Our next stop after Charleston was a small town just 30 miles or so south called Rockville, SC. We have a small gear oil leak in our port engine and we were told that there was an excellent marina just off Adams Creek in Rockville, SC which was owned by, Anthony Black, a man who would be able to help us out. Matt already knew how to repair it, but figured having a second set of (trained) eyes to confirm that it was just the leaky seal and not something bigger was worth the stop. And so we headed off to our first unplanned stop of the trip yet.
Coming into the river from the ocean was interesting. We’re really not used to these strong currents down here! I accidentally dropped a can of Pringles into the water when we were in Charleston, and the damn thing floated almost five feet down river before I had a chance to jump off the boat and onto the pier to grab them! (Thankfully, they didn’t get wet and were 100% still edible). Yet again, we didn’t time the tides right and were fighting a FOUR knot current coming straight at us as we made our way in. We went from going five knots out in the ocean to around one knot as we entered the channel. To put it into perspective how excruciatingly slow we were going, we saw people walking on the beach next to us and we were pretty much going the same speed as them. Look at the water slicing through our line. It’s crazy how aggressive these currents are!
It turned out to be well worth the long entry though! The scenery was beautiful and we were the only boat in the anchorage. We settled down to a nice spaghetti dinner, happy to be all alone in such a small slice of Southern heaven.
The next morning we made our way over to the marina where Matt rigged a pretty cool contraption out of a few pieces of wood and some nylon straps to lift the engine up just enough so he could shift it forward and access the faulty seal.
Once he had it opened, Anthony, the marina owner (who happens to be a diesel specialist), took a look and confirmed that, indeed it was just the seal. OK! This is good! We got a replacement seal while we were in Charleston, so Matt just popped the old one off and went to put the new one on…. annnd realized that it was the wrong size. <Sigh> He put the engine back together and ordered yet another seal to be delivered to us in Florida. Hoping this one works! These seals are only about $3 each, but cost us about double that in shipping. Anthony was so great, letting us tie up to his dock and pick his brain for free. We offered to pay him, to which he just smiled and declined, so Matt gave him a twenty to take the pieces of wood he used so he could hoist the engine up again when we got the new seals. On the way out, we made a furry friend (name unknown), who I think was the marina pet. Strange and funny.
After a somewhat disappointing morning with the engine work, we decided to head back to the same anchorage we were in the night before and enjoy an unplanned free day. We had seen a few shrimping boats come in the night before, and took the dinghy up the river to where they were docked to see if they had any fresh shrimp for sale. We bought two pounds of freshly caught jumbo shrimp for $14. Not bad.
The woman who sold us the shrimp also mentioned that there were oysters in the river, and all we had to do was wait for low tide and the picking was ours. Yes, please! We waited a few hours for low tide, gathered a bucket, some gloves and a hammer (to break the clusters of oysters apart) and headed towards shore to catch us some dinner. As soon as we got out there, the bugs and gnats swarmed us. They were seriously everywhere – on our body, up our nose, in our eyes – so we had to pause and slather on a thick layer of spray before proceeding any further. Matt would search for clusters on the beds, which looked like concrete clumps the size of volleyballs, and take the hammer to chip off some of the larger ones. He’d then hand them to me so I could scrub the mud off of them and put them into a cooler of ice.
Meanwhile, I was beheading and cleaning all of the shrimp we bought. Let’s just say it was a messy job and that I have a new appreciation for the clean and deveined shrimp they sell at the grocery store. Unfortunately, Matt sliced his foot pretty badly on one of the oyster clusters even though he was wearing his Crocs. They’re sharp as razor blades and you had to be careful handling them. Hey, no pain no gain, right? Hoping he doesn’t get gangrene and have his little toe fall off. After about thirty minutes or so, the sun was setting, we were cutting ourselves on oyster shells and shrimp tails, swatting gnats that were swarming our every crevice, finding and cleaning our bounty, with no one around in this little slice of Southern heaven. We both agreed that the moment was so perfect and we felt so content and peaceful in our own little world. Matt said that even if he did loose his little toe, this moment was totally worth it.
We went back to the boat ready to prepare our feast – our shrimp and the nearly three dozen oysters we had collected that afternoon. We shucked a few and had them raw, but they were so salty that we decided to steam them instead. Plus, we didn’t want to come down with some nasty shellfish poisoning this far from a hospital and with no health insurance. We’re adventurous, not stupid.
Dinner was great! We stood in the “kitchen” steaming and eating in batches. We even busted out the garlic butter and Old Bay. This was definitely one of the best nights we’ve had on the trip this far. All because of an impromptu stop. I guess we’ll have to schedule more of those into our trip.
Currently back out in the ocean for an overnight trip to Fernandina Beach, just north of Jacksonville. So excited to be in Florida! We should be in the Keys the following week, just in time for Thanksgiving!