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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Beaufort/ It's BYOO-fert, NOT BO-fert

posted by Ardys
Narrow channel, in spite of appearances

The Low Country.  I used to think that “Low Country” was somewhat of a pejorative term.  No more.  What a miraculous marriage of water and earth and critters.  The salt water 
Great White Egret
moves upstream with the tide, flooding the wetlands till it appears as though we are riding on enormous lakes.  The salt water mixes with the fresh, making a brackish water which pleases many animals such as alligators, dolphins, pelicans, cormorants and 
egrets; all kinds of living things including biting No See-Ums and mosquitoes.  Twice each day, the current reverses and at low tide the mud flats reappear, which we on the sailboat, are trying to avoid, of course, so I don’t want to see those too close up.  
Mud flats
We have seen large areas without visible inhabitants, in fact the majority of this portion of the trip has been through and along various federal and state protected wetlands and wildlife areas. Often we have felt like the lone travelers in a wet and amazing landscape that does not exist on much of the east coast. Nonetheless, I have been amazed by the numbers of people that live right along the water in the Low Country.   Many properties 
Multiple docks several hundred feet from the houses they are paired with.
include a private dock that extends from near the front door and out several hundred feet over water at high tide, and at low tide, the long dock stands high over the mud flats.  It’s a long walk from a home in the Low Country out to its’ boat.  At the end of each dock, one will also find a small floating dock with an 
Large houses along the ICW in the Low Country

articulating ramp connecting the two.  The ramps angle of rise may go from only a few degrees at high tide, to a steep 45 degrees at low tide.  Imagine life without those little floating docks and ramps.  A boater would have to leap several feet down into their boat at low tide, clearly not a sensible thing to do.  The danger of the giant leap down, may be matched in foolishness by the climb back up the pilings covered with layers of barnacles, oysters and other mollusks. Sharp stuff!  
Oyster growth on piling

The tidal range in this area around Beaufort, South Carolina is 6 to 7 feet.  Tides are still a new phenomenon to this Midwesterner.  The novelty hasn’t worn off yet.  Maybe it won’t?
One of the old plantation houses on ICW
There’s another misperception that I confess to having harbored.  In the past, when I thought of the Carolinas, I usually envisioned a population that struggles financially.  Clearly, there is a lot more wealth in the Carolinas than I had imagined based upon the enormous houses we have seen along the water.  I suppose it’s possible that the wealthy folks all live along the ICW, but I suspect that can’t be true.  I am aware that the Carolinas are some of the poorer states in our country, but my image of at least a portion of the Low Country has changed
Probable late 19th century house
dramatically.  I told my husband that now I know who builds all those enormous houses that are featured in house plan books and glossy magazines.  They are here, and they have waterfront property along portions of the the Low Country.  
Rain coming
We were all day on the ICW again today, and after sweating over some portions that we expected to be a problem, we made it through without incident.  It was threatening to rain all day, and finally, an hour short of our destination for the night, Beaufort, South Carolina, the sky at last opened up.  Even with a heavy rain, it was not especially uncomfortable on NORTHERN STAR.  We are still astonished to find ourselves here on December 2nd, winter-time to be in a downpour wearing only light rain gear in 64 degree temperature.  This is so unlike my previous experiences with winter.  After settling ourselves in a very friendly little old 
Fillin' Station, Beaufort, South Carolina

marina called Lady’s Island Marina in Beaufort, South Carolina (and that is pronounced BYOO-fert, not BO-fert which is in North Carolina) we shed our rain gear and went to a little partially outdoor bar 
Outdoor grill and seating at the Fillin' Station

overlooking the marina where we enjoyed the Wednesday night special—a hamburger, hotdog, baked beans and potato salad for $4.00.  Yes, $4.00.  Not gourmet, obviously, but good.  Tomorrow night they’re serving a chicken fried pork chop dinner, but it’s $5.00.  We have taken an immediate shine to this place.  NORTHERN STAR likes it here too.  She is one of the larger boats in this little marina and feels more at home here than on the MegaDock with the multi-million dollar yachts in Charleston.  I could hang out in Beaufort for a long time.  Oh, wait, another mosquito bite.  Sigh.
Relaxing after dinner

1 comment:

Pat Collins said...

Look closely at the surface of the mud on those mudflats sometime. What might at first look like a dense carpet of flies or beetles might actually be thousands of tiny little crabs! I was shocked when I really looked at all the little critters on the mud to discover crabs, not insects. It was very cool. I suspect all those holes in the mud in your photo are crab burrows. Don't see that on Lake Superior!