July 9, 2021
With the Canadian border still closed to United States visitors, Loopers’ plans this season are all over the map. Some are hanging out near the Canada border; some are enjoying extended cruising on the Chesapeake; others are on the Great Lakes, having hired a captain to transit the Welland Locks which bypass Niagara Falls into L. Ontario; some are just staying south, poised to enjoy winter; and those who have dirt homes might be taking a hiatus from cruising. While we appreciate the lack of competition for slips and beautiful anchorages, we also are missing much of the social experience which is a delightful component of a normal looping season, one in which a “class” of Loopers “chases 80,” following the seasons, and gathering for docktails and perhaps a few tall tales at the end of the cruising day.
From Charleston, we anchored at Georgetown. Having such wonderful memories of our first visit there with friends, this time felt anticlimactic. Our dinner was mediocre, and our walk past the stately homes on shaded streets with Live Oak archways was humid and sticky. And a little lonely.
The next morning we cruised two hours to Wacca Wache Marina to wait out Tropical Storm Elsa. Apart from a dicey docking in torrential rain and the 5:30am tornado warning which rousted us out of bed, the experience was— just another tropical storm. We enjoyed reconnecting with dock masters Jason and Matt, who came to know our boat well when Red Pearl was there for 7 months in 2018.
Two days later under gorgeous blue skies, we left Wacca Wache, to date our destination furthest north on the eastern seaboard, and cruised into territory which we have not seen before! We read longingly about the side trip up the lush and scenic Waccamaw River, which we don’t have time for. Wildness morphed into development, with “No Wake” zones past miles and miles of homes with private piers as we approached Myrtle Beach. “Covens” of jet skies swarmed, zipping by and carving doughnuts in our wake. Arriving at Barefoot Marina, a favorite stop among Loopers, one of the dock hands offered us a ride to the grocery for provisioning, which we happily accepted. Greens, kale, a salad mix, celery, peaches, grapes, Rainer cherries, blueberries, avocados, a small ham, a tub of whole yogurt, a loaf of bread, and 18 eggs were repackaged and crammed into our 7cf fridge with a practiced hand.
The following day a short dinghy ride across the waterway took us to the Landing, crawling with families and kids in a carnival atmosphere. A carrousel, play grounds, lawn games, hammocks, and tantalizing junk food were the hub around which shops and restaurants bordered. We browsed the shops, more to escape the heat, but also purchased a few items which will enhance our cruising life. 🙄 Our choice for a low-key dinner at LuLu’s was disappointing; especially memorable was the men’s and women’s kickboxing shown on all four giant screens in unavoidable line of vision, which we found a distressing choice for family entertainment.
The Barefoot area being not quite to our personal taste, and the seasonal humidity having descended, we spent all day Sunday indoors FaceTiming with friends from home and planning our itinerary for the next two weeks. It also took a good bit of time locating a strainer for the generator, which perhaps was broken when the exhaust was replaced a few weeks ago. A marine mechanic helped us identify the part but could not get it for a few days—longer than we want to hang out here—so we have arranged for the part to meet us up the road…
“Arrangements,” of course, having loose connotation on the water….