ICW 523 to 586

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Beaufort, South Carolina (pronounced Bee-U-fert) is a very popular stopover. Cruisers anchor by the dozens just off the marina.
Beaufort Downtown Marina can be a little tricky approaching because the tidal flow is strong and slightly angled to the docks.  Have lots of fenders down!
Beaufort has invested heavily in their waterfront park.  Despite this, the costs for marina services and supplies were reasonable.
The open parkland is a great source of pride.  When we were there, the park was having a "Saturday Night Festival."  They had a large portable projection screen and showed free movies in the grass amphitheatre.
Nestled in a quiet corner was a War Memorial paying tribute to fallen heroes of war.  The three plaques honoured those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the Civil War, the Vietnam War and the Gulf War.
A silent structure bears witness to life on the river. As local fishermen cast nets off the pier, the scene evoked images of biblical stories of man's relentless pursuit of food.
For those who like architecture, Beaufort is a feast for the eyes.
The old and new are often blended, in some cases better than others.
This is the "main drag" were shops abound with all manner of trinkets.  Most is interesting, some is junk (eye of the beholder), but most is expensive.
Bonanza! The "Southern Sweets" Ice Cream Parlor is a walk into the past.  You can sit having a real old fashion soda at the counter, while listening to strains of Glenn Miller.
Underway again, we passed dozens of shrimp boats dragging nets.  This one, off Hilton Head, was just starting the process of hauling up their catch.
We stopped at the renowned Palmer Johnson Facility only to discover that there had been a hostile business takeover and it was now operating as "Thunderbolt Marina Inc."
We had a small ding in the rub rail from an encounter in the Murray Canal last summer.  The marina staff said that they were all one happy family now and someone would be over from the "Yard" to give us a quote.
We waited all day and most of the next morning for the "Yard."  When we had the marina call over again, we were informed that the yard wouldn't even bother to look at our job.
We wish Thunderbolt success in their new business servicing mega-yachts, but we won't be repeat business.
We went down the Wilmington River about 3 miles to Turner Creek where we contacted Sail Harbor Marina & Boatyard.  These people were very responsive to our needs and started work immediately.
This is a nice marina undergoing major renovations to the boatyard.  There is a 30 ton travel lift and crane.  At present there is no fuel but there is a small chandlery, showers and a laundry is planned too.
The thing we appreciated the most was that the people had the right attitude.  They don't want to be the cheapest, but they do want to be the friendly faces you'll come back to time and again.
An example:  Randy Weibel, Boatyard Manager, puts a new vinyl rub rail strip onto Meridian Chaser's hull on a Sunday afternoon. We were pleased with the work and the price was fair too.