Charleston, SC at St Johns Yacht Harbor Marina

Weather report via Facebook friends (loopers just north of us ) –warnings of us severe wind and rain storms!   Quick decision to stay an extra night on the mooring ball in Beaufort, SC.  Hoping the storms move out of the area before we approach Charleston.

Heading out in a swift tidal current April 25 at 7:15 am, we made good time and arrived at the Church Creek anchorage by 3pm.  having logged 49.4 miles.  With light winds, intermittent showers and only 60 degrees;  it was with heavy hearts that the sweatshirts , jeans and “gasp”….  Shoes were dug out for the day.
An indication we are traveling due east- the makeshift sun shade in the early morning!
Charleston Stomo river  The river was calm and so quiet that we woke up during the night to make sure the boat was still floating (and not sitting on the bottom).     Typically with the waves and currents slapping against our hull, we get used to the constant sound of water.     Overall it was a quiet and peaceful anchorage, according to plan, we were up with the sun to take advantage of the tide to give us a boost of current and depth as we head for Charleston South Carolina.

The tide and current charts for this area indicated a 8 foot tide swing.  That much water movement brings swirling fast moving currents as the waters switch directions from ebb to flood.  We want to dock the boat at slack tide.   This is the half hour of lull in water movement between the water coming in and when it starts to recede.  With 17.5 miles to our destination, we expect to travel about 7 mph and need to arrive at 9:15 according to the marina contact.    We arrived right on time; however the information given to us was for the previous day.  The tides change about an hour each day with the moon cycle….    It was a bit turbulent in the marina, so we tied up to the end T dock for 40 minutes before actually maneuvering into the assigned slip.    Just to be on the safe side and it paid off.     Over the next few days, we watched boaters struggle to get into slips- throwing dock lines wildly;  banging into pillars or being swept sideways with too much current.   Better safe than sorry
If you live in a tide zone your dock may look like this- long enough to span the mudflats at low tide!

Charleston Stomo river Charleston Stomo river

This marina is about 15 minutes from downtown Charleston and kind of middle of no where.   We liked the price, the good reviews and free courtesy car.    It is quiet and also has a swimming pool!
charleston SC by boat It also has the tides- here you can see high tide on the pillars then low tide.  The ramps and floating docks slide up and down  the pillars.  At high tide you might hit your head on the fuel dock sign; at low tide it towers over the dock!  charleston SC by boat

St Johns Yacht Harbor tides                  St Johns Yacht Harbor tides St Johns Yacht Harbor tides



The first day we signed up for the courtesy car and went to the visitor center to get brochures.  I have never seen so many marketing brochures- this town had tours for every interest.

This is not a complete list, just a sampling of the tours:

  •   pub tours
  • architecture tours
  • garden tours
  • plantation tours
  • walking tours
  • food tours
  • ghost tours
  • horse drawn tours
  • bus tours
  • There is even a free bus servicing the downtown area, plus a water taxi and uber drivers.    

 With all these choices, we went the budget route and walked the city.   Every corner had tourists with a camera and a map in hand, so we fit right in.   The historic district is quite compact- think about the early settlers and how they would have constructed the roads and shops with in a short distance of the water front.     Much has been added over the years, and I wont try to give a history lesson, but suffice to say there is a lot of interesting things to see and do in Charleston!


A sign of hospitality is to display the pineapple.    They are used often as a motif in the gates, fences or art.    Here is the Pineapple Water Fountain near the water front park.  The signs invite you to wade ankle deep, but no swimming or climbing!

charleston SC by boat



Steeped in history, Charleston provides a glimpse into its past- preserving buildings and monuments and museums.    The early settlers, the  American Revolution and Civil War.      The prosperous years  of cotton and Rice made Charleston one of the main colonial ports of the 18th century, dealing in rice, indigo and slave trade.   It must be a challenge to strive for any balance in representing such a varied history- providing a public display of any understanding of that American past and its legacy.


The city of Charleston has abundant examples of ornate wrought iron gates, fences and balcony railings.    According to the history movie at the visitor center, much of  the iron was done by Slave Craftsmen.   Owners would have the slaves work at various trades in the off season of the plantations.     While fires destroyed many buildings over the years, much of the old iron work was saved and reused during the rebuilding of Charleston.

charleston SC by boat       charleston SC by boat charleston SC by boat charleston SC by boat

This town is perfect for practicing photography- every nook and cranny offers a glimps of something to compose a photo.

Charleston Iron Gates       Charleston Iron Gates


Continuing on our self guided tour, we took a peak through garden gates to get a glimpse of what was hidden beyond.    There are walking tours dedicated to the passages, alleys and hidden corners of the city to view courtyards and gardens barely visible from the sidewalks….    mmmm….  sounds intriguing.

charleston SC by boat     charleston SC by boat
charleston SC by boat     Charleston Iron Gates Charleston Iron Gates


The self guided walking tour booklet we purchased at the visitor center was helpful as we wandered up and down the cobblestone streets.    Opting for a self guided tour worked out well.     While at the Market, Colleen noticed several paintings and photos of “Rainbow Row” and “the Pink House”.    These were two addresses we searched out to get our own photos!      Each are historical buildings and easily recognizable landmarks.

charleston SC by boat      charleston SC by boat

Its early spring in Charleston, with the magnolia trees just starting to bloom, the streets often have the aroma of jasmine wafting toward the sidewalks, and many of the window boxes are in full bloom.   Very inviting, and a very “walkable” city.

Charleston Iron Gates

At risk of overload on the photos, I will stop here for now- check back as we continued to explore the city for two more days- learning the history of slavery at the Slave Mart museum,  visiting the Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, and more.   Thanks for reading and stay tuned!





About mnsailors

Our blog will highlight our travels along America's Great Loop. We sold our sailboat on Lake Superior for a Trawler to do America's Great Loop in 2016.
This entry was posted in Architecture and Gardens, Atlantic ICW, Monuments and Side trips, Moon Shadow Log and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Charleston, SC at St Johns Yacht Harbor Marina

  1. Tammi says:

    Make sure to go to the only thing free in Charlestown the
    Distillery tour lots of free samples and they send you the recipes
    Enjoy! Tammi and Mike on S/V Songlines


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