16th Dec 2012 - 8th Jan 2013 Charleston Part 1

Thu 3 Jan 2013 20:24
It was very bleak, but not as cold as expected, as we made landfall after 36 hours from leaving Beaufort.   Having safely negotiated the long 12 mile entrance into Charleston harbour, we anchored in the Ashley River, just outside Charleston City Marina.  Little did we anticipate the events that would unfold over the following few weeks and the many friendships we would make!
After a couple of days our friend Kenny off Loon contacted us to advise there was a Tornado watch in place, which covered Charleston harbour.  Umm, we do seem to run into all the weather systems in the USA, but fortunately there is a government edict in place to alert of any potential weather hazards.  Fortunately we ended up only having some thunder, lightening and rain, which lasted 2-3 hours!
After meeting up again with Emmett & Mecca, the OCC representatives, we soon became involved in their daily life and the build up to Christmas.  In addition, Emmett no longer had his boat on his mooring ball and he suggested we move onto it, which was great as we no longer had to worry about the strong tide whilst being at anchor.  In fact, whilst we were there
, we watched one boat continually drag and as he was trying to re-anchor, his dinghy wasn’t securely held on his davits and as a consequence all sorts of gear fell out of his dinghy into the river.  Despite a fast running tide, we jumped into our dinghy, rescued all the gear and returned it to the delight of the skipper!
In the run-up to Christmas we got to know Emmett & Mecca’s numerous friends and family and we were invited along to join them at various Christmas house parties.  This was a good opportunity to get to know the ‘Charlestonians’, although any outsider to Charleston is known as an ‘off’, but we were always made to feel extremely welcome where ever we went!
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Michael and Emmett (2nd left) and Mecca (right) at one of the Christmas house parties we attended
Emmett was keen to show us his new hobby; racing miniature radio controlled yachts on a lake situated in James Island County Park.  In fact, it got to the point that we went there every Sunday and Wednesday and started to really ‘get into’ it, especially when were kindly lent yachts to race.  Something maybe we will take up once we’ve given up the bigger stuff!
Emmett and other folk making some final adjustments to their yachts before launching; serious stuff!
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Michael helping out and ‘racers’ moving up and down the lake with their remote controls
One of Mecca & Emmett’s 4 daughters, also called Mecca had flown in from Minnesota for Christmas.  After a couple of days, she was joined by her fiancé, Dave, who is a civil war historian and has a very keen interest in ‘forts’.  This being the case, we were soon on our way to visit Fort Sumter, one of the most significant historic monuments in the United States and this is where the civil war began.  Following demands from the Confederates (South) on the Union (North) forces to vacate the Fort Sumter in 1861, the first shots were fired – the start of a 2 day bombardment that resulted in it’s surrender.
Arriving by ferry at Fort Sumter
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A view from Fort Sumter and the ferry.  Michael in thick fleece, as starting to get really cold in these parts!
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Fort Sumter National Monument


On our way back, the spectacular Charleston Cooper River bridge