Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Alone on the boat

Our original Hilton Head trip was delayed by terrible weather last Saturday. So we started Sunday afternoon and made it to Isle of Hope, and on to Harbourtown at Hilton Head Monday. After a pleasant Monday evening with dinner at CQ's here, and a relaxed morning yesterday, we left the boat here overnight to get back to The Ford Plantation for a meeting for me and work demands for the Lovely Laura Lee. This afternoon I returned to the boat by myself, and I will take it back to Ford tomorrow, weather, bridges, and boat gremlins permitting.

Our only issue coming up here was the Causton Bluff Bridge near Thunderbolt. It is a drawbridge between Thunderbolt and the Savannah River that we can normally go under without a bridge opening except at high tide. The bridge is under construction to be replaced by a high fixed bridge and was closed Monday to all boat traffic because the construction crews were lifting the massive concrete spans for the new higher bridge. We were informed by a marine patrol officer on duty in his boat there that it would be closed all day to traffic. However, he ventured that we could probably pass under one of the side spans not normally used by traffic. He said the depth there was 11 feet (we need six feet) and that the span was 25 feet above the water (we need 23 feet). So we tried it, with Laura Lee standing atop the dinghy on the upper deck and me driving at a pace of about 1/10 of a knot, fully prepared to stop dead if need be. As the man said, we cleared it by about two feet and went on our way.

So if the bridge is open to boat traffic tomorrow, I will be fine getting home. Otherwise, I will need to consider taking the outside route in the ocean from Hilton Head down to the Ossabaw Sound. I called the number listed for the bridge tender tonight and was told "I'm not sure. You'll have to check back first thing in the morning." Bridge tenders are not the most talkative people, but he was polite and really had no information. I do not want to go that route and be stuck, requiring me to turn around and backtrack to a different route, or spend the night anchored in the waterway. 

The forecast for the ocean route tomorrow is "NE winds 10 to 15 kt with gusts to 20 kt. Seas 2 to 3 ft." Acceptable on this boat if not ideal.

I'll let you know how it turns out.

1 comment:

Louise said...

Probably too late for this trip, but I wanted to let you know that I really like windfinder.com for forecasts now. That site has much more detailed info than anything from NOAA, including wave period forecasts for the week ahead. Of course, no forecast is very accurate more than 2-3 days out, but it's still really great to look at the trends. As you know, 2-3 feet can been a dream ride or a bucking bronco, depending on period! Our rule of thumb is wave period in seconds should be at least 2X wave height in feet. 2 feet on 4 seconds is good. 4 feet on 4 seconds removes all items from the galley counter.