We did a lot today. It was a long day, stretching from 7:30am - 12:00am. The whole day was great!
Mom had to wake me up around 7:15am to get ready for church. If she hadn't, I'd have probably slept until 8:15am. We took the 8:00 marina shuttle to St. Matthew's Lutheran Church. It is an ELCA Lutheran Church, just like Faith Lutheran Church back home, so the service was almost identical to what I know. The church itself was different, though. It was set up like a cathedral and was very beautiful. Most Lutheran churches I've seen aren't like that. Mom said it was just because it is old. It was built in 1872!
Craig picked us up and brought us to his house after church. Josh and I played with Hailey and Adam and had a good time. We had a lot of fun when we had a water gun fight. After shish kabobs for lunch, we went to their neighborhood pool. We played with the water guns for most of the first half. Then, we spend the second half doing jumps and dives into the deep end that had once been for a diving board. Adam can't swim, but he had floaty wings and jumped with us too. It was, once again, super fun.
Craig dropped us off at the dinghy dock and we went over to s/v Eira after a short stop by our boat. Daniel and John have these plastic toy guns and we spent most of the time playing with those. First, we had a "shootout" between Daniel and me and John and Josh. Then, Daniel and I dueled with each other a bit. We went on deck and shot at boats, birds and dolphins passing by. When we finally got bored of that, we made a mock James Bond scene because they have a pistol that looks like 007's 9mm. Just before dinner, after dark, we snuck down the side decks and held up the adults. They didn't think us jamming our guns into the backs of their heads was too funny.
Dinner was some of a 4ft. long Mahi-Mahi they caught. During and after supper, we watched Jurassic Park 2: The Lost World. We shot all the dinosaurs. Every time a T-Rex tried to eat someone, you'd hear the guns clicking off as fast as we could re -cock them. John's 007-like pistol was semi-automatic, so he didn't even have to re-cock.
By the time we were ready to leave, it was 20 minutes until midnight. S/v Eira is going to leave tomorrow morning, but we should see them later in North Carolina where they plan to buy a house. It's been great meeting them. Today was great, all 17 hours of it!!
Monday, 6/9/08Day 128
Today was another great day in Charleston, South Carolina. Instead of spending the day just hanging out on the boat, we visited two big forts around Charleston: Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie. Both fort talked about each other a lot because they both served the same basic purposes, as well as participated in some of the same battles and missions. I'll write about the forts in the order in which we saw them and just reference each other a lot.
First, we dinghied somewhere around 4 miles (that's a ton for our dink) to Fort Sumter. This was the famous fort that started the Civil War. The fort was built on a shoal which was made into an island by throwing tons (literally) of granite onto the shoal.
Major Robert Anderson was in charge of Fort Sumter, Fort Moultrie, Fort Johnson, Castle Pickney, and a Federal Armory in Charleston. Six days after Charleston seceded, on Dec. 20th, Anderson decided to move his command from Moultrie to the more dependable Sumter. The Confederates saw the U.S. flag over Fort Sumter and realized what had happened during the night. They were not happy. They took over all the other forts around Charleston, and wanted Anderson to surrender.
He would not. Finally, Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard, Anderson's former friend and student, and assistant at West Point, gave Anderson one hour to surrender. Anderson did not, and a mortar from Fort Johnson signaled all the other forts to start bombarding Fort Sumter. Abner Doubleday, Anderson's second in command, fired the Union's first shot of the Civil War. They bombarded the fort for 34 hours straight before Anderson surrendered because of a large fire inside. The terms of Anderson's surrender were that he could leave with all his men and arms, he could take the U.S. flag with him, and that he could lower the flag to a 100 cannon salute. The 100 cannon salute became a 50 gun salute because someone got injured. Terms of surrender like these were very unusual, but were granted to Anderson, probably because he and Beauregard were friends.
The fort was almost completely destroyed during the Civil War. The Union tried to recapture it more than once, and bombarded it a lot more from sea and the captured Morris Island. The fort was still used in both World Wars and the Spanish-American War. Battery Hugey was built at that time and equipped with the fort's largest guns. The battery is now a museum.
We visited the museum and read all about the fort's famous history. We also saw a bunch of cannons and mortars. The fort is only one tier high, but it used to be three. It was destroyed that badly. It was all very interesting.
Fort Moultrie, another ½ mile away, was used from the American Revolution to WW II. In the Revolution, Patriots built a small fort out of Palmetto logs that only had 31 cannons. It was strategically placed to guard the narrow passage into Charleston. A ship couldn't enter the harbor without getting in range of Moultrie's guns.
A fleet of 9 British ships with over 300 cannons came to attack the fort and harbor, but the cannonballs bounced off the logs, instead of splintering them. The fleet minus one retreated, but the fort was abandoned and destroyed later in the war when Charleston was attacked by land.
A second Fort Moultrie was built, but was destroyed by a hurricane. Finally, a third Fort Moultrie was built, and it lasted all the way until today. The last fort controlled mines and submarine nets to protect the harbor during WW II. It also has a network of tunnels to provide safety from bombs and gas attacks!
We read all about the different time periods at the Visitor's Center and watched a video about the fort's history. It was just as interesting as Fort Sumter!
We dinghied all the way home (around 5 miles!) and had a quiet supper. We are all super tired and are ready for bed. Mom wants us to sleep in again tomorrow. Today was great! Really, really great!
Tuesday, 6/10/08Day 129
We did almost nothing today. We hung out on the boat almost all day. The only thing we did off he boat was take the 11:00am marina shuttle to West Marine. After dinner, Josh organized a family card game that he found in a book. The game was Knock-out Whist. It was fun. Today was okay.
Wednesday, 6/11/08Day 130
Today was exciting, although it was only for Mom, Josh and me. Dad had to do work all day. Until 10:30am, all we did was school. The afternoon was more fun.
Dad had and 11:30am conference call, so Mom, Josh and I took the 11:00am marina shuttle to the post office downtown. The post office itself was cool. The building must be 200yrs. old (I don't know what it really is) and is built like a tiny castle. It looked huge from the inside, but that was just floor 1 of 4. Everything was made of big, heavy, solid wood. There was also a postal museum, but we didn't go there.
For the next long while, we walked up and down the streets in that area looking for a good place to eat. We saw two cool things along the way. The first was actually a graveyard in the churchyard of St. Matthew's Church and was established in 1680 (the year the original Charles Town was established). Another tourist family went in, so we decided to check it out. The first grave we saw was barely readable, but dated 1682. After that, I started looking for someone who may have fought in the American Revolution. Many of the gravestones weren't readable, but I finally found Nathanial Graham. He was born in 1760, so he was 16 when the Declaration of Independence (1776) was signed and 19 in the middle of the Revolution (1779). He very well may have fought. He died in 1818 at the age of 58.
Then we found the graves of John Rutledge, a signer of the U.S. Constitution for South Carolina, and - believe it or not - General Morticai Gist! General Gist actually died while leading his men in the Battle of Long Island in 1776! My history book says that the British did win that battle which killed this true Revolutionary War hero. It was funny that while I was searching for someone who may have fought, there was a big gravestone for someone who actually did fight!
As we continued walking, we saw the second cool thing - a photo shoot. As we were walking past a big oak tree with nice landscape around it, we saw a lady who looked like a model with these nice clothes on, walking back and forth a few steps at a time, getting blown on by a wind machine, and getting her picture taken by a high-tech camera that was attached to two tables of laptop computers and an external flash. She was posing in a bunch of different ways, always paying attention to her clothes. Mom thinks it was for a clothes magazine. I agree, but we didn't wait around to find out more. Who cares anyway?
After searching for a long time more, a man told us about a pizza place in the Rainbow Market on North Market St. It was called Giovanni's and advertised calzones, so we ate there. Bro ate one slice of pizza, but it was one of the largest slices of pizza I've ever seen. Mom and I each had a calzone that was a semi-circle that was around 6 inches at its widest. To make it bigger and better, the calzones were stuffed full with cheese and one extra topping. I could only eat ¾ of it and ended up so full I thought you could have popped me. It was delicious.
After lunch, we finally got to see one of the things we went to town today to see: the Old Slave Mart Museum. The Old Slave Mart Museum is on part of the old Ryan's Mart complex, where enslaved African Americans were actually bought and sold like livestock. The museum had two levels, with the first floor giving an overview of slavery, telling about slave auctions, and talking about how slavery shaped South Carolina. The second floor was all about the story of the Amistad, an illegal Cuban slave ship on which a slave rebellion took place and the ship accidentally ended up in the USA, instead of Africa, the intended destination of the newly freed slaves. Mom asked me what I learned about, and I told her that I learned about the s/v Amistad's story and about the slave auctions. It was interesting, horrible, and should be embarrassing to any American that took part in this event in any way, shape or form. That's really all I have to say about it.
From there we went to the fountains at Waterfront Park. The fountains are specially designed for kids like us to play in. That's the whole purpose. We had planned to come here, so we were wearing our bathing suits. Josh and I ran around for most of the time, and Mom even wore a bathing suit and sat in the water. The fountain is designed so that a bunch of spouts all shoot very powerful streams of water to a center spot. Towards the end, we met two other boys my age and a sister of one of the boys, and we did the coolest thing. We figured out that if you plugged up one of the spouts with your hand, it would make the other spouts more powerful and would raise the point where the streams of water met. I have created a set of diagrams that model the extra power of the water when different spouts are plugged. Click Here to see them.
As the charts show, it was awesome. But, to make it better, we put one person in the middle where the high-powered spouts meet. We could plug up to 4 spouts at once and cause the water to really pound down on the person in the middle. It didn't hurt if you kept your eyes closed and held up your bathing suit. We did 5 once without anybody in the middle and it was ultimately awesome to the max!!! It was all fun until the last tiny second. Mom had already called the shuttle to pick us up and gave us the "2 minute" warning. I was trying to get one more turn in the middle, and was in the center when Mom said "time to go" and I was trying to tell her. The kids we were playing with didn't realize and plugged away, and the water blasted into my eyes. I immediately fell down and cut my left hand in two places on a sharp edge. It was fun anyway, and was all funny. The funniest part was when we got a 5th person, enabling us to clog 4 spouts, and the dare-devil among us tried it out first. Only two got clogged, but he screamed and fell to the floor. When he got up, I was laughing and told him, "That was only 2 you fell down at!" He screamed back at me, "What!?! Only 2!!?!" That only made me laugh more.
Today was so, so, so fun, great, awesome, ultimate, exciting, and anything else you can think of!!!
Thursday, 6/12/08Day 131
Today was pretty good. School was absent except for the history we learned like normal. Charleston is full to the brim with history we can't help but learn.
We took the 9:00am marina shuttle to the market (different from the farmer's market- this one is daily and not at Marion Square) to buy tickets for a carriage tour. A must do in Charleston, about four companies offer historical tours of the city via horse or mule drawn carriages. We took our tour from Palmetto Carriage Tours based out of "The Red Barn" because it was recommended to us. Their big carriages are drawn by two mules each and the small private carriages by one horse. I got to pet a mule while we were waiting for our carriage. There are a lot of rules for Charleston's carriage tours. A tour guide must be certified with a license for this job in particular, plus get re-certified every four years and take continuing education every two. There are also three different routes for the tours. In order to regulate carriage traffic, an official tells the guide which route to take. We got route 2. It was an interesting tour that went along the southern edge of what used to be the walled city, which was fortified for protection against the Spanish, French, and Native Americans when Charles Town was a little town in a British colony. We went down through the historic homes of the town, all the way around to the water and back to the market and "The Red Barn." There were a lot of old houses because the town has a rule that you can't tear down any building older than 75 years. A few were Bed and Breakfasts, a few were in disrepair because the owner can't afford to renovate it and it can't be torn down, some more were being renovated, a couple were for sale for over $1 million, and a few of them were looking really nice - especially the big mansions of the rich.
Another stop on the tour was the battery at the edge of the Cooper River on the old walled city's border. There were cannons, mortars, and more, as well as a large wall that still surrounds the area. In the large park, there is a famous gazebo also. The daughter of a rich man, Calhoun, erected it for the city. She has a mansion across the street, and the tour guide said that in the old days, the gazebo was practically in her front yard, so she erected herself a band-stand and gave the city the job of keeping it up. It thought that was funny. It was, all in all, a great tour!
From there we went to the Provost Dungeon and the Old Exchange House down the road. I didn't think it very interesting. Pirate Stede Bonnet, as well as some high ranking city officials, was imprisoned there by the British in colonial times. The dungeon also stored boycotted tea and hidden gunpowder during the Revolution. During his stay in Charleston, George Washington attended a ball and two dinners in the Exchange House. The Exchange House was pretty much just a big, old building with a big, pretty dance hall.
We moved on and had lunch before stopping into St. Matthews Church. We visited the graveyard once again and showed Dad the famous graves. We also found the graves of Pickney, who signed both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, I think, and a guy whose last name is Vanderhorst and was born in 1859 and was one year older than Nathanial Graham (See 6/11/08). He died in 1816. He may have fought in the Revolution too. Maybe the two were friends? It's a possibility. We also went into the church itself. George Washington sat in pew 43, and I thought that was cool!
To end the day in town, we went to a Haagan Dazs store and got ice cream. It was really, really tasty. Then, we stopped by Harris-Teeters grocery store before taking the shuttle back. Back at the boat, Josh took sailing lessons in a both like Independence with an instructor, while I worked on the website with Mom. Today was great!
Friday, 6/13/08Day 132
Today was great! It's too bad that most good things have a downside, as today shows. Today had a major disappointment, but enough good things to pretty much outweigh it.
Mom woke me up and we got straight to getting ready for our day off the boat. We took the 8:00am marina shuttle to a bus stop at Mary & Meeting Sts. We got on bus 301 at 8:27am, right on time, and rode it all the way to a bus stop right by our cousin Angie's salon. There, we borrowed her car and drove to Barnes & Noble so Dad could get some internet access to do some work.
Then, we started driving towards Magnolia Plantation. By then it was lunchtime and we stopped at Chick-Fil-A. We then drove all the way to the plantation where we mostly toured famous gardens. This plantation was the plantation of the Drayton family, as well as Drayton Hall down the road. We didn't go into the house, which isn't original, but just toured the grounds and gardens. We spent a long time walking the paths through the flowery forest, around swampy lakes, and over magnificent bridges. We saw a good deal of wildlife, including egrets, herons, Anhinga, and even ½ dozen alligators!!
While we were in the gardens, it poured, but we were usually under some cover - either huge trees or beautiful gazebos - during the worst of the storm. Outside of the gardens, we watched a video about the plantation's history and saw a pasture full of ponies, peacocks, sheep, and geese. As we were leaving, we peeked at the row of Antebellum (pre-Civil War) slave cabins. It was kind of cool, but not totally.
From there, we dropped Mom off at Bellezza, Angie's salon, to get a manicure, pedicure and haircut. The 3 boys, on the other hand, went to the pool with Craig, Hailey, and Adam. We played for about an hour before going back to their house.
Later, we dropped Angie's car off at the salon and went to Craig's Pepperidge Farm trailer to pick up some snacks. He owns a route and the right to restock an area of stores with all Pepperidge Farm products. He buys the cookies, goldfish, crackers, and more from Pepperidge Farm and then sells them to the stores in his route. He gave us some snacks too. He filled a big box with little boxes/bags of goldfish, cookies, etc. just like you would buy at a store. We're going to end up eating junk food for our entire passage to Beaufort, NC!
From there we went to a baseball game. The Charleston Riverdogs are the class A minor league team for the New York Yankees, my favorite baseball team. We were going to buy tickets at the ballpark like Craig said they always do, but, for some odd reason, when we got there, the ticket booth lines were very long and tickets were sold out except for single seats (that wouldn't work because we were 8 people) and standing room (nobody wanted to stand all night). We were all very disappointed, especially Josh, who came up with the idea of going to a ballgame in the first place. I was definitely bummed as well, for I haven't been to a ballgame since last September 2007.
We decided to go to dinner at Bubba Gump's, a restaurant on S. Market St., known for shrimp. Bubba Gump's was good. Josh and I shared a shrimp platter which tasted good. We all talked for a long time after we finished dinner.
Craig drove us to the dinghy dock and we said our last good-byes. We will see them again in November when we come south. We will try to leave on an offshore passage tomorrow early - before I wake up. I hope we catch fish!
Saturday, 6/14/08Day 133
Mom and Dad were right when they said that we would be under way by the time I woke up. I woke up and we had just past Fort Sumter. It was calm and we were motoring. I was reading a magazine on saltwater fishing, and we decided to put out a Drone spoon lure, deadly o mackerel and good for other fish too. As we past through a trash line (a place where tides and currents come together and deposit flotsam) a Spanish Mackerel hit the spoon. We quickly steaked it before Josh even woke up.
By the time Josh woke up, we were offshore, motoring on a glassy calm sea. There was no wind. We got a call from some friends on s/v Lady Slipper on the radio to help them identify a fish. It was a Cobia! I wish we could have caught one of those. Later, we did catch a good fish. It was a little Mahi-Mahi cow. It hit a rigged Ballyhoo we were trolling. When it was right next to the boat, though, it jumped and spit the hook. I said that it was small anyway, but Dad said that it was dinner.
Towards evening, the wind picked up to 15kts., but barely disturbed the sea. We were able to sail at 7kts!! Later in the evening, another Mahi cow bit a Krocodile Spoon we were trolling. It was 22 in. and made it all the way to the fridge.
Just before Dad went to bed, some Atlantic Spotted Dolphins joined us for over half an hour. They really liked to ride the wake. They didn't just ride the bow wake on the surface, but went down next to the hull under water as well. We could tell who was in charge, an old male. The dolphins were doing something I've never seen before. The male in charge would slap his tail and other dolphins would come and go. We started with just one dolphin checking us out, but then, four more joined us. Later on, three more joined, including some younger ones. Then, those three went away and we had 5 again. After that, the numbers varied from 8 to 2. It ended with the original 5 dolphins and then they went away.
Today was perfect for passage and good all the way around. I'll stay up with Mom like usual. J
The Night of 6/14/08
I stayed up with Mom on watch until 10:45pm. Josh stayed up with us until about 10:00pm. Josh taught us how to play a card game called Knaves. We played one game of that, but it lasted a long time.
The moon was somewhere close to full, and it illuminated everything. It was so bright you couldn't see the stars! After Josh went to sleep, Mom and I talked for another 45 minutes before I had to go to sleep. She said se was going to stay up for 45 more minutes to let Dad sleep. This is a good passage.