On a chart, or on a map, borders look like lines. Fine lines that depict boundaries and “distinct” places. For some period of time, most days, I am looking at charts and then, I am looking up. Back and forth between the lines and the world. Throughout this process I get to observe from a place of neutrality and play a kind of discernment game as we travel. I look for things that make one side of the line observably different or unique; for signs that the lines demarcate something noticeable. Simultaneously, every place has energy so there are the nuanced frequencies, vibes if you will, for places we pass through and inhabit. Imagine a map where you see the border lines, the outlines of the towns, the rivers, creeks, waterways, roads, mountains, and bays. Now, imagine you can take a translucent page, where colors overlay the map and depending on the local energy; the chart or map gets a shade of this color or a shade of that color, all representing a myriad of frequencies. I am not sure if was born with a soul contract to a certain place however; I believe it is more likely that I was born with a soul contract to resonate at a certain octave, and those places light up the colors over the map, for me.
South Carolina has a vibe and an energy that is familiar to me now. Here begins the landscape and ecosystem of the low country. This is the third time I have traveled through the Intra Coastal Waterway (ICW) of South Carolina. On the chart, it does appear that when folks sat down to draw that border line, they said, “shallow sounds and big rivers to the north and all low country grasses, creeks and marshes to the south”. Very nice state. Pretty high and bright octave.
Night one in South Carolina: Calabash Creek. This is the third time we have anchored in this creek. It sits at the crossroads of North and South Carolina, as well as a significant ocean inlet at LIttle River and the ICW. This time, we had to anchor twice due a strong current there. Once our chain was fully extended, we were just a little too close to the channel for comfort, as there are many tour boats and fishing boats that leave Calabash for the ocean and pass by there. In other words, their wake will rock the boat, regardless of where you anchor, so farther off the channel is better (and safer).
The first city along the ICW in South Carolina is Myrtle Beach. It is miles of slow and no wake zones. It is densely populated. On a Sunday morning, this means there will be a lot of traffic on the water. Therefore, we decided to leave the creek at sunrise to try and avoid a slow freeway experience on the water. Myrtle Beach appears to be a place for land lovers.
South of Myrtle Beach, the ICW joins the Wachesaw River. The river introduces fresh water to the salt water until it is more fresh than brackish. This is a wide and lush river where the trees grow right up to the shore. You can see remnants of old docks and camps in remote places, Eagles and alligators hunt the fresh water areas. You could be anywhere in the world. Green on green and blue and gray. I really like everything about it, especially how you can often see and hear the ocean shore just beyond the low country grass line.
We spent four nights in the heart of the river, right on the ICW at the Wacca Wachee Marina at Mullins Inlet (north side of Pawleys Island). We had intended to stay two nights however; there were four days and nights of 100 degree weather and high humidity and we needed to remain plugged in for AC. It’s not good for a boat to get moisture inside it. The best air for a boat comes from sunshine and a breeze from the bow to the stern blowing freely through her. In the absence of that, AC is an ok remedy.
Turns out that four nights is a good amount of time to accomplish things. The heat does beg you to slow down and choose pace over total number of things completed. At any rate, here is a partial inventory of things we did when we weren’t laying low or melting:
- We washed the salt off of IRENE and gave her decks a good scrub and the windows received the squeegee treatment.
- We took the dingy down and cleaned the hull and scrubbed IRENE’s water line. This was serious work takes a lot of collaboration. IRENE is long and wide, AND she is tall. The deck to the waterline is at least 12 feet.
- While we were doing the waterline we also sprayed all the places on the stainless where there was a hint of rust. Rinsed that all down later.
- We filled our water tanks.
- We did laundry, ate at the cute restaurant there and had an instacart delivery.
- Rested. Wrote. Read. Watched tennis. Cooked some good food and had a near ton of fresh fruit.
- Met some really nice people at the marina and a gem of a human at the laundry who gave me a ride across a busy intersection to a nail salon. Maybe they didn’t build sidewalks there so that people could meet their neighbors? I don’t know, but it was so nice to get a ride on hot day from a person who shined the same lovely and bright colors as the low country.
On the fifth day, we moved. Our destination was to leave the river, cross Wynea Bay to the ICW as it passes through the Cape Romain National Preserve. It is an extraordinary place. This is the place that dolphins and egrets go to relax. On this particular day, we stopped after only 20 miles at the South Santee River and anchor at the first significant creek, Minim Creek, on the east side of the river. The wind was howling out of the east, but our anchor held fine and dolphins circled IRENE repeatedly to say hello and to welcome us. There were a lot of local fishermen as well, who for the most part, kept their distance and didn’t wake us too badly. The wind was spectacular for sleeping and we woke to a light rain and fog. It was also the first day of duck hunting in SC. Put that all together and we were happy to be back underway early.
Early mornings in the low country are spectacular and we were buoyed by the colors, the waves, the wind at our backs, and the rising tide. We made our way to a place we had never been before, Graham Creek. This is a deep creek all the way up to where it bends towards the ocean. Low country grasses and sparse trees block the waves from the ocean and from the ICW, so you get to see the creak opening to one side, the ocean to the other. You can feel the ocean winds, and you hear the ocean crashing, all in the absence of the boat rocking. We anchored in the middle of the creek, just before the bend, in 10 feet of water at mid tide. Everything was lovely until the wind died. It became too hot to be comfortable and rain was on the horizon. And did it ever rain! It was the heaviest rain David and I have ever experienced, including during hurricanes. We laid down and listened to the rain on the roof in a kind of disbelief that the clouds could hold that much water. After the rain, there was no wind, just humidity. OH- and a Kingfisher. He perched right on IRENE’s Bimini and sat majestically, for a long while. I have never been so close to a Kingfisher. For those few minutes, the heat was bearable.
From Graham Creek we headed to the Isle of Palms Marina on Isle of Palms, right on the ICW. It was a beautiful cruise however; once there, I had to come to the dock two times as the tide was going out and the current was stronger than visible or imagined. You know the expression about landing a plane is like a controlled crash? Heading a 25,000 pound boat at a dock at 4 knots with the wind behind you and current on your beam is kind of like that until you stop going forward, which hopefully, is with your boat parallel at the dock. In this situation, I do positive self talk like an athlete and remind myself that “practice makes progress”. At any rate, the second time was the charm.
Isle of Palms was a beautiful stop for two days. We had a spot at the end of the dock, facing the ICW. From there we were able to watch boats, ferries, fisherman, kayakers, sunrises, and crows. Crows! I feel like it had been a long while since I have communed with the Crows. On this day, I was walking down the dock and the crows were landing above me; circling and landing. I stopped to observe them and in turn, they stopped to observe me. We watched each other. Like dolphins, Crows are telepathic. On this day, as we were preparing to depart again, they were asking me to take a higher perspective. I definitely appreciated their communication as I was feeling a little “blah” about preparing to move. They reminded me, in the most beautiful way, to embrace the transitions. Sometimes I forget this. Also, I appreciate that the crows found me interesting enough to be curious about and engaged in staring at me for a bit. One even allowed me to take his picture before I walked on.
Our next stop, Charleston. 10 miles from Isle of Palms to the Cooper River Marina on the north east side of Charleston. That will be IRENE’s home base for the next month, before we begin heading souther again. David and I will spend a few nights one the boat, at the marina, before moving into the room over the garage at (son) Jay’s house in Mount Pleasant. As always, sending up hopeful prayers for a continued low activity hurricane season and another month filled with love.
Have a blessed month~~~