Charleston, SC

by Sara and Alexis Bach

The voyage north from the Bahamas to Charleston ended with three solid days of non-stop cloud coverage. The clouds brought rain, wind, and waves. Finally, motoring into Charleston Harbor was a feeling of relief. It was our first time back to the United States in over two years. Just from a few glances I could see the historical importance of Charleston, and people loved the look of our classic wooden sailing vessel. Everyone was going by on motorboats smiling and waving at us. All the activity and attention was overwhelming for us. Haiti and the Bahamas had seemed so serene compared to this.

Docking in CharlestonThe marina where we were supposed to dock wasn’t too hard to find because of the big black fenders they told us to look for. Well these big black fenders looked like the big barrels cartoon characters run down hills backwards on, so they definitely stood out. It was nice because we didn’t have to worry about damaging the boat, but we did have to worry about damaging ourselves trying to get off the boat, because they had a six to ten foot tide. We sat and contemplated with the dockhands how we were going to get on and off the boat. In the end, we decided to balance on the black fenders, jerry-rig a wobbly ladder to the side of the dock, and then pull ourselves up over the wooden benches. We all found it quite hilarious at first, especially watching Tracy the shortest of us all climb on and off, but after a while the novelty of our homemade jungle gym wore off.

Storm over Arthur Ravenel bridge.  That evening the last of the major storms was rolling through. We all sat in the salon, clean from our hot showers, and finally relaxed saying,

“I’m so glad we are not in that storm right now.”

It looked like a strobe light up in the clouds. That was one party we did not want to join.

The following morning, unaware of how immigration works in the United States, we all walked up to the immigration office. Along with the unpleasant welcome, they sent us immediately back to the boat because we were in violation of the rules. Returning to the boat we found a stern officer with a gun strapped to him. He had been waiting in the hot sun, and the sweat was pouring off his head. We all looked at each other with the same nervous expressions. Come to find out this guy was one of the friendliest immigration officers that we’ve come across. When we were finished showing our documentation, we just sat there laughing while he joked around with us, he was like our very own stand up comedian.

Preston riding a seahorse at the park.It didn’t take us long to get settled. We found the library, Block Buster, grocery store, and the parks. We had signed up for the library and the movie rentals as fast as we could. It was difficult getting used to the U.S. because everything is so precise, no one ever asked how we wanted our meat cooked in the islands, or for our identification. We were now carrying our passports, library cards, and had to remember how we preferred our food cooked.

Druming during the July 4th.     After a week of being on the outer dock, struggling to get on and off the boat, we decided to move the boat inside the marina on the floating docks. Fourth of July was right around the corner and we were in front row seats for the fire works. Being on the new floating docks we made friends with our neighbors and had fun dock parties. On the Fourth of July we invited all of our new friends to our boat for a cook out. Above us, the main dock was packed with people who had come from all over Charleston to watch the fireworks. That’s when we heard it, someone beating on a drum. Preston and Sara ran around the Marina with their drums and maraca’s trying to find the mysterious drummer so they could join in. Finally, they found him, and the drumming really came alive. They moved around the entire crowd drumming and collecting change from people who enjoyed it. They then moved out into the streets of Charleston collecting even more change, and then joined a birthday party someone was having in their backyard and became their source of entertainment. All the fire works, friends, and music, really made it the best Fourth of July we’ve ever had.

We Want You!!!    Sara and AlexisWe spent the following week cleaning up the boat and getting ready to leave Charleston. Before we left we checked the weather and saw that tropical depressions were moving up from the Caribbean to the east coast, along with hurricane warnings foregoing our stay. We weren’t too terribly sad that we had to stay, because all the great friends we had made gave us plenty of things to do. Alysia, for instance, worked at the maritime center. She would take us to her house after work so that we could swim in her pool and play with her cats. She also had a beach house that we would spend time. My mom made friends with Bob, the man who lived in the boat next to us. They would spend time in the galley cooking and sharing recipes. Tracy had a great friend named Gary, a fellow sailor, who took us on guided tours of Charleston and through the World War II memorial. Last but not least, we ran into our great friends, Rose, and Mark that we had met in the Bahamas. They took us to the Yacht Club to go sailing on their lasers, which is when we were also able to meet Rose’s mom, Alexis. Our moms became great friends and spent time with each other getting haircuts and swimming at the yacht club pool.

Craig at the Marion Square farmers' market.       After staying a while longer the storms had passed, and we were ready to go. Well, that is until the heat exchanger broke. Sara and Mom were actually glad they could stay a little while longer because they didn’t want to be sailing on their birthdays. Celebration was in order — a day at the farmers market, tie-dying t-shirts, a tour on the Sand Lapper Water Tours, and then a fun birthday dinner at the Cinema Café. Before we new it the guys had fixed the heat exchanger and we were off for good this time.

Watch the Charleston Video here.

4 Responses to “Charleston, SC”

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