26. On the Road Again

When I were a lad, I used to carry around a brochure for the Nordhavn 46. I would stare at that brochure whenever I had an empty moment. I would dream about owning one, what I would call her, what color and layout I’d pick, and all of the places we would go. I wanted one like normal kids wanted Lamborghinis or girlfriends. That’s just the kind of nerd I was/am.

Up to that point, I’d never been aboard one, and had only ever seen one in person, but it was on blocks for winter storage. So when I pulled into Charleston Harbor, I immediately picked out the N46 that was moored down the dock from me. I decided that I would introduce myself and be friends with whoever I found, even if they were jerks.

Her skipper beat me to the punch, and was on my dock inviting me to happy hour before I knew it. I’m happy to report that not only are they not jerks, they’re thoroughly lovely people who also happen to be newly converted full time liveaboard cruisers. We had several pleasant encounters throughout our stay, and eventually discovered that we were both planning on leaving town on the same day, and in the same direction. So the convoy of two was formed.

We timed our departure for slack water, which was shortly after sunrise. There was some patchy fog around, but it soon burned off and gave way to a beautiful sunny day. We caught more fair currents than not, and we made good progress. They were making a fraction of a knot more than I was, and ever so slowly pulled ahead throughout the day. By the time we reached Georgetown, they were about twenty minutes ahead of me, which gave them time to get secured before I rolled in.

The wind had been picking up later in the day, and was blowing off the dock when I arrived. I made a bit of a horse’s ass of the tie up. There wasn’t a lot of wind, but it was blowing in a very unhelpful direction. It took several attempts from several directions, and in the end I was only able to get alongside because a schadenfraudience had formed to watch me screw up, and they kindly offered to catch me. This allowed me to use the ‘pointy end first, ram it in hard and fast’ method. The result was only some minor injuries, and my insurance will cover most of the damage. We should all be back on the water just in time for the 2023 season. This marks the end of the blog until then.

Just kidding, it went fine.

Milo, the ferocious dogbeast of Georgetown.

There was a restaurant in town that I’d wanted to try last time I was there, but never managed to get around to it. I succeeded this time, but with whispers of something called the Corona Virus starting to waft around, I felt a bit weird about being there. I was happy to be leaving money in town, but wasn’t sure if it was okay to be out. There were lots of other patrons, which was both comforting and disconcerting. Anyway the food was good, and I haven’t died yet, which is nice.

I ducked out of Georgetown the next morning, and laid in a course for to North Myrtle Beach. The Nordhavn gang would be sticking around in Georgetown for a couple of days, so I was a parade of one again. There was a bit of morning fog, but otherwise the weather was lovely. The cruise was pleasant and uneventful, with a few exceptions. The Socastee bridge was out of service when I arrived and I had to tread water for about an hour while they made repairs. That gave me enough time for a conference call with some work colleagues regarding the impending Covid crisis. Things certainly seemed to be escalating quickly in that department.

After the bridge, I found myself playing tag with a couple of crew boats that were skulling up the river. They were going three wide with their coach boat, and taking up the lion’s share of the channel. Since I’m so slow, and they’re apparently pretty fast, they were mostly staying out in front of me. They’d occasionally slow down, I’d catch up, and then they’d take off again. It was like chasing a bird down the sidewalk. They see you, get spooked and fly off in the same direction you’re going, only to be just as surprised and alarmed when you turn up again forty five seconds later.

After a few awkward encounters like that, it looked like they were moving over to let me pass, so I started working my way over to one side of the channel. That’s when I hit what I assume it was a fallen tree across the river. I never saw what it was, but it sure felt and sounded solid, and it bumped along the keel far more times than I’d have cared for. It was the most alarming series of bumps I’ve felt yet, and I could actually feel the boat riding up over it, which was a deeply unpleasant sensation. I was never more glad to have a deep, sturdy keel, and protected running gear. From what I can tell, no damage was done, except to my underpants.

A short time later, I found myself back at Barefoot Landing. I’d planned to stay just for one night, just like the last time I was there. I ended up staying for three nights, just like the last time I was there. This time it was due to the Little River swing bridge being broken down. There were several other boats there waiting for the bridge, and over the course of my stay, the latest rumors of it’s next opening were always hot dockside gossip.

I laid low for most of those three days. The virus situation was really blowing up by then, and It was becoming clear that it was important to stay home whenever possible, so I did. I played video games, called some friends, and gave the boat a scrub.

I did meet one new friend though. A friendly local by the name of Cliff came down to visit. Turns out he had been following my travels, and enjoying the blog. (Hi Cliff!) We had a nice chat from a safe distance, and I was glad of the company.

That night, to continue the theme of staying inside playing video games and being antisocial, I decided to order a pizza. I’d been told that the marina restaurant had decent pizza, but I’d already eaten there several times, and didn’t feel like going back that night. I ordered Domino’s for a delivery, and left instructions for the driver to drop the pie at the marina BEHIND the restaurant, and not to go TO the restaurant. Well, as I was standing by the road waiting, I heard the owner of the restaurant asking people if they’d ordered a pizza. What I should have done at this point was ignore him and quietly walk back to the boat empty handed. What I did do was say ‘Oh… that’s me.’

What happened next, was that I was escorted by the owner, who was most likely worried about the future of his business in these uncertain times, across the patio of his restaurant, which was open, full of patrons, and actively serving pizza of it’s own, to where the nitwit delivery driver was standing with my pizza. Several liquored up members of the crowd then proceeded to heckle me for ordering Domino’s to a restaurant that serves pizza, which is what I was specifically trying not to do.

The manager Hag shouted across the space, loudly enough for everyone to hear, with venom in her voice: ‘Y’KNOW! WE SERVE PIZZA HERE!’

‘YEP, I KNOW.’ I shouted back

‘WELL APPARENTLY YOU DON’T! she spat back.

I decided that the odds of my being able to explain why I wasn’t an asshole to this particular group of assholes were small, so I took my shame pizza and left. I will never return to that restaurant. I hope that’s what they were trying to accomplish.

On the plus side, now feeling that other people were seriously overrated, it got a little easier to quarantine myself.

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