It is byoofort1, thank you very much. It is beautiful. The people are fantastic. But the best find? A Kazoo factory!
Start: Isle of Hope Marina, just outside Savannah, GA, 0645
End: Beaufort, SC municipal marina mooring field, 1620
Total Distance: 45.9 nm
Average Speed: 4.6 kts
It was a bit of a strange trip to Beaufort, SC this morning. We got an early start from our marina in Savannah–we were out before 7am. The currents were wicked against us for the first four miles, then would be with us for four miles and then we would get to the one bridge that needed to raise for us on the day. It goes up on the hour; we won’t make the 0800, so target the 0900. But I just can’t leave it alone. I think if we get just a little help from the current and we max out the engines, we may make the 8am lift! So I race the engines, then look at the ETA on the chart plotter and see the time never gets below 0810. I slow down. Then repeat. About four times until Jan tells me to chill out. We end up moving on one engine at 2mph until we get to the bridge at 0900. Up it goes and we are off. Leaving Georgia and heading to South Carolina. The trip is filled mostly with the sights of the rivers; pelicans, big ships, crab pots and associated crab boats, and stretches of homes followed by stretches of wilderness.
There are two very different major landmarks on the way to Beaufort, both towards the end of the day. The first is Hilton Head, off on our right hand side, and from our perspective, just another dock/marina in a series of docks/marinas. But over there is paradise. Luxurious resorts, great golf courses, beaches for suntanning and water for fishing. Just a little bit north and on the left side of our boat (port in the boat parlance), is Parris Island. Home of Marine Corps boot camp, east coast. A different type of resort; quarters shared with a bunch of your closest personal friends, green grass over which one can low crawl, beaches onto which one can throw their body, water from which one can emerge to hit said beaches. We couldn’t hear the scream of agony from the boat, but assume that they were happening. My father recalls fondly his time on Parris island. Says it was the best time he had in his life. Or something like that.
We arrived at the Beaufort Municipal Marina late afternoon. We were staying in the mooring field because it is cheap and daddy likes cheap. Jan and AJ stuck the landing once again and we were tied up. Checked into the marina and AJ and I did a recon of the town in preparation for our follow operations the next day. We successfully found an ice cream shop, deemed the ice cream ‘acceptable,’ and found some potential lunch spots for the next day.
May day and we all slept in until 9am. Managed to make it to shore and begin exploring the town by 11. Bottom line for Beaufort is it is gorgeous. If you like architecture, there are old, huge mansions all over town. If you like movies, check out all the places that have been featured in a ton of films (“Forrest Gump,” “The Big Chill,” and any of the Pat Conroy novels made into movies to name a few). If you like talking to people, just walk around for five minutes. Someone will strike up a conversation with you. And not a short “hey, how ya doing,” but a no kidding conversation that will last about two minutes longer than your available time.2 If you are a history buff, come on down. Pick your war fought in the United States, and you can find something here that will float your boat. If you like literature, Pat Conroy called this home and there is a place you can visit (Thurs-Sun, so we missed it). And all of this in a relatively small package–we could walk to a ton of stuff from the marina. This really is a fantastic place to visit.
But the coup de gras, the cream of the cake, the thing that really put Beaufort on a pedestal was the Kazoo factory.3 And I kid you not. They have the plastic Kazoo factory only three miles from downtown marina!
For those of you not in the know, a kazoo is a musical instrument. Kind of in the same way a whoopy cushion is a musical instrument. AJ and I showed up at 3:50pm, sign said they gave tours until 4:00pm. We batted our eyes and made moo-moo noises and they agreed to give us a tour. The facility in which we stood processed over 1,000,000 kazoos a year. The plastic pieces are made in Tampa, FL, shipped to Beaufort and the kazoos are assembled by hand and shipped to their final destination. We watched two movies, got a tour of where they assemble the kazoos, watched a demo of the process, got to make our own personalized kazoos and brought them back to the boat where we have been annoying the absolute stuffings out of Jan. For those of you questioning my parenting skills (and really no reason why you shouldn’t), it was a really good education in manufacturing; how they get supplies, turn into a ‘thing’ and then send to the consumer. The ’thing’ in this case, being a noise maker.4
Jan wasted zero time in making sure that we understand that the amount of time the noise makers stay on the boat is inversely proportional to the amount of time that she hears them being played. I’m thinking a banjo/kazoo duet is on the horizon. I also think we will pick up a set of bag pipes and complete the ‘annoying musical instrument’ trifecta.
1Byoofort. Or Buuuuuu-fort. Not Boh-fort. Or Ausfart for that matter. Boh-fort is in North Carolina. Same spelling different pronunciation. Ausfart is German for exit and found on signs on the autobahn. Nothing to do with either town, but good information if you find yourself on the Autobahn in Germany.
2And then you have to break off the conversation and feel like a complete ass. Even if you have been going strong for 30 minutes. Still feels like you are letting them down. Even Jan was caught up on the whole ‘talking to strangers’ thing, at one point surrounded by a pack of southerners interested in just about everything in her life. It required a serious amount of alone time (and wine) for her to recover.
3You thought we were going to give you something cultural? Historic? If so, you haven’t been following along very closely.
4There was a sign in the shop that showed the ‘sweet spot’ for music coming from a Kazoo. I’ve attached the particular part of the poster. I think that bell curve is entirely too tall. And wide. The ‘music’ portion of the poster should be very, very, very small.