We had a very quiet evening anchored on the Stono River. We were up at 6:00 AM and ready to get underway by 7:00 AM. Before we get underway each day we go through a regular routine. All fluids in the engine are checked and topped off if needed. The battery levels and water levels are checked, fuel and water in the tanks are noted in the log and the electronics and bilge pumps are checked, as well as noting the engine hours before we fire up the engine. We check the local weather reports and make notes of the expected forecast, which is usually wrong. We also acquire any weatherfax, wind and wave forecasts and reports and whatever else we can get. These we use more than the forecasts to determine when and where we move. It sounds like a lot but it gets done quickly and usually takes us about 1/2 hour. Then we can fire up the engine, haul up the anchor and get under way. Our newly installed wash down system did a fine job of cleaning the anchor rode, chain and anchor.
As it normally does, the current through Elliot's Cut, south of Charleston, is very strong. This morning we had the current with us so it was a fast ride. We always call a Security when entering from either end to be sure no commercial traffic is entering the cut at the same time we are. The cut is very narrow and with the strong currents, maneuvering can be tricky. Not much traffic this morning. It was great not dealing with the bridge opening restrictions and the trip across Charleston Harbor was a quick one since we were riding the ebb tide. Watching the sun come up over the Battery and Fort Sumter is always inspiring.
The rest of the day went without issue, even with the strong side currents along this stretch of the waterway. We did notice a larger than usual number of Dolphins in the waterway. We have done the ICW from the Chesapeake to the Florida Keys at least 10 or 12 times now, so we know what to expect. A southbound trawler near McClellanville warned us of 5 foot spots in the channel, but we never found less than 8 feet and that was only in one spot. We figured he probably strayed out of the channel at some point. So far we have had no depth issues from Beaufort to our current location.
A little after 3:00 PM we reached our destination for the evening, Minim Creek, just south of Winyah Bay. This is a nice little creek that runs on both sides of the ICW and either side can be used as an anchorage. As we dropped the anchor and began to shut things down we noticed the alternator not charging. It had not been acting right all day. The previous owner had shown us a spare alternator they had for the boat so we went about removing the current one and installing the spare. Well, guess what? It did not work. Fortunately we are close to Georgetown and will have to head there in the morning at get the alternator repaired or replaced. Meanwhile we will use the portable Honda Generator and the 110 volt battery charger to keep the batteries up until we get in for repairs. This is all a part of cruising, we just did not expect a problem so soon. But contingencies are always in the back of our mind and the generator and 110 volt battery charger will get us to a place for repairs. In the mean time we will enjoy this fabulous weather for as long as it holds. Stay tuned, we will let you know how things go.