We’ve been averaging about 5 miles of walking a day, so we woke up sloooowly today! It was another glorious, hot, humid day in South Carolina, and we have loved every single day of it. It’s shown me, dude, you need to lose some weight. Carrying twenty extra pounds just amplifies the heat, but yet, it felt good. My wife said the same thing, that the heat just felt natural to her.
Anyway, after our slow rise and shine, our breakfast in the magical courtyard, we started walking. The plan, a water taxi across the harbor to see what we could see! $12 a day for all the rides back and forth you wanted? Sign me up! It’s a pontoon boat, so nothing too luxurious, but it suited our needs quite nicely. As we crossed, a container boat was coming down the river, stacked 10 high (semi containers) at least 10 across that we could see. That’s a lot of stuff! As we crossed the river, we came up on Patriots Point, home of the USS Yorktown, an Essex class aircraft carrier, the USS Laffey, a World War II era destroyer, and the USS Clamagore, the only remaining Balao class diesel powered submarine.
So, we plopped down our money, and took a step back in time, to World War II, The Korean Conflict, and Vietnam. The USS Yorktown was used in battles during World War II, given the name after another Yorktown was sunk during the Battle of Midway. She was refitted twice, one to play in role in the Korean Conflict, a second time to play a role in Vietnam. She’s been in movies, picked up the Apollo 8 astronauts, and it was a thrill to see her in all her glory! We got to go through several different self-guided tours, see WWII era fighters, jet fighters, and attack helicopters, getting a sense of just how big she was.
Next, the Laffey, better know as “The Ship Who Wouldn’t Sink”, was first used during D-Day to as a support vessel. She was assigned to the Pacific Fleet, and was part of a sea battle that saw her absorb four bombs, six kamikaze hit, and various strafing runs. She was involved in the Korean Conflict, and was in the Mediterranean Sea during the Cold War. It was a treat to see where the captain sat, how small the bunks were, and just be a witness to this ship’s history.
The final stop, a tour of the Clamagore, Balao class submarine. She didn’t see any action in any conflicts, but was part of NATO exercises in the 1960s and did a tour of duty with the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean. The cool this about this boat, how small you had to be. My wife is 5’4″ and myself 5’11”. We struggled through some of the cabin areas and doorways. It gave you a sense of how tight the quarters were for these men, and when underwater, how much more confined they must have felt. It takes a special kind of person to be a submariner, this is for certain!
On our way back to Charlestown, we saw another porpoise, which made the water taxi worth the cost right there! As we got back, talk to turned to supper. Where do we go and how do we finish off our time here in Charleston? Our first stop, though, the City Market at Night. The City Market, on Market Street (duh), is home to a whole bunch of local artists, weavers, and sellers of stuff. I looked long and hard for something to remind us of our trip, but couldn’t find anything, however, that’s not to say there wasn’t a bunch of neat things! We did get our daughters, sterling silver earrings, with the design of two different church gates which were neat. We walked down the market just as it was getting started, and made a point to stop back later.
A decision was to head back to the waterfront and try Fleet Landing, another local hotspot, know for their seafood. We wandered down the waterfront and found Fleet Landing with a gazillion people running around and a 50 minute wait. No problem, so went up to the bar, ordered drinks, and decided to have a half pound of “peel and eat” shrimp. We’d tried to find a place that had a bucket of these shrimp, like what was ordered in A House on Tradd Street, but alas, we failed. The two places we ordered them, they came chilled and neatly arranged, not they didn’t taste good. Goodness, they were delicious, but that’s one of the things we’d hoped to to do.
As we sat there, we struck up a conversation with another couple, and suddenly, our table was ready, and we weren’t! We continue to talk (they both grew up in the area) about local spots, our kids, and it was just nice (they were on their first “date” in a year and a half). We parted ways feeling good about the food, the drinks, and the company we’d kept today.
It was getting dark, we had to be up early as our flight left at 9:00 Saturday morning, so our stroll took us all the way down to Battery Park, then up Meeting Street. We’ve got some awesome pictures of the older houses in the twilight hours, and we just wrapped ourselves up in each other and the humidity and the history of what was around us. We stopped at the hotel quick, then went down to the market one last time as well. Things had livened up considerably, with live music and just a different crowd than during the daytime. The vendors smiled to their customers, and we heard more Southern accents and “y’alls” which made us smile.
It was last, we were tired, so it was one last look around and back to our hotel.
The trip home is will be the final chapter in this saga. I’ve gotten behind because of stuff happening here, but it will be published on Monday. 🙂