Great Loop: Hilton Head

Days 46-48: March 4-6, 2023

While Savannah was great, and we could still have toured it for days, it was time to move on. We started up and made a 4-hour voyage to Hilton Head Island. And just like our boat, Hilton Head is shaped like a tennis shoe. The voyage puts us in the third state on our trip!

We opted to anchor out and try out rafting three boats now that Coda has joined the fun. That worked out pretty well except for the last morning where Steve was running around the boats like crazy waking people up when the anchor started dragging. More on that later…

The sunsets on the loop have been pretty amazing. the best have been at anchor over the various scenery we’ve encountered. The camera never seems to capture the actual beauty as well as seeing it in person.

The group decided to check out the Sea Pines Forest Preserve where there are shell rings that date back 4000 years. Amazing! We saw birds, turtles, horses, and alligators!

Our next stop? You guessed it! Ice cream! The group needed a snack before tackling more touristy stuff, so we headed to the shop area and sampled the large number of flavors. The Frozen Moo did not disappoint!

The last stop on Hilton Head was the Coastal Discovery Museum. They have a small exhibition area and some walking trails and boardwalks that take you around the property. We were there at low tide so got to see the tide switch and the water running back in.

Photo credit to Boris’ mom for capturing us enjoying our nature walk. Thanks Vera!

And now back to the anchor dragging… We had planned a nice leisurely departure from Hilton Head. A “get up and have coffee” relaxing kind of plan. That was all thwarted when just after 6 am we heard loud knocking and yelling. Tonia’s and my first reaction was “Damn it Boris, it’s not yet coffee time.” At the same moment, the anchor alarms started blaring and we realized it was someone trying to get our attention. We surfaced from below to find Steve running around yelling to start the engines. After three nights at anchor, we had started dragging and were heading towards the mooring field.

We complied and started up to stabilize the raft. However, the current was so strong we had drifted to the first mooring ball next to the anchorage. Luckily the dinghy was there to buffer us. The dinghy engine got caught up on the mooring line tied from the ball to the sailboat and prevented us from hitting any of the boats. We quickly got the raft untied and Coda and Saga were off. However, we still had the dinghy motor over the mooring buoy line. Not in a position to deal with it, we quickly decided to untie the dinghy (it wouldn’t go anywhere) and come back for it with the kayak. While not completely optimal with the current, it was better than trying to keep the entire boat from getting tangled up.

I maneuvered a distance away and Tonia got the kayak ready. When she was somewhat prepared (jumping in once lifejacket was on through getting caught up in the inflatable seat a bit), she quickly paddled her way over to the dinghy. The current was at a high point, so she had to paddle hard. She made it alongside the dinghy and climbed aboard. She tied on the kayak so it wouldn’t float away and with a couple grunts got the dinghy engine off the mooring line. With the dinghy now free, I went downstream in Lil Sudden to pick them up. This may have been the toughest part as it had to be done quickly so we didn’t float into other boats and so I didn’t miss connecting with Tonia.

It was a successful operation, and we were finally underway north. I would not recommend waking up in this way and definitely not missing coffee for it. Unfortunately, no photos since we were preoccupied at the time.

Day 46 Trip Details:
Thunderbolt, US to Hilton Head Island, US
Time: 4 h 1 m (10:06 to 14:08)
Distance: 21.13 nm

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