North along the Waccamaw River in position 33:39.88N, 79:04.27W
We have been passing through one of the most beautiful stretches of the Intracoastal Waterway - the Waccamaw River in South Carolina. This river flows through beautiful woodland, which reaches down to the river's edge both sides where many dead and dying trees are covered by hanging mosses. Eagles fly from one side of the river to the other and nest both in trees and also on top of the red and green buoyage marker posts situated out in the river, where young eaglets (?) could be seen in the nests. As soon as we approached they would start to frantically call for their parents who were probably away gathering up some ghastly live meals to feed them. Along the banks we could see many terrapins basking on rocks. We seemed a million miles from civilization, and felt this area probably hadn't changed in hundreds of years.
Our evening stopover was to be in a small bight of the river, a semicircular loop where the river used to flow but has been by-passed by a more direct stretch. Rather like an open ox-bow lake if I remember correctly from Geography lessons. This is a recommended anchorage on the ICW and was just at the right distance to provide an early halt to the days motoring. Besides it was looking thundery (again) and we didn't fancy motoring along in the pouring rain. At least being surrounded by tall trees we felt a little more secure should the lightening get close.
We arrived and motored round the bend of the bight where another yacht was already anchored, so we obviously wouldn't be alone for the evening. They then made it clear they didn't welcome us being too close to them as the holding wasn't good, it had taken them a long time to anchor and there was a storm coming. We started to turn back and then two other yachts arrived simultaneously entering the bight from opposite directions in a pincer movement. One anchored where we had been about to go, which wouldn't have pleased the resident yacht that had already shooed us away. It became a game of 'musical chairs' anchoring as we all vied for room, desperate to get the hook down before the rain started to fall. Then the storm arrived.
The morning forecast had indicated a 20% chance of thundery showers with no cloud to ground lighting foreseeable. This storm certainly had the cloud to ground lightening to go with it, and very spectacular it was too, then the rain started. We had dropped the anchor 50 mtrs from the entrance to the bight but by the time we had laid out some chain the wind had changed direction and we were almost into the lily pond by the trees which didn't bode well for a relaxed night. Then the anchor windlass wouldn't work on the "up" switch. The day was ending rather badly. Skip had to hand winch the anchor up whilst No.2 steered, keeping Ajaya away from the lily pads and overgrowing trees. Rather incongruous for an ocean going catamaran! After much huffing and puffing the anchor was finally up and we shifted position and then re-anchored just in the entrance to the bight where the holding should be quite good in the silt. The rain was now torrential and the wind was changing continuously as the storm seemed to be on all sides, although there wasn't enough wind to be a real problem. The storm eventually passed on down the coast to soak some other poor wretches and we settled down to a vegetable curry and early night, as we had a long day's motoring to come the next day. We just hoped the storms had finished for the time being.
Selection of pics of the trip north into the ICW from Charleston
Our first swing bridge
Houses with water transport "parked up"
Along the waterway
Into the Waccamaw River
Eagles nest on a green route marker - electric lighting included
Note the lone eagle sitting on the tree top! We thought this scene was eerie!
Our anchorage in the bight come morning
Another morning scene in the anchorage