The new alternator arrived a little after 11:30 AM and by 1:00 PM it was installed and checked out just fine. Since it was a newer version of the same unit we had, a few modifications were needed for both the wiring and mounting. One big plus was that the new unit registers the amps it puts out on our battery monitor. For whatever reason, the old unit did not. The service tech came by the boat and was less than friendly about returning the alternator he ordered and not having him install the new one. By 1:20 PM we had readied ourselves and the boat and were shoving off from the dock. The skies were blue, crystal clear, the breeze was up and it was a beautiful day. Much different from the gray skies and drizzle that we had off and on yesterday. It was really good to get under way again. This whole fiasco had been a four day delay, not to mention the additional dockage we had to pay just because someone made a mistake and wouldn't admit it. The old adage is correct, if you want something done right, do it yourself.
As usual, we headed up the Waccamaw River against wind and currents. This made for a bit slower trip, but we made decent time. The Waccamaw River is one of our favorites, at times reminding us of the Rio Dulce in Guatemala and other times reminding us of the Gulf ICW through Texas and Louisiana. No matter what time of year we have passed through, it is always beautiful. The river is wide and deep so staying on the course line is not as important as paying close attention to debris in the water, and there is lots of it. We saw pieces of lumber, floating plants and large trees heading downstream in the current. Many could do some serious damage to the rudder or prop. Our planned anchorage was some 25 plus miles up river. We have a favorite anchoring spot behind a small island just off the waterway, about a mile and half south of Enterprise Landing. There are many side creeks and anchorage spots along the river including just pulling off to one side. The problem in many spots is finding someplace where the water is not too deep. The river depths run from twenty to over forty feet in spots. Many side creeks are twenty and thirty feet deep.
At 6:15 PM we were dropping the anchor behind our little island. There are a few spots that may be difficult to get the anchor to hold. Even with our new Manson Supreme, it took two tries to get it to hold. There is a ten to fifteen foot spot at the south entrance but it is twenty or more feet deep a bit further in. Once the anchor was down and we settled in we could admire just how lovely this spot is. Many times we have shared the anchorage with several boats, but this time we were all alone except for a couple of water skiers that stayed around until almost sunset. Then we really had it all to ourselves. We could only hope for a peaceful evening.
And that is exactly what we had. We were up at 6:00 AM and after breakfast and our normal preparations, covering the check list in our log, including checking all engine fluids, the anchor was up at 7:00 AM and we were under way again. The morning was cloudy and the river had a light fog with about 3/4 mile visibility. As we headed out we saw a sailboat that had shared our anchorage just around the corner of the island, out of our sight. Another sailboat had anchored just up river about a mile. Both were also getting under way but heading south. It seems we are always going in the wrong direction.
The two bridges we would have to have open for us today, the Socastee and Little River Swing Bridge, would both open on demand so no bridge restrictions would slow us down. For the first hour or two we had the currents with us and made good time. But then it eventually turned and slowed us down considerably unless we wanted to power up the engine and burn lots of fuel. We opted to take our time and conserve.
We called ahead to Coquina Yacht Club, a marina we frequently use, and reserved a spot. We were only about three miles away. Just as we turned off the channel into the Marina basin the sky opened up and the rains came. And of course as soon as we were tied up at the dock it quit. The distance traveled was a whopping 30 miles from our anchorage. We will spend the night here as we watch the thunderstorms rumble off in the distance and see the rains move in from offshore. At least we have access to the internet and the AC running to knock down the humidity. This is the first day of fall but temps are in the upper 80's and the air is very tropical.