The southernmost island along the South Carolina coast was once covered with plantations, later had a large oyster processing plant, and is most famous as the setting of Pat Conroy's The Water is Wide. Conroy taught in a two room school for black children. The other school on the island, from the same era, is named The White School. The island natives tell a quite different story than the one portrayed in Conroy's book.
Much of the island remains in a native state with a few dirt roads and one paved road for exploration. Evidence of a few homes from the oyster processing days remain. Today, grand homes on golf courses are being built as part-time residences, even though the island is accessible only by water. Daufuskie continues to be a contrast in cultures.
Daufuskie sunset from the bankrupt marina where Last Dance received a few nights gratis.
The quaint, historic downtown area of Beaufort is an easy walk from the waterfront city marina. Beautiful old homes, wonderfully landscaped yards with huge, old live oaks, and historic churches fill the town. Yes, there are some good restaurants, but the beauty of the town is the attraction.
Distant Island Yacht Club
Beaufort is separated from the ocean by a large group of multiple barrier islands, collectively referred to as the Sea Islands. One of them is Distant Island, where Last Dance joined Odyssee at the Yacht Club docks. Well, there really isn't a yacht club, just Chuck and Claria Gorgen's home dock, to which they refer to by that title.
Distant Island recently began development with Beaufort style homes, naturally landscaped yards, large trees, and quiet, winding roads. It is a peaceful and beautiful place to reside, one where the residents do not play golf; they all own boats.
Chuck and Claria Gorgen have completed the Great Loop, the Downeast Loop (around Nova Scotia), and over 30,000 miles of adventures on their 43 Hatteras, Odyssee. They have hosted many Loopers at the protected dock behind their home.
Distant Island Sunset.
Bennett's Point, Mosquito Creek
Mosquito Creek lies off the Ashepoo River, north of Beaufort. Bennett's Point, at the mouth of the creek, is a small community of 16 full-time families and a shrimp dock. It must be one of the most remote places along the east coast, but is filled with wonderful people.
Larry and Christine Hayden are among the newer residents of Bennett's Point. They completed the Great Loop aboard Blue Skies, during the same time period as Last Dance. They are downsizing to a C Dory, a trailerable trawler, giving them access to waterways across North America.
Lee and Jerry Baldwin were shrimpers for many years before beginning a marine construction business. Jerry was born at Bennett's Point over eight decades ago, attending a one room school located where his house now stands. During the fall trip to Mosquito Creek, Jerry and Lee hosted Last Dance at their dock during Hurricane Sandy; a most protected place made even better by welcoming hosts.
A Hurricane Sandy sunset at Mosquito Creek.
This small town welcomes cruisers with a free day dock along the waterfront, which is lined with a harbor walk and is a block from Front Street. It is often promoted for this main street, which is filled with shops, restaurants, the Maritime Museum, and the Rice Museum. During the days of the plantations, 50% of the world's rice was grown in the South Carolina marshes.
The aspect that held the most interest for the crew was the beautiful old homes of Georgetown, some built before the Civil War.
One of the homes has the South Carolina champion live oak in their back yard - over 500 years old.
The Waccamaw runs from interior South Carolina, through Conway, past Georgetown, and out to the Atlantic. It is a large river, mostly undeveloped along its shoreline, and a peaceful place filled with wildlife. Pairs of Osprey have made many of the Coast Guard markers their homes. A young couple beginning their nest have claimed G 77.
The pace around the Waccamaw is slow, both on the water and land. There are few bridges, and some of those are old swing bridges, creating pauses for those both on land and the waterways.
There are many creeks feeding the Waccamaw River, providing numerous, natural anchorages. Thoroughfare Creek is a good example of these beautiful creeks.
The spot chosen to anchor had a large beach, part of a state wildlife refuge. Jill enjoyed the opportunity to assist some lost, newly hatched turtles find their way to the water.
Though the crew prefers to anchor, there are times that a stop in a marina is needed. Such experiences are not usually noteworthy, but Osprey Marina is an exception. The new docks on the canal leading to the marina provided an environment not unlike an anchorage - quiet and natural surroundings.
Critters seem to be involved in the more enjoyable experiences on this journey. Next to the marina was a field of goats. A trip to feed the baby goats brought this billy to the fore.
Friends along the way expand as you cruise the waterways. At Osprey, Liz and Jim Strong parked Vagabond next to Last Dance. It was soon learned that these Texans had cruised with other DeFevers and that cruising styles and interests were similar. Sharing an achorage at Bird Island, right on the North Carolina/South Carolina state line, followed.
Barefoot in Myrtle Beach
No, that is not a description of the footware chosen by the crew (although that would be accurate), it is the name of the marina and town where the Silver Boots crew had invited Last Dance for a visit. Food and drink seems to always be involved in shared activities with Jim and Pam, and this invite was no different. The marina was having a pig picking on this date.