12/3/20 to 12/27/20: Twinkle, Twinkle

We've called Beaufort, SC, home for the past three weeks. It has been a good stay. While we are basically in quarantine mode wherever we go, Beaufort has welcomed us with its beautiful water views, good takeout and InstaCart service, a walkable waterfront, quaint downtown, and a small, friendly marina. All very nice. We also rented a car a couple times to see more of the area -- Lady's Island, Bluffton, Hilton Head. But the highlight of our stay? We got a good look at the historic conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn on December 21 and 22. And it was cool.

We wondered if we would be able to see it at all. Much of the East Coast north of us has been dealing with real winter. We didn't see any snowflakes here but the gloom and rain we did get would have spoiled the stargazing. Fortunately, clear skies returned for solstice.

Not long after sunset, pink still on the horizon, I looked up from our aft deck and there was a single bright pinprick of light in the evening sky. I am no astronomer but I knew it had to be it. Mark grabbed the binoculars for a closer look, and that's when the magic happened. That lone little twinkle was, in fact, two little twinkles. Two separate planets cozied up to each other in seeming defiance of the several hundred million miles that still separated them. Jupiter shone brighter than Saturn as it is "closer" to earth, but both were mere specks. 

Specks or not, for us earthlings it felt like a celestial extravaganza, a sign of hope for better days ahead. It certainly gave new meaning to the phrase, "when the stars line up." And the next night we got to see it all over again.

That tiny speck in the sky was a big deal.

Fire in the sky. Beaufort Harbor.

Safe Harbor Beaufort. Our temporary home marina.

Beaufort has done a beautiful job making their waterfront accessible and enjoyable for everyone. 

Heading home after the walk.

The story of Beaufort's Robert Smalls is inspiring. Born enslaved, he became a free man during the Civil War and eventually purchased his master's home. He went on to serve in Congress, was a successful businessman and created and supported education for young African Americans. The inscription on his bust bears repeating: "My race needs no special defense, for the past history of them in this country proves them to be the equal of any people anywhere. All they need is an equal chance in the battle of life."

Small Southern town -- pure charm. Church bells here still ring out the hours of the day.

Swings on the waterfront!

Dinghy ride.

Our own paradise island.

Characters.

More pretty.

The bridge to Lady's Island opens on request to tall-masted sailboats. Instant traffic jam in the little downtown.

Never enough sunset photos. 

Now this is lowcountry. 

A tree full of crows, becoming less so with every step I took toward it.

The Garden-Garvey House on the May River in downtown Bluffton, SC, was owned by freed slaves.

Bluffton waterfront.

Mother Nature's version of Christmas decor in the South. Holly berries mingling with Spanish moss. Beautiful.

We're lucky to have such gorgeous views from the boat and marina.



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