Charleston, USA – 07:00 to 17:00
Our first visit to South Carolina and today we have booked a tour on a horse drawn carriage, meandering around the streets of historic downtown Charleston, where most of the buildings date from the 1800’s. While the tour was rather brief, on completion I headed out on foot retracing the tour’s track plus a few additional miles. This permitted an opportunity to not only view the historic buildings, but actually read the historical information attached to many of the homes.
Temperature: High 31C/88F, Low 25C/77F (today was definitely at or above the forecast high)
Wind/Weather: Light Airs, fine and clear
Clox: Z-4 (no change)
During the early hours of the morning, Sea Princess maintained SW’ly courses along the South Carolina coast, at a speed of 18 kts, before altering NW toward the pilot station and entrance to the river. The pilot boarded at 05:30, and Sea Princess maintained various NW’ly courses and speed through the buoyed channel, before arriving off the berth shortly before 07:00. The Captain swung the ship 180 degrees off the dock and secured Stbd side alongside the Union Pier Berth.
About 17:00 the Captain let the lines go and thrust Sea Princess off the berth and into the channel. Various courses and speeds were set through the buoyed channel towards the pilot station, where the pilot disembarked shortly after 18:00. Sea Princess set a SE’ly course down the coast towards Florida and the Caribbean Sea, to our next port of call in Curacao.
Charleston, in South Carolina is located in Charleston Bay, which is an inlet at the mouth of the Ashley and Cooper Rivers. It is the oldest and 2nd largest city in the State.
Founded in 1670 as Charles Town, in honour of the British King Charles II, it adopted the current name in 1783. Renowned for its rich history, architecture and good manners, it was America’s most friendly city in 2011, 2013 and 2014.
I had hoped to be out forward taking photographs during arrival, but sunrise wasn’t until 06:30, which was shortly before docking. We were both up early, so headed down to the restaurant when it opened at 07:00, sitting at a table with another couple from Sydney, who boarded in Southampton. Again the porridge was served hot, but my well done toast came as warm bread, so it got returned for a couple of new slices that actually spent some time in the toaster. Otherwise, it was a pleasant breakfast and great conversation.
We headed down to the Princess Theatre for the tour report time of 08:55. The tour department’s arrangements were again exceptional, with the terminal throwing a curve in that only 3 buses can be accommodated at any time. Rather than have passengers milling around ashore, they established groups of 3 bus loads and escorted them to the gangway. Once 3 buses we loaded, departed and 3 new buses arrived, they made arrangements to escort another 3 bus loads of passengers down to the gangway. As a result, the disembarkation was somewhat slower than usual, but we sat comfortably in the theatre watching the reflections video, which is preferable to standing ashore waiting for the bus or carriage. Yet again, top marks to the excellent tour department.
I will complete a separate post on the tour and our wanderings around Charleston. After the tour we split up, with Judi looking in the shops and me walking around the downtown streets for about 3 hours. We both got back to the ship about the same time, shortly after 14:30. Judi had overly stressed her back, so needed some rest and relaxation. We departed Charleston about 17:00 and we got a great view of the departure and river transit from our balcony.
As we thrust off the berth and backed up into the buoyed channel this was the view looking astern up the Cooper River to the container port and North Charleston.
One of the Pelicans floating around the ship looking for fish disturbed by the ship’s propeller wash. We saw a number diving into the water, but unfortunately the only photographs I got was the resultant splash.
Heading down the buoyed channel looking astern at the marina, aircraft carrier museum and bridge.
We were escorted out to sea by an armed US Coastguard RIB, which actively shepherded small boats out of the channel and escorted them until clear of Sea Princess. We did see a number of signs throughout the town wanting to ban cruise ships, so they seem to have an active anti-cruise ship lobby. In Fort Lauderdale we also get a Coastguard escort, but most of the time they just follow the ship. The RIB this afternoon was busy the entire transit.
A selection of the more modest mega waterfront homes, which were about half way down the river. Note that each has their own dock jutting out into the river.
Approaching the mouth, the houses increased in size substantially; however, they didn’t have any docks jutting out into the river.
More waterfront mega homes, with a condo/marina complex on the river behind the mega homes.
The buoyed channel continues well out to sea. Here is one example where the Coastguard raced ahead to clear small vessels out of the channel. One has already departed across the bow and the Coastguard is convincing the other one to also depart.
Cooper River lighthouse and the South Carolina coastline.
A close quarters passing in the buoyed channel outside the river.
The buoyed channel continued for many miles out to sea. We passed to the right of the buoy ahead, with the sandbank and breakers visible outside the buoy.
After departure we flicked through the TV channels and the lecture on the weird properties of H2O that I missed yesterday was being rerun. Great lecture, well presented with tons of information. David is originally a Brit, but lived in Rhodesia for many years before emigrating to Australia, where he currently resides. He is a research chemist, but also worked extensively in industry, so carries the designation Chartered Scientist, which differentiates him from scientists that remain in university environments. He explained why ice floats in water, where other solids sink in their own liquid. He also explained the latest theories of how water arrived on earth. Thoroughly enjoyable and informative, so I will endeavour to attend most of his future lectures.
Dinner this evening was well attended with only one of the new ladies taking a rain check. The main course was braised lamb shank, which the last time was exceptionally cooked so the meat literally fell off the bone and melted in your mouth. Unfortunately, this evening it wasn’t as tender as the previous time we had this menu. After dinner, most including Judi headed straight to bed, so it was only Viv and I that headed to Princess Theatre for the show. This evening’s show was billed as Paul Tanner, who is a singer impressionist. His first song was Delilah by Tom Jones, unfortunately he sounded nothing like Tom Jones. While he is an excellent singer, with a powerful voice and large range, his first few songs sounded nothing like the original artists. Then he got to Neil Diamond and Sweet Caroline, and wow, much better than his previous impressions. He belted out a couple of Neil Diamond, finishing with a couple of Elvis hits. In summary, a great high energy and upbeat performance, but really, he should give up the impressions and sing as himself. Will definitely be back for his next performance.
As another day closes, we bid you farewell, till tomorrow and hope for fair skies and following seas.