south of . . . all those great restaurants. Bet they'd love hearing about my vacuum sealer. Maybe next time.

11 hours underway; 78 nautical miles traveled

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Dec 20, 2021

This is soooo fun to read! I’m obsessed. Love the color of those leggings by the way! 😉

Katharine Hesmer
Dec 22, 2021
Replying to

Funky leggings are a must. They keep me motivated - it’s like I fool myself that if my leggings are fun, the workout will be too. 😳 Whatever works I guess! But honestly Fonda does manage to make it fun some how some way … she must if I’ve been following her around like a puppy dog all these years.

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