Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Georgetown, South Carolina

We stopped for a day and a half at this lovely town.  The county once was the rice capital of North America. With 6 rivers in the area and a tidal flow up the rivers, rice was a commodity that could be easily grown. 
It is the south so slaves were the work force of the area before the Civil War.  The county was covered in cypress swamps so the land had to be cleared and then levelled and channels built in the fields so that they could be flooded.  A system of flood gates would be built next to the river access where they could control the water that entered, if salt water got into the crop it would be ruined.  It often took 15 years from the time land was acquired until a crop could be harvested.  Plantations owners would house the slaves on their property and have a home there, a home in Georgetown where they would conduct their business, and a vacation home on Pawley's Island.  After the Civil War, the rice continued to be grown, profits diminishing because they had to pay their labour force.  The crop was being more widely planted in the U.S. and once mechanization reached the industry the Carolina rice industry was doomed.  The fields here were too wet, so that machines could not do the harvesting.  By the 1930's rice was no longer grown here on a commercial basis.  Lumbering and steel manufacturing replaced rice as the dominate industries in the area. Georgetown count was the second richest county in the country at one time. 
We visited the Kaminski house, which was given to the city of Georgetown in the 1950's, with all the furniture intact.  The former owners toured the world and there are exquisite examples of antique furnishings throughout the house. The Kaminski family immigrated to this area to escape the Prussian conscription and made a very good living as a merchant in town. He was Jewish and she was Episcipalian so her family was not happy with the marriage. 
The guest bedroom. 
I just loved this outfit, the styling the colour and the shoes and purse which is hard for you to see. 
This piece of furniture was for the ladies when making their tea.  The boxy area at the top contained jars of tea and you would blend the different types to suit your palette, then it would be wheeled to the next lady. A kettle was by the fireplace to fill your cup after you had finished blending, my Great Aunt Laura would have loved this item. 
This is the library with a picture of Henry Kaminski, he was in the reserves between the wars and volunteered for WWII when he was in his forties. He actually was the officer is charge the day Pearl Harbour was bombed.  He was portrayed in the movie Tora Tora Tora, on the telephone trying to let everyone know what was going on! 
We visited the Maritime Museum and were very interested in the pictures and models of the paddle wheelers that plied these rivers carrying people and cargo. There was a story of one African American steam boat captain that took a stern wheeler that was fighting for the Confederate Army and piloted it out the river, through the Union blockade, with families and other slaves onboard, and surrendered to the enemy.  He ended up as the captain of the vessel, which was eventually sunk during the fighting. 

We strolled around town and took in the beautiful homes that have been exquisitely restored or maintained.  The gardens really appealed to me, the bottom picture is off a black oak, the growth on the branches has just came back to life because of the recent rains.  We were told that it can die off and come back to life four or five times a year depending on the amount of rain.  The streets are wide and stately with trees overhanging them. Barry wondered aloud how many times the power goes out when it storms because in one spot we saw the power lines bowing to a dangerous degree due to tree branches leaning on them.  
Did I tell you how friendly everyone is here?  Everyone greets you, the shop keepers ask where you are from, and yesterday this elderly gentleman saw us walking back from the grocery store and turned around, held up traffic while we got in his truck and regaled us with tales as he drove us back to our dinghy, how lovely!  
If you live around here and enjoy hunting and fishing you have a boat like this with a very flat bottom.  They go zipping by us with great regularity full of fellows in camouflage gear.  We saw one guy, drive into the reeds by the bank and clamour ashore and then walk down the bank with his shotgun or rifle over his shoulder.  If I were a duck I would avoid this area.  This morning I saw a golden eagle perched in a tree and several blue jays fluttering across the ICW. There are lots of cormorants and herons here as well. I have only seen two ducks and they (very smartly) were in a conservation area. 
We are currently anchored at the confluence of several waterways in a spot called Five Fathom Creek.  We did not go very far today but the next stretch requires us to have mid to high tide so we will leave as soon as it is light enough to see in the morning. We should be in Charleston tomorrow night. 

Sailing Info.

We are using "The Intracoastal Waterway, Norfolk to Miami, A Cockpit Cruising Handbook" by Jan and Bill Moeller. It is a small guide with few pictures and has references to bridges, anchorages and marinas by the mile number along the waterway. We just purchased the Waterway Guide, Atlantic ICW, Intracostal Waterway, Norfolk VA to Jacksonville Fl, published by Waterway Guide Media.  It is a great guide, with introductions to cities along the way, plus it is updated yearly about conditions on the waterway.  It is sponsored by Marinas, etc. but also mentions anchorages and their pluses and minuses. 

Georgetown     33*21.8 N  X  79*16.9 W
Anchored just outside the channel opposite Harbourview Marina, very good holding in soft mud
Boats were on moorings so we were lucky to find a spot open with room between. 
Take care on position of anchor it can shallow up quickly. Did a 180 with the tide.
Docked the dinghy at the city docks, Marina were kind enough to let us use the laundry, great stop. 
Groceries about a 2 mile walk from harbour, someone stopped on street to give us a ride back.

Five Fathom Creek    33*03.95 N  X  79*24.9 W
Anchored in 5m of water, very good holding, little protection
Anchorage is mentioned to be further up the creek but it was shallowing quickly so we turned around and anchored I the main channel off to the side. 
Lots of fishing trawlers, shrimpers?? working these waters. No info on services, settlement within dinghy distance
Anchored to wait for high tide on nest stretch of ICW

Dewees Creek    33*50.0 N  X  79*45.0 W
Anchored in 7m at mid to low tide. Excellent holding, no protection, open to ocean from east.
Very fast current, no services, lots of birds. 
Anchored to wait for high tide on nest stretch of ICW