3/17/2018 Lady’s Island, SC—we finally get warm.

Day before yesterday, we moved 2 miles east, from the Downtown Beaufort Marina to the Lady’s Island Marina. What a great idea. While we enjoyed being located in the heart of the historic and quaint, if somewhat touristy little town of Beaufort, the marina staff had put us on the outer end of their fuel dock, a location very exposed to the winds and currents and at least 1/2 mile from the restrooms. We hadn’t been able to find a working pump-out station in awhile and I was getting worried we’d either use the head anyway, and find the contents of our holding tank bubbling out of the toilet one day, or I’d wet myself during my daily runs to the marina’s bathrooms. Sorry for the graphics, but getting rid of bodily wastes is a constant concern on a boat.

As it turned out, our move to Lady’s Island was the perfect thing to do. For one thing, this marina has a guy on staff who boated out right away and emptied our bulging holding tank–hurray! However we also discovered it was a pretty special place even if they hadn’t relieved us of a week or so of waste. Our first hint was being told by the guy pumping out our holding tank that he’d originally intended to stay for a week–over three years ago. We walked over to the office to register, and I wandered into the marina’s store. I was greeted warmly by Vicki, the manager, who immediately insisted I bring Hunny in, took off her leash, then sat down to pet her while telling me the evolution of the store. Although the store began by just offering a few snacks for sale, it has evolved into a quasi boutique/art gallery, along with offering a variety of gourmet foods from nearby bakeries, creameries, and restaurants. Even Mary, the dockmaster/manager contributes by fashioning totes made of scraps of sailcloth left over from the sailmaker shop on the premises. There are paintings, sculpture, jewelry, woodworking, and clothing–very tempting, but luckily we don’t have the room, nor can we afford the weight (catamarans will slow to a crawl and cost you a fortune in fuel if you load them down). Just think of all the money I’m saving!

Besides the aforementioned sail shop, there’s also a large workshop that anyone staying here can use, and where quite a few of the offerings at the gift shop are created. There’s also a yoga studio on the premises that offers several classes per day, and two restaurants behind us, both with large decks and decent food. The marina is unusually dog friendly which means Hunny doesn’t have to be leashed at all times and can chase balls at the high school across the street, which she believes is the ultimate purpose in life. The location is the best–we’re in a narrow, shallow channel so boats are more protected from the current and wind than at the downtown location, yet we can walk a mile over a long bridge and end up downtown anyway. Yesterday we had an invigorating 10 mile bike ride on a bluebird day with temps in the mid 70’s on the “Spanish Moss” trail.

Today we went for a bike ride in the other direction of the Spanish Moss Trail towards Parris Island, where the Marines are trained. On the way we saw a DRIVE IN THEATRE and had to stop and take pictures. The manager says they still show movies–every weekend all winter, and 7 days a week during the summer. Oh my gosh it brought back memories. As a certified old person, I couldn’t resist taking a photo:

Incidentally, there are excellent restaurants serving local produce and fresh seafood both in Beaufort and on Lady’s Island (below is a picture taken on our first night in downtown Beaufort). Obviously, it was still chilly, but we insist on eating outside at every opportunity)

Another photo of beautiful downtown Beaufort at sunset:

Here on Lady’s Island, we found a Publix (grocery store) a mile and a half away, as well as a liquor and hardware store across the street.

But it is the people staying here that make this marina the best place in which to hang out for now. We were invited by our next-slip neighbors to a pot luck last night, and had a wonderful time talking boats and hearing stories from the fascinating folks staying here right now. There’s “Bill”, a Captain who delivers sailboats up and down the east coast. And “Tom” who lost his job during the downturn, decided it was cheaper to live aboard than own a house and began his his stay by being a short timer like us and ended by making this marina his permanent home. Ginger and Pete, the neighbors who invited us to the potluck, have been here 3 months warming up after sailing through the Northwest Passage (!) last summer/fall. We have enjoyed getting to know them–beginning in 2006 they’ve traveled the world on their 50 foot ketch, from the Arctic to Patagonia, and around both Capes to circumnavigate the globe. Amazing people, not a whole lot younger than we are, who decided, after their daughter went off to college and their dog died, to begin living their dream instead of sticking with a job and lifestyle they disliked intensely. Here’s their picture:

We were planning to leave for Charleston today, about 60 miles north, but have decided that there’s no reason to hurry towards colder weather, and will stay here for at least a week longer. I think my exact words were, “I’m not moving north until it’s above 75!”.Maybe we’ll still be living here at Lady’s Island in three years, pumping out holding tanks–who knows?

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