Sorry for the time line disruption these past couple of months as we’ve had a few real time updates in between our travelogues. Join us as we jump back to June to get you caught up.
You know, that time when it was so hot we wished for cooler temps? And now here I sit wrapped up in a fuzzy blanket enjoying autumn temps trying to remember what it felt like to be at anchor in the heat.
Last we left you we had just arrived to Savanah after cruising the incredible Georgia coastline.
Here’s our video version of this segment:
Savannah / Thunderbolt, GA
We only ever once stayed in the Savannah area in all our years of RVing – and that time, is when we met our friends Ann & Elliott. Ever since, whenever in the area visiting them always overruled other options.
While at the MTOA Rendezvous back in May we had won some door prizes – one of which was several nights of free dockage at Hinckley Yacht Services in Thunderbolt. General manager Dustin had also attended the rendezvous and we looked forward to getting to know him better.
We honestly didn’t have high expectations of staying at a boat yard – but heck, free wins.
But this is no boat yard like we’ve experienced yet.
Hinckley is a very high end yacht built in Maine, and they have service centers all up and down the coast. The Thunderbolt location had just rebuilt their docks after Hurricanes Irma and Michael – and they offer both dockage and boat yard services to us non-Hinckley owners.
Their marina facilities are top notch – floating docks, in slip pump out, free laundry, luxury bath suites and a courtesy car. You can almost forget you’re staying at a working boat yard. And everyone we encountered there was over the top helpful and friendly.
We ended up staying 9-nights – and enjoyed the close proximity to many touristy things to check out. With use of the courtesy car (or a $10 Lyft for longer adventures) we were able to easily get downtown, out to Tybee Island and nearby Bonaventure Cemetery – and just enjoyed driving around this beautiful city.
In our endeavor to play tourist, we purchased a trolley package that got admittance on the hop-on-off trolley, river boat and Prohibition Museum. We felt we got a good introduction to the history of the city.
We also enjoyed watching movies filmed here when not out exploring (one of our favorite ways to feel connected to the places we visit) – including Forrest Gump and Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil.
And we enjoyed getting to know blog readers Drew & Kathy of Sea Trek, also on our dock having work done to their sweet Nordhaven 40.
Thank you Hinckley for an amazing stay!
Daufuskie Island, SC
Dustin had highly recommended our next stop be Daufuskie Island.. and to splurge on a golf cart rental to get out exploring.
It was just a few mile cruise over the GA/SC state line crossing the Savannah River (our third state by boat), and we soon had the hook dropped along the Cooper River. It was just a short dinghy ride over to the public docks.
Daufuskie Island is only accessible by boat, and there are ferries that run over from Hilton Head.
It’s like a step back in time visiting this island. There are two restaurants, some resorts and a distillery – but most everything else is quaint houses, dirt roads and old buildings.
We visited twice, once just for dinner at the Crab Shack right by the docks – and then the next day to rent a golf cart. 3 hrs was $60 – which was not quite enough time to really explore the island.
We managed a visit to the distillery for a tour & tasting (lemonade with their Blueberry Lavender Vodka may just be my new favorite cocktail), grab lunch at Lucie Bell’s (super yum!) and head on out to the lighthouse (which is literally a light on a house).
Along the way we also encountered the local ‘Possum Lady’ who rescues possums and gets them back to health before releasing them back into the wild. She was walking her latest charge Dexter, and was delighted to stop and introduce us.
All and all, a quaint and charming stop with a beautiful anchorage – and the last time for months we’d experience open window weather.
Pickney Island (Hilton Head)
Our next planned anchorage was along Blufton, a supposedly charming little town too. So we weighed anchor on a Sunday morning and started a chill cruise until Hilton Head Harbor. The fetch from the ocean combined with several high speed boats whizzing by kicked up quite the washing machine like wake in the sound that had us bouncing about.
So I high tailed it out of there at full throttle to calmer waters downriver.
We transited the May River and dropped the hook – but the weekend traffic didn’t subside, making it quite uncomfortable. We decided to just make this a quick lunch stop and move on.
We backtracked a few miles and continued on, opting for an anchorage on the backside of Pickney Island National Wildlife Refuge bypassing the ICW – hoping to escape the bulk of the recreational traffic.
And we found perfection. A dolphin abundant anchorage, shore access to 17-miles of hiking trails and only a couple of boats on day-hooks to enjoy the afternoon.
Wish wished we had padded in more time for this one, but one night would have to suffice.
Port Royal & Beaufort, SC
We kept getting recommendations for Beaufort, SC as a great stop that often tempts cruisers to stick around a bit. So we had left time in our ‘schedule’ to stay a week or two if so called.
Again, we had won a free nights dockage at the MTOA Rendezvous from Port Royal Landing Marina, just south of Beaufort. In need of a pump out (Hinckley’s new one was not yet online), we figured we’d redeem our night, pump out, borrow the courtesy car and explore the other options for our longer stay.
In downtown Beaufort is a city marina with docks and a mooring field, and there’s also a highly rated marina on Lady Island. Our top choice was the mooring field at $20/night, but now temperatures were peaking in the high 90s with a heat index over a 100.
Weekly dockage at the other marinas around started at $10/ft plus electric (well over $500 for our boat.)
So when the awesome staff at Port Royal offered to apply the full value of our free night towards their already lower weekly rate bringing it down to $6.75/ft – we opted for the unlimited air conditioning.
The marina is a fine facility – well maintained docks, good shore facilities and great staff. But there’s nothing really nearby but a couple of restaurants, convenience stores and a Piggly Wiggly grocery store. To get to the cool stuff in either historic Beaufort or Port Royal, you need a car or bike.
Since it was off season, the courtesy car was pretty much ours for the week – which made it much easier to get out exploring.
We enjoyed the downtown area and historic area where the Big Chill and Prince of Tides was filmed (yes, we watched both), getting out to Hunting Island Lighthouse, visiting the Kazoo Factory and provisioning at the Saturday morning Farmers Market.
But all and all, we didn’t feel the velcro of the area – a week’s stay was more than enough.
Final Push to Charleston
We had a few days left until our highly anticipated arrival to Charleston, so we decided to depart Beaufort and enjoy some final nights at anchor – despite the heat.
We selected three stops along the way.
One night in the Parrot River before a beautiful cruise to Steamboat Creek, where we spent two nights anchored amongst dolphins with access to a public dock for walking.
And then a final two night stay in Church Creek which offered more dolphins and some amazing paddle boarding.
We did well with the heat, running the generator for a couple hours in the peak of the day to run an AC or two – the rest of the day using the Breeze Booster we found our prior owner had left behind to get better airflow into the boat from our front hatch.
In the afternoons we’d also take a swim to cool off – using swim lines as the currents can be quite swift.
And then it was the final stretch into Charleston Harbor, which requires some precise timing to transit Elliott’s Cut.
Time it wrong and you could hit tidal currents and rapids of 7 knots making this tight channel dangerous. We timed our arrival for slack tide and had no problems arriving to the Charleston Maritime Center Marina across from Patriot’s Point at minimal current for a safe docking.
And here we would begin an amazing month-long stay docked right smack dab in the middle of town.. but those tales will come later.
1000th Great Loop Mile
It was interesting to note that arriving the Charleston marked our 1000th Great Loop Mile (not counting our side trip down the St. Johns River) since we left Punta Gorda, FL in April 2017.
Yup, for those doing the math – we’re right on track to complete our loop in what, 20 years?
Great Loop Log (6/4/2019)
- Distance: 1004.4 nm
- Stops: 64
- Marina Nights: 443
- Anchored / Moored Nights: 57
- Bridges : 143
- Locks: 0
View all our Great Loop Posts
on our Interactive Map!
Real Time Update
We’re currently in St. Louis visiting family, traveling in our van conversion. The boat is safely stored and we’re planning to return to Y-Not in February.
As soon as Texas shows signs of cooling down for the fall, we’ll be heading back to our bus which is storage in Austin. We’re planning to RV around the southwest this winter and get Zephyr to her RV lot at the SKP Saguaro Co-Op we bought into a while back.
We have some exciting stuff brewing for this fall, including of course the premier of The RVers TV show on Discovery Channel on November 23.
The show hasn’t even aired yet, but Discovery has already picked it up for a second season! We’re so excited to be part of this, and it keeps hitting home that this is real. This week our Escapees RV Club magazine showed up with our faces on the back cover for the show!
Speaking of the Escapees, we had an article on Working Remotely With Mobile Internet published to the Xscaper’s Blog recently with a bunch of tips for successfully utilizing mobile internet sources like cellular and Wi-Fi to work remotely.
We’ll also be taking part in this year’s Full-Time Freedom Week in early November – this is a virtual online summit focused on full time RVing, and this year we’ll be presenting on Thinking Outside the Box (on wheels), sharing how we identify as technomads who explore by more than just RV. The summit is free to attend during the week of November 5-8 – so go pick up your free pass (you can optionally upgrade to an all-access pass to view it anytime). There’s 30+ great speakers lined up presenting on a variety of topics.
Speaking of traveling by RV and boat, we also just started a new Facebook Community called Wheels to Keels – for those of us who have moved from well.. wheels to keels. If that’s you too, come join us!
We also were recently profiled on Chris Guillibeau’s Side Hustle School Podcast, about how we took our side hobby of covering mobile internet options for RVers to now our full time job.
Whew.. that’s a lot up recently!