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Do you want to know the first clue that Rebecca and I are not typical tourists? Here it is… the main thing we want to do in Charleston is laundry. Yes, sorry kids, it’s unexciting but true.

Departing our anchorage in Awendaw Creek at first light.
When we arrived there we had the place all to ourselves.

This dolphin came to see us off on our journey to Charleston. Thanks buddy!

Months ago, back in the Erie Canal, we met our friend Tom who raved about Charleston. Since that time we have heard nothing but good comments, over and over, on how we can’t pass up seeing this city. Almost 100% of those recommendations though came with the comment “you must go to this restaurant” or “you must eat here.” Let there be no confusion… we love that feedback and appreciate it greatly! We know all too well though that we have gone quite a bit overboard on our entertainment expenses since departing and are now trying our best to be a bit more frugal. Even staying in a marina, which when compared to a typical city hotel room is no doubt cheap, is money that we don’t wish to, or need to spend.

When going under bridges one needs to pay attention to these signs. I think this bridge is listed on the charts as having 65 feet of clearance. The boards say otherwise.

A camper-barge. Cool!

And here we thought our Halloween decoration was good.

Yesterday we rolled into Charleston and found a place to anchor (read free!) amidst a number of other boats, just in front of the city marina. We have plenty of swing room and our anchor is well set, which is a good thing because there is a wicked current flowing through here. So much so that I was a bit concerned that if our dinghy engine died while going ashore, we would be washed out to sea, unable to row against it. Fortunately Tohatsu-sama continues to behave since having his carb cleaned.

As we moved into position to drop our anchor in the opening that we spied, Rebecca called to me at the bow, pointing to the boat directly in front of us. The sailboat’s name is Ruth and it belonged to our dock neighbors back at Collins Bay Marina. Last year our friends Jennifer and Al set sail from Kingston, heading south. Before making it to Florida, they concluded that at least one of them was not of the sailboat-type so they sold Ruth and ended up buying a trawler, a vessel now named Close Knit. What a coincidence!

Hello again s/v Ruth.

After a bit of time getting settled in and making sure our boat was safe in that spot, we ventured ashore, taking our dinghy to the free dock at the city marina. We quickly found the laundromat right there in the marina facility. We’ll get to that mission today. Next we analyzed a map at a bus stop and now with some clue as to which direction to proceed, we set off on foot exploring, heading across town towards where we assumed the action might be.

Note: We have done this in the past but neglected to do it yesterday and it’s too bad because it would have helped: without a paper map in hand, take a photograph of the bus-stop map. You can then zoom in on it with your camera to view where you are if needed later on.

We ended up walking all the way to the Charleston Maritime Centre where our friends on Cara Mia had been staying. Sadly they had already departed. We enjoyed our 3-hour walk, admiring the beautiful architecture but were also happy to make it back to the boat without spending a penny. We were tempted to stop at the marina bar for a drink, as they advertised an outdoor patio with a view. We quickly concluded that our outdoor patio offered a better view of the action and additionally, our bar was well stocked with all of our favorite beverages. 🙂

Another pic of a church… I just love the architecture.

Ummm… OK.

Tempted? Yes, but I don’t think so.


  1. It is always amazing how I always say, I am not spending money in a port and I am living off the sea and throwing the anchor…….I think until the mindset moves from tourist to cruiser, you still have that metality to live off the land. I said the same thing on my trip and we ended up at Hooters!

  2. Cool pics! I’ve never seen a “camper barge” before. =) Looks like the dolphin was posing for the camera…great shot! Also, no better time to let your hair grow out than now…after all, you’re headed to the islands and no longer have to worry about looking “professional”. True freedom!

  3. Great pics and truly enjoying your stories, experiences and adventures. I’m a displaced Canadian living in Florida, with 4 kids, a great wife and a love for water and adventure. If you are looking for a place to tie up, borrow a car and provision in the New Smyrna Beach, FL area, look us up. We live right at the Ponce Inlet (85 Cunningham Drive, New Smyrna Beach, FL). You are welcome to raft onto our sailboat and spend as much time as you want. Hope to some day follow in your footsteps …

    • Hi John

      Thanks very much for the invite! We have been trying very hard to meet up with various blog readers along the way so don’t be surprised to hear from us as we get closer!


  4. You guys have got the lifestyle down. Wish I was at anchor there now.

    Charleston is a great place to not spend money too. Went there a few months back on another trip, stayed in a Red Roof Inn for a penny (strange special they were having) and just walked around the battery and rainbow road for a few hours, window shopped and browsed City Market. I would def. say not to buy any booze in the restaurants in Charleston as it is way too costly if you have your own.

    The park rangers also told me Ft. Sumter, out in the middle of the harbor, was free docking and entry to visit by private boat if you’re interested in US history.

  5. Hi Mike & Rebecca,

    Great blog posts. I noticed in one of the pictures you have a block attached to the clew of your head sail. Is that part of some self tacking system? We have a mono hull and sheets attached to the clew of our jib. Keep them posts coming.

    Captn Juan
    S/V Sailor Dance
    1990 Caliber 33
    Port Jefferson, NY… On the hard for the winter 🙁

  6. We have now officially caught up with you. We arrived in Charleston last night but there will be no much needed laundry for me (dare I mention I’m down to one clean pair of panties?) as we are now on the hard in the Charleston City Marina (clear up in the Wando River).
    We developed a very scary leak in our starboard engine room which then resulted in one of the scariest treks we’ve ever made.
    The mechanics just arrived with their little black bags and we are awaiting the diagnosis.
    I guess I’ll have to enjoy the sights of Charleston through your blog.
    BTW, we saw the bizarre trailer barge yesterday too.

    • Well, almost caught up:)

      We just left and are heading towards beaufort, SC.

      A leak in the engine room does sound scary. Curious to hear what the men with black bags find out! Good luck.

  7. We were excited to see Ruth when we passed through Charleston, she’s faded. I hope she had a great summer, but I’m totally in love with Close Knit and her ammenities. Indeed there was great eats in Charleston and you can really blow the budget. I am in Kingston returning on the 23rd. If you are needing a noight in a marina, Palm Coast where we have chosen to stay til February is lovely and reasonable. Funny how plans/priorities: change we were headed to Bahamas, now I am happy to be where I don’t have to shovel. Talking of great restaurants Kiley and I are going to Wooden Heads tonight, my first meal OUT since being home. Take care. We’ll cross wakes sometime no doubt.

  8. I LOVE your pictures! I will feel much more confident when it’s my turn to take the canal and the ditch and head south. I feel as though I’ve stowed away aboard ZTC! Fair winds and following seas to you!

  9. Mike and Rebecca,
    Wish we could have met you guys in Charleston this weekend…we know all the cool spots…love the pic of the Huguenot (French Protestant) church…It is my favorite in all of the Holy City (Charleston!)… Has a service in French once a year…one of only two Huguenot churches in America…Looks like you guys are having fun…Safe Travels!
    Melanie and Drew

  10. There’s more to do in Charleston than just eat. It helps to be able to drive though. If you can get some wheels, go down Ashley River Road to the plantations. Magnolia is our favorite, but they all rock. Here’s a guy who you ought to meet: Captain Ron lives on his trawler in the Ashley River Marina, on the other side of the James Island Connector (that bridge just north of your anchorage) from where you are. He’s a good guy, and knows just about everyone on the water in Charleston.

    I just thought of it, but if you like I can call a few other friends I have down there. They could probably hook up with you to help you get around, or show you some of the cool stuff in town.

    Anyway, enjoy Charleston. It’s a GREAT town. 🙂

  11. Well I just read that last comment reply that you left. Oh well. Never mind, then. Hope you had fun there. 🙂

  12. Ha Ha! 🙂

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