Wed. Nov. 7, 2012—Day 36:
Destination: Savannah—Turner Creek (Mile 585.5)
Winds: NE about 10K, decreasing midday to calm after sunset
Weather: cold with H= 56F & L=38F, partially sunny & cloudy in am to sun in pm
A cold night but warm in bed with multiple layers & cold in the morning. A treat for breakfast for a change—french toast. Graeme insisted in tying the dinghy up at Hogan’s Marina for $10.00, despite the invite to stay next door for free. We walked across the road from the Publix to the #10 CAT (Chatham Area Transit) bus stop for 0830 hrs.; it basically runs every hour on the half hour & takes approximately 1 hour to reach downtown at Martin Luther King & Broughton St. I thought I had put on warm clothes but not; I’m freezing & could have used a turtleneck, scarf & gloves for heaven’s sake. Due to the cold temps & cold breeze we walked in & out of heated shops on River St., had lunch at 1300 hrs. at ‘Anna’s’ on City Market (soup & hot chocolate), then went our separate ways after lunch; Graeme went to the Ships of the Sea Museum & ? & I walked to 14 out of the 24 squares & parks & their surrounding historic homes; I bought an ice cream at ‘Leopolds’ (E. Broughton & Abercon). I hope to be back to visit in the Spring. We met up at 1510 hrs. at City Market, then caught the #10 CAT bus at 1530 hrs. Milk & bread were purchased at the Publix on our walk home. Jack & Donna had arrived & were anchored in front of us. A social was held on SCT. They will travel with us probably until they meet up with Doug Patterson then Cherry Stobie about Nov. 20-25th. A cloudy but calm night.
Destination: Savannah—Turner Creek (Mile 585.5) to Wahoo River (Mile 630)
Departure: 0746 hrs. Arrival: 1430 hrs. Distance: 44.5 SM
Winds: NWàN 3-10K
Weather: bright sunny & blue sky, H=63F & L=upper 30’s & probable freeze warning
Damn cold! It’s a good thing that the sun was out in all it’s glory. We left the anchorage at low tide to Skidway Narrows, a twisting stretch of the ICW, weaving back & forth around curves & bends. We met a barge dragging 1200 ft. of piping, assisted by 2 tugs on a bend of Skidway Narrows. We had an opening of the Skidway Narrows Bridge (bascule- Mile 592.9) on request as we were outside of the closed am hours, which led us into Burnside River, then Vernon River (wide & deep) towards Ossabaw Sound. We entered Hell’s Gate, a man made cut from the Vernon River to Ogeechee River, 1-1/2 hrs. past low tide on a rising tide; the shallowest depth we say was 7ft. 4 in. & now we were running with the tide X 3 mi. trek. The Ogeechee River is Georgia’s 2nd largest river & leads to Florida Passage, then Bear River; both run the length of Ossabaw Island, one of Georgia’s 8 major sea islands. Then the ICW enters the wide open waters of St. Catherine Sound which thankfully was calm today. This route was amidst miles & miles of undeveloped marsh & woodlands but multitude of streams & anchorages that are mostly deep & behind a chain of mostly undeveloped barrier islands with swift currents & tidal ranges averaging 8 ft., thus keeping the bottoms of these creeks scoured out & deep. This area has a charm of it’s own that has to be experienced to understand. The best & most attractive anchorages are those close to wooded high ground. At Mile 623 we entered North Newport River, into Johnson Creek snaking around this deep natural channel to South Newport River & Wahoo River at Mile 630. The Wahoo River was a new anchorage for us. The tide was still rising as we anchored around the 1st bend behind trees. It was a very peaceful & tranquil spot. ‘Kathrian’ & ‘SCT’ were #2 & #3 boats in a total of 6 boats here for the night. We were setting ourselves up for running the infamously shoaling Little Mud River at nothing less than mid rising high tide, so a late start was planned tomorrow. Jack took his dinghy to the sand beach for a look see, then he & Donna were over for a few drinks & nibblies. Lynn & Larry phoned with a report of their passage through this caution area today. What a spectacular sunset! And a calm cool night with stars filling the sky.
Destination: Wahoo River (Mile 630) to Frederica River (Mile 670)
Departure: 0940 hrs. Arrival: 1545 hrs. Distance: 40 SM
Winds: so very light direction undeterminable but probably NW
Weather: brilliant sun, brilliant blue sky
A warmer night than last, despite the forecast for a frost warning. The tealights & kerosene lamps but also the never used propane heater was set up which was “cut on” & “cut off” intermittently. Apparently I missed an amazing sunrise as I lay in bed since we were not leaving till near mid morning. When I did haul me butt out of bed there were 3 small fishing boats fishing with fishing nets. It was about a 23 miles to Little Mud River so we up anchored earlier than planned & crossed Sapelo Sound which was flat with only ripples. Sapelo Island was owned by a rich tobacco owner & now is an outstanding research center, affiliated with the University of Georgia’s Marine Institute. We travelled W along the Sapelo River, then SW into the Front River (narrow & deep mid channel, except when approaching G155 (7.1 ft.), followed by Creighton Narrows (surprisingly heavily deep wooded timberbanks), briefly acrossed Crescent River, then SW on Old Teakettle Creek, N on New Teakettle Creek , SE across Dolboy Sound (wide) X 1.1 NM, W into the sheltered North River, SW to the problematic shoaling Little Mud River but out timing was good as planned as depths at the north end was 13-14 ft., mid 12 ft. & south end 9.8-10 ft. We exited into Altamaha River & Sound as a barge & tug were approaching. Shortly after passing Buttermilk Sound we abandoned the ICW &entered the north entrance of the Frederica River & cruised this alternate route off the ICW to Fort Frederica, anchoring in 20 ft. with 80 ft. of chain; more picturesque. What a stunning setting! We went ashore with Donna & Jack & walked the ruins of the fort & the old town of Frederica; highly recommended. We picked what looked like oranges but tasted like grapefruits from a tree as we headed back. Happy Hour on ‘Kathrian’ & planned our departure time in the morning, in accordance to passing through another caution area at Jekyll Creek. I still want to tour St. Simon & Jekyll Island & was promised in the Spring. Another tremendous sunset & clear night sky. Looking west we saw the city lights of Brunswick most likely but to the east a very rural setting, no lights & only stars+++ & later a skiver on moon that was positioned in the sky like a bowl.
Destination: Frederica River (Mile 670) to Cumberland Island (Mile 711)
Departure: 0720 hrs. Arrival: 1505 hrs. Distance: 41 SM
Winds: variable, from 0 this am to 5-12K this pm
Weather: not a cloud around, only sun & blue sky
A light mist hung over the marsh grasses as we continued our wending route through the Frederica River to it’s southern end, being cautious of the shoal at the exit into the MacKay River & G241 (2 hrs. past high tide). There were many sounds of wildlife from the marshes last evening & this morning. A big cargo ship was anchored in St. Simon Sound leading out to the very calm Atlantic. Slowly we progressed through Jekyll Creek at mid falling tide; the shallowest depth we saw was 8 ft. We pulled in & tied up at Jekyll Harbor Marina for fuel, water & garbage disposal. The staff were so very friendly & polite. The marina is equipped with a restaurant, restrooms, a pool for guests only, 3 showers, laundry facilities (2 washers= $.175, 2 dryers= $ 1.75) & a courtesy car. Although we did not qualify for the courtesy car, they allowed us to use it to quickly run into a nearby grocery store. The IGA grocery store (well stocked), liquor store, gift shop, hair salon, & variety store were housed in separate temporary buildings. All were located by a bike trail & on a wonderful beach (hard packed sand; walking & shelling). The new Convention Center took their location. Any day construction of a main street with these shops on either side will begin. We must return in the Spring for a longer time. I phoned Mom since I had not been in contact with my family in a while. We actually had a short but nice sail out St. Andrew Sound to R32. DO NOT GIVE R32 A WIDE BERTH AS THE BOOKS SAY; this is wrong as it was getting more & more shallow (7.4 ft.) by doing so. TREAT R32 AS A GREEN MARK! There were no wild horses wandering the beaches of Little Cumberland Island as we passed. And this was the rest of our route to our destination: Cumberland Riverà Cumberland Dividings (stay off R60, 60A, 62)à Kings Bayà Cumberland Sound, turning to port at R34 into the anchorage. We anchored just past the 2nd dock, location of the Sea Camp Office, in 20 ft. & 100 ft. chain. We dinghied to see Lynn & Larry who had arrived earlier today; Tom (Polar Pacer, met 2 yrs. ago in the Exumas) & Jack dropped by. The anchorage was filling in; boats about 40-50 b Tonight we had the reddest horizon you could imagine. The night sky was clear & filled with stars till bedtime, then there was partial cloud cover.
Sun. Nov. 11, 2012—Day 40:
Destination: Cumberland Island (Mile 711), our island touring day
Winds: very calm, E < 5K
Weather: light cloud cover on waking, but by mid am the sun appeared, then full sunshine & blue skies.
Happy Veterans Day!
A calm & quiet night. So after rising a ton of dolphins between us & the Drum Point Island gave us a show for a good 10 min. I decided to invite all our travelling guests over for supper tonight. Since chicken was the only meat I had to accommodate 6, I prepared chicken marengo. The galley was cleaned, we showered & then off to shore soon after 1000 hrs. to tour this wonderful, natural wild island. Graeme had hoped to buy a senior lifetime membership for $10.00, giving free access to US National Parks + 3 guests. Unfortunately the office was without the registration papers. But being Veterans Day the admission fee of $4.00 was waived for all guests. We walked the Atlantic beach; low tide & tons of shells had been swept onshore + carcasses of horseshoe crabs except for 1 live on + 3 wild horses right before our eyes; they allowed us to get very close to them. We picked up the guided ranger tour (1000 hrs. & 1245 hrs.) that began at the ice house. Donna & Jack were wise as they had made sandwiches & share them with me. This day was a highlight for me! ‘Sweet Chariot Too’ hosted supper for the 6 of us & I think all went well. Donna & Jack brought smoked oysters served over cream cheese on dark German bread (delicious) & Lynn & Larry brought freshly baked brownies (devoured). You think we had never eaten in days. Another calm night in Cumberland Island under partially clear skies.
Mon. Nov. 12, 2012—Day 41:Destination: Cumberland Island (Mile 711) to Fernandina Beach (Mile 716.5)
Departure: 0850 hrs. Arrival: 1030 hrs. Distance: 5.5K
Winds: SE about 5-8K
Weather: grey, gloomy & warm, bursts of rain & even occasional sunny breaks, H=low 70’s & L= low 60’s
A short day just moving basically from the north side of Cumberland Sound to the south side, crossing St. Mary’s River & leaving the Golden Isle region of Georgia it’s state border into the First Coast region of Florida, named such because it was the first area settled. We past Fort Clinch (built in 1847 to protect the seaward cut & became a state park in 1926) onto the Amelia River, against a 2-3K current. We turned into the Bells River & anchored in 14 ft. & 100 ft. of chain. Donna & Jack changed their plans & were soon anchored with us. A meeting was planned for all to meet at the dinghy dock at the marina including Lynn & Larry’s friends Terri & Bill on ‘Second Choice’, a Hunter Passage 456. We paid our dinghy dock fee ($3.21) & Graeme & I went our separate ways. Since I had had no internet in quite a while that was my priority, although I would have loved to have walked the historic district (50 blocks radius around Centre St.); I will plan this on returning north. For convenience sake & a bonus of a secure line, I got WiFi at ‘Books Plus’. I was even able to purchase, write & mail a birthday card for my Mom at this same location. Larry bought some fresh shrimp for themselves & moi from the Atlantic Seafood & Fish Market, steps from the dinghy dock & even cooked them. The Morrows made reservations for us at St. Augustine Municipal Marina, south basin mooring ball & for Vero Beach Municipal Marina for the time over & including US Thanksgiving. Happy Hour & dinner was held also close by at Marina Seafood Restaurant. The water was like glass as we dinghied home in the dark. Warm humid & cloudy overnight.
Tues. Nov. 13, 2012—Day 42:
Destination: Fernandina Beach (Mile 716.5) to Pine Island (Mile 765)
Departure: 0805 hrs. Arrival: 1510 hrs. Distance: 48.5 SM
Winds: nil & flat calm in the am, some blue skies
Weather: partially sunny, some blue skies, H= 70’ish & L=60’ish
Water once again was like glass. We were a convoy of 4 boats now, travelling south in a pack of at least 12 boats, a mix of sail & trawlers. The First Coast of Florida includes the area of Fernandina Beach, Amelia City, Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, Jacksonville Beach & Ponte Vedra Beach. And so our water passage today was: Amelia RiveràSouth Amelia Riverà across Nassau Soundà Sawpit Creekà Gunnison Cutà Sisters Creek (with the current)à across St. John’s Riverà against current in Pablo Creek (narrow & it’s current flows toward St. John’s River with eddies)à Palm Valley Cut (10 mi.)à Tolomato River. After crossing the St. John’s River, we had 3 bridges we passed under where the currents were fierce (6K) against us, especially worse was passing the Atlantic Boulevard Highway Bridge; our speed decreased to a mere 1.6K. It was not until we were well into the Palm Valley Cut that the current was of assistance. Depths into Pine Island was less than charted even at low tide; we anchored in 7 ft. & were only able to put out 50 ft. of chain due to limited swing room. ‘Second Choice’ stirred up mud on entering the anchorage. Some grey , rain-like sky & clouds around as, a storm front from the west passed overhead. Happy Hour was put on hold for tonight. The anchorage was filled by sunset with 9 or 10 boats. We both had lovely & welcomed showers & I climbed under clean bed linen at the ungodly hour of 2030 hrs. A dark, cloudy, warm night. About midnight a NE wind kicked up & continued to howl through the rigging for the rest of the night.