The first full day in Charleston after our arrival was Easter Sunday. We decided to go once again to the Circular Congregational Church for their early Easter service. Afterwards, we were invited to what turned out to be an amazing Sunday brunch, followed by an Easter egg hunt for the children in the only open space between the buildings – the graveyard. It was a lot of fun to watch (and maybe help a little with a few hints), and a tremendous metaphor for the day.
Shortly after arriving, we learned that the US Navy Blue Angels were going to be performing over Charleston harbor in a couple of weeks. We decided to stay at least through the event, especially since it was going to be centered over the Maritime Center. It wasn’t hard to figure out when the jets had arrived, since the sound of them was deafening as they made maneuvers over and around us – first, in practice runs on Thursday and Friday, and then in the performances on Saturday and Sunday. Their precision flying and speed were amazing and awe-inspiring, and we couldn’t believe our luck at securing such a perfect ringside seat for all the action. We were even closer than the VIP seats, which were on shore just outside the Maritime Center building. (This location also created a minor inconvenience, by putting the marina offices and restrooms on the other side of a security barrier for 3 days.)
The week of April 8 – 11th was Charleston Race Week. About 150 boats are engaged in races through the day on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the event. Races take place both in the harbor, and out in the ocean. We would have normally paid little attention to the activities associated with this event, but that all changed when Dave jumped aboard another boat in the harbor to help it move from one slip to another in the marina. John on Ragtime was looking for crew to help him race his Gulfstar 44 ketch in the ocean races over the 3 days. After making sure that he understood our experience was limited to cruising, not racing, we agreed to join him. Fred joined us as well, contributing both his sailing and racing experience to the crew.
We took in two Charleston RiverDogs games at the Joe P. Riley stadium (the “Joe”), which backs up to the Citadel campus north of downtown. Since the first game was in the evening, we had to time our departure to make sure we didn’t miss the last bus back to town. We would have had no problems, except it was just our luck that the game was tied at the bottom of the 9th, as the tying run crossed the plate seconds before the final out. That meant extra innings. We stuck it out as long as we could, but finally had to leave as the 11th inning was about to begin. It turned out the RiverDogs beat the Lexington Legends by 1 in the 12th inning. We were glad we didn’t wait any longer, since we just made the last bus.
You may recall that we had a few items that broke down as we made the journey from the Bahamas to Charleston. First and foremost, there was the matter of a broken toilet that needed to be addressed. After checking with West Marine, the toilet was under warranty and “all” we had to do was return the old one in order to pick up a new one. This wasn’t going to be a pleasant task to take a used toilet by bus to West Marine. Luckily, when Dave mentioned this to the marina staff, someone was able to drive him to West Marine with the old toilet and bring him back with the new one.
Having installed the original just last summer, Dave had a pretty good idea what would be involved. We had already pumped out the holding tank and rinsed it with water to minimize the mess. Dave then disconnected the old toilet. While it was out, Cathy cleaned behind it thoroughly. Then we put the new one back in without too much difficulty, considering that some of the connections are not the easiest to get at. It’s been working great since. Whew!
So, the rest of our time in Charleston is being divided between work and play. We caught up with our mail, which generated several days of activities, including doing our taxes. The Maritime Center has a free washer and dryer, so one full day was taken up laundering clothes, including some of the mattress and cushion covers that got so damp in the cold last winter. (The Maritime Center happened to replace the dryer while we were here, making this less of a hassle, since the old one had trouble with large, heavy loads.) And the marina’s excellent WIFI connection allowed us to do some work on the internet that had been long delayed.