We’ve been underway for two weeks and I think today. . . we are exactly where we should be. Until now we’ve been racing south, spending two nights only in Portsmouth and then last night and the night before in Charleston, the rest were single nights, get up at six, or seven, and GO!
Yesterday was my first taste of BEING somewhere (other than Portsmouth, which was still north, cold, and limited) and I fell for it. So when we arrived in Beaufort (Biew, not Boh) today and I took Niya into the park and we saw red bows on the palm trees, and bars and restaurants and cafes along the waterfront, I handed over the credit card for not one but two nights. We’re slowing down, folks, we are slowing down.
Hans and I stopped in at Luther’s, just to pick any bar. For $10 (including tip) he had a fancy beer and I had one of the very best Bloody Marys I’ve ever had. We told the bartender we’d see her again tomorrow. Wonderful bar scene, lots and LOTS of activity, and THEN . . . . we found out that tonight was the “Light Up the Night” Boat Parade for the holidays, and . . . well. It was wonderful.
Listening on the radio to the staging and preparation of it all, and there were at least two dozen boats, each one showing effort and creativity, large and small, and we had FRONT ROW SEATS, as they pulled them all together about a half mile south of here and then paraded past, and went round and round.This isn’t a great photo, but it does give a sense of it. . .
What a sense of SEASON, and COMMUNITY! We shared it with MTOA friends Judy and Jim Foster from Tug-A-Long.
THEN. . . I cooked the flounder from Georgetown. It was a three-pan meal on a one-pan stove. (The breaker flips if you ask too much of it.)
Parsley potatoes, skinny French green beans, and perhaps the best flounder I have ever had. Standard fare made fantastic by where it was, how we did it, and a surprisingly good (cheap) white wine.
Actually, I must also write about the trip yesterday from Charleston to Beaufort. We’ve been in and out of Sounds and Inlets, for hundreds of miles, all with rushing current in every which direction. We cruise at 2400 rpm on our 165 hp Turbo Diesel Volvo engines. This gives us about 8.5 knots under “normal” conditions. Well these tides and currents aren’t the “normal” we’re accustomed to. Yesterday going through Watts Cut which goes from the Dawho River to the South Edisto River, we were going 4.3 knots at 2400 rpm. The other day. . . can’t remember exactly where, we were actually doing 11 knots. That will give you some idea of the effect these currents can have on our travels.
And we were VERY lucky when crossing the Coosaw River and St. Helena Sound, a BIG, WIDE STRETCH of ocean. . .
We went through many areas of mud banks and “beaches” during the day, and saw at least half a dozen Wood Storks. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood_stork (Check out the link. . . I never got a photo of one, but it’s worth a look.) They are definitely odd looking birds, and “first sightings” for both of us. And on the subject of birds, these little guys
(we think they are Ruddy Turnstones) were camped out on the dock directly next to the boat. They seemed to have little or no fear of us. . . and there had obviously been a directive: if you’re going to poop here, stand on one foot.
And here are the roses!
We had lunch at Plum’s, and then a short walk back toward the place where we had seen the horse drawn carriage yesterday, and no one was there. Checked in at the marina office and they said oh yes, there are several tours, but they’re not running today because of the PARADE! So we are getting small town Americana instead of historic Beaufort.
The celebration started at about 1:30 with motorcycles. Santa (and police) in the lead, and hundreds behind, I have no idea where they were from or where they were going, but there were too many of them for the parade, I’m certain. It went on, and on, and on. Someone suggested it was the annual Toys for Tots campaign which is apparently huge for the motorcycle crowd down here. . .
The parade itself was supposed to start at 3:00 but we were somewhere near the end so it was more like 3:30. . . I am here to report that the demise of the small town parade is rumored only. THIS was spectacular!
It started with the Marine Corps Band. . . why, you say? Because we have Parris Island very close to here, and also the Beaufort Marine Air Base. Double dose of marines, and evidently the military does have a presence here, if only for graduations and “occasions,” such as this. I’m not sure I’d ever heard the Marine Corps Band before, but they are amazing.
Then every cub scout pack, day care center, realtor, tractor or tow place, every Fire Company, every basketball team, and by god let’s not forget every “Queen,” “Princess,” or member of a beauty pageant or junior class court of every high school in the county must be represented. Every charter school (of which there are many!) had handouts and encouragement to join. I’m thinking every kid that WASN’T in the parade somehow managed to join it. Somehow.
What a terrific day, what a wonderful experience.