Charleston and it only cost me a heat stroke!
April 11, Charleston!
I broke the front handle while taking the boat out of the marsh. I wonder what’s will be left by the time I get to Montreal.
I started on a windless morning against the current and under heavy assault from an assortment of flying insects. The head net proved to be essential. At 8, the sun was already hitting hard. NOA had predicted 10 to 15 mile per hour winds from the south east. Since the wind rarely manifests itself before 11 and sometimes only after 2, it’s a wonder that the people from NOA would bother making such a prediction for the morning. Again, NOA’s predictions are so consistently wrong that they must be making an effort. Otherwise they’d be right once in a while by virtue of chance.
For the first two hours I pedaled against the current and I did not bother unrolling my sail. My progress was minimal. It never exceeded 2 miles per hour. Since the rivers and canals on which I was traveling were intersecting every mile or so, I hoped to have the current going with me once in a while but this raising tide was just not giving me any break.
At around 10, I was still wearing my head net. Taking the sweat off my face was getting more and more difficult but every time I took the net off I was assailed . I had reached what was for me an unchartered level of irritation but what was I going to do except continue trudging along? I was in the middle of marshes.
It was 11 before I felt the slightest breeze but once I put the sail nothing moved it until about 12. It’s only four and a half hours after leaving that a light variable wind helped getting rid of the bugs. By that time I had reached a larger body of water and the current was now going my way.
I got to the coordinates of a camping spot at around 3. I consulted my GPS to calculate the distance between that spot and Charleston and it was less than 13 miles. I knew I had about 20 miles of real travelling in front of me if I wanted to make it to town. I did not believe I could make it but given my experience of the morning doldrums, I intended to milk that current and that wind for all it had.
Heat stricken but motivated, I sailed and pedaled until the current was so swift and the wind so strong that I was maintaining an average speed exceeding 7 miles per hour. When I got close to the Charleston cut, I was drenched from the spray and the winds was gusting so hard that I had to put two wraps on my sail even though I was going into the wind.
The Charleston cut turned out to be one nice little man made canal. It’s lined with pretty houses, gardens and a nice fire station. The wind was still helping but it was the current that was really pushing me along the tree miles of the cut. The current became intense enough that I was starting to worry about how strong it would be in the open water between the cut and Charleston.
I got out of the cut and as people along the way had told me, the marinas were in front of me. The current turned out to be minimal outside the cut. It took me a while to find the City Marina since there are many. I dealt with the girls at the office and got them to put me into and charge me for the dingy dock. Otherwise I would have had to pay 60$ per day. Instead I paid 35$ for a week. I called the Not So Hostel where Victoria signed me into a well dealt private room. Again, I paid for a week.
I could not believe that I had made it during daylight. I was so happy. According to my Google calculations, I managed to travel over 42 miles even though the first 4 and a half hours were fruitless.
All evening I was feeling the aftermath of my heat exposure. I had trouble handling stuff and I felt literally besides myself.
My timing was pretty amazing. The next day was cold and rainy.