Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Southward bound continues

Haven't made too many entries, yet we have covered some distance after Beaufort. We hit a couple of anchorages as well as Southport, NC and then Myrtle Beach and we are now in Georgetown, SC. Each stop had something different to offer. Southport was a quaint fishing town with a nice main street and lots to do and see. We rented a car and drove up to Williamsport to do a tour of the battleship North Carolina. When you get on those ships you realize how small you are. It is a city unto itself. They have everything on board to sustain their existence while out to sea. They even had a barber shop along with dentist, doctor and a full operating room. Their machine shop was magnificent. It was amazing to see how they loaded the cannons with shells and powder. The ship was decommissioned and was going to be scrapped, but local politicians and some citizens made an effort to have it saved and rest in Williamsport as a museum. This was definitely a great tour. 
After 2 days in Southport our next stop on land was Myrtle Beach. The marina, Barefoot Landing, was great, but this was not one of my favorite stops for things to see or do. We did have dinner in the House of Blues and if you enjoy golfing this is the place to be. So we relaxed, got some provisions and moved on later the next day to a wonderful anchorage off the Waccamaw River. This river, as well as the Pee Dee, Santee and Black River,  had a great impact on the rice industry in this area. Georgetown, SC was our stop after anchoring out and this is a lovely town. The people are welcoming and the town has significant history. Their biggest crop before the Revelutionary War was indigo. They grew it and made blue dye from it and shipped it to Britain for use to dye the material for their navy uniforms. Unfortunately the start of the Revolutionary War ended the industry since Britain would no longer purchase their product. They then resorted to growing rice. This area was the premier supplier of "Carolina Gold" rice around the world. The Civil War ended that and the local land owners abandoned rice production because it was very labor intensive requiring inexpensive slave labor and once the slaves were freed, they couldn't afford to pay them. Eighty-five percent of the population were black slaves who worked on the plantations. Interestingly none of the blacks were affected by malaria because most of them had sickle cell anemia. I have not found out yet why this happens. At that time people did not know malaria was caused by mosquitos. They thought it was brought on by the heat in the summer, so the plantation owners would move out to the shore in the summer where it was cooler. What they didn't know was that the mosquitos stayed in the swamps and did not venture to the cool ocean air and that is why they were not inflicted.
Most of us who travel south on I-95 have passed this area many times, but we are in such a hurry to get to our destination we fail to stop and take in the tremendous amount of history in this region. I could go on forever here, but I don't want to spoil you visit. 

On the deck of the USS North Carolina

Halloween in Southport, NC

Self explanatory 

They should do a little paint job on this one,

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