Monday, November 22, 2010

Cumberland Island

We are now taking it slow as we don’t plan to be at St Mary’s until the 21st and want to spend some time at Cumberland Island. We are anchored by Carnegie mansion with a few other boats near the north end. Our trip down the winding Brickhill River was easy as long as we kept to the outside of the bends. I got to far into an inside bend while munching on ginger snaps and tea and discovered a new island rising out of the falling tide and had to make a hard left to avoid it. I think I’ll call it Ginger Snap Island. Yesterday we went for a short walk but couldn’t go far due to a black powder boar hunt that was going on. There must be a lot of wild pigs on the island as one guy has permission to kill as many as he wants and he shot over 800 last year and there are still plenty left for annual hunts. We did go looking for the alligators that are in a pond nearby, we didn’t see them but I wonder if they saw us??? I did notice that is not very far from our boats. We see did several armadillos and a couple of the wild horses.
An impromptu potluck was arranged and we gathered for that about but the small flies came out at that time so it was moved to the boat with a full enclosure.
The next day the hunt was over so we went for a 2 mile walk to the Atlantic side through the thick forest. There are a lot of tall thick pines here that would make great masts for old sailing ships.
The next morning we left for the southern anchorage. We passed close to the nuclear sub base and then through a submarine degaussing point, hopefully it wiped out all our credit card debt and not the cards.
There are a few old mansions, actually cottages from the Carnegie days on the island. They gave the island to the government when they didn’t want it anymore. The $50,000 endowment they left didn’t come close to the maintenance costs; I guess they pulled a fast one on the government…
On Sunday we will head for St Mary’s as the thanksgiving party is already starting
It’s now Sunday November 21st and we are still anchored at Cumberland Island. We may leave for St Mary’s this afternoon. Cumberland is a nice spot and hard to leave. A lot trails to walk and explore. The south end is tamer than the north with campgrounds and flush toilets and showers though not with hot water. We are not in any hurry at the moment.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

To Jekyll continued

We departed the marina at on a rising tide for our passage through Georgia and some of the shallowest parts of the Intracoastal Waterway. By we were anchoring in the Wahoo River, 630 miles south of Norfolk. We left the Wahoo at to time the passage through the Little Mudd River for a high tide. The tides in the area can be 8 feet and some spots are only 4 or 5 feet deep at low water. Our timing was good and we had little trouble passing through. We crossed Altamaha Sound and headed to Frederica River. At a bend in the river is Fort Frederica on St Simon Island, a fort and pre revolutionary settlement that was placed to protect the English colonies from the Spanish in Florida that claimed all the land of the southern states for their own. We spent the night rafting off Mandate at anchor in the protected river and then toured the fort grounds in the morning. We left about on the tide and motored over to Jekyll Island. Jekyll Island was the Spanish possession only a few miles from the English to the north.
Entering Jekyll Creek can be tricky and special care is needed to stay in the channel. We made it to the anchorage and planned to take a bike tour of the island in the morning. For $20 a boat you get to use the facilities; showers and bikes and pool and hot tub. We rode the bikes for several miles along the Atlantic side beach, letting the brisk wind blow us most of the way to the north end of the Island. Then rode through the extensive historic district that dated back to the 1600’s of the Spanish in southern North America and up through the million era of the early 1900’s. After lunch in the Crane family cottage and drinks in a Warf side bar we headed back to the marina. The hot tub was not hot enough for us so we had appetizers in the poolside bar and by we were back on the boat.
Our next destination is Cumberland Island with its wild horses.

Charleston to Jekyll Island

Nov 10 2010

We left Charleston at to make the Wappoo Creek bridge opening. We had a rising tide and carried that most of the trip. Most of the trip was uneventful except for the entrance from North Edisto River into Dawho Creek which is shoaling and being the lead boat we had to thread our way carefully through the entrance and follow the buoys and not the chart. But once around the first turn it straightened out and was 4 to 5 meters deep.
We kept up our winding trip until we stopped about to anchor below Alligator Island on the South Edisto River for the night. After dinner we sat out and watched the stars on this dark clear night. There were thousands of stars; so bright that you could see their reflections on the calm water on this windless night.
In the morning we got another early start. Our friends on Kajon had hung back with Password that was having transmission trouble. They were a few miles behind us in our twisty-turny route but not that far as the crow flies. Some places you can go for a half hour or more and then look over your shoulder and see boats and bridges that are barely a quarter mile away going in the opposite direction and you know you were just there. At we passed mile mark 525 south of Norfolk VA. Our plans were now to be in St Mary’s in time for the American thanksgiving were the cruisers all meet up for a huge potluck hosted by the town. We were motoring to Beaufort SC and as we got close another boat called us to let us know the bridge times had changed and we would not get there in time for the opening; so we ended up anchoring above the bridge and having lunch while we waited for the opening. After we passed through we anchored just below the marina and put the outboard on the dingy and headed for the dingy dock. We found the showers and headed back to the boat for our bath stuff and went back to take a nice long hot shower for a dollar. We then found a Florida chart book, the only one we didn’t have, that had just arrived and bought that and a few post cards and headed back to the boat to get our laptop. We toured town for a bit and then found an internet cafĂ© to check emails and update our blog. The sun sets early and by the time we’d had a few coffees and chatted with friends it was getting pretty dark out and the ride back was quite cold.
We left at in the morning and followed our friends down the Beaufort River heading for the sea. We were talking about our next destination and decided to try for Savannah Ga. So instead of going out we stayed inside and headed for an anchorage at Herb creek. We stopped at Thunderbolt Marina for fuel before we made our way around to the anchorage at Herb Creek for the night. It was another chilly night and in the morning we had decided to skip Savannah and push on to warmer climes. As we rounded a bend in the river we saw our friends on Mandate at Isle of Hope Marina. After chatting with them we decided to stay there and see Savannah after all and a historic plantation site and are glad we did. Savannah has kept a lot of its early history intact including a street paved with ballast stones from its early days as a colonial and post revolution port and center of commerce for the fledgling nation.
There are town square parks every couple of blocks and lots of sites to see and relax in.
We had four hours on our loaner car and spent most of it touring Savannah after a quick shopping trip to a Wal-Mart we returned the car only a few minutes late. Later on we rode the marina bikes to a plantation and toured the plantation of one of the earliest settlers in Georgia. Later that evening we had dinner with Rob and Sue and planned our next day. At 09:30n we left on a rising tide for our passage through the next sections of Georgia. Our destination that night was the Wahoo River. We are now 590 miles south of Norfolk Va.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Update Charleston SC

Just a quick update, we are now in Charleston and ready to head south once more. The weather has improved no doubt due to Tomas's departure. We left Brocksport after spending three nights there on the marina dock. It was closed for renovations but they let us stay there for free. We had an impromptu pot luck organized, loosely by Joe on Kajon.
Then we motored to Dewee's Creek for the next day and anchored back inside a huge marsh in 6 meters of water with a huge tidal current
Then in the morning we left for charleston and spent the next day at Ashley Marina
We are now heading south in much better weather and sunny sky's with warmth

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Oriental NC to Southport NC to Brocksport SC

We spent two nights in Oriental and left at , some who watched the webcam can vouch for that… We motor sailed across the Neuse river in 30 knot gusts and then a couple gybes later we had wound our way into Adam’s creek We saw several dolphins along the way. Jeanne tried to get pictures but they were always in different places… I think they were toying with her. We passed though Beaufort and Moorehead City and turned west to follow the channel through Bogue Sound.

The channel follows the north side and the whole sound is quite shallow. The marks are far apart and we had to watch our position constantly. In total we put in 50 miles motor sailing and anchored for the night in Swansboro. We met Doug and Janice again from the previous cruisers party and socialized with them until it was time to row back to our boat. The tidal here was a couple feet and in the morning another boat that anchored to far to the side was sitting 6 inches out of the water. We were up at making coffee and left early. Our destination was Wrightsville. The nights were getting colder and we are now looking to get south. We pulled into Wrightsville and refueled and then anchored in the harbor and went out for dinner and searched for internet access. We downloaded email and posted to our blog and rowed back to the boat. We left Wrightsville at at low tide and had to maneuver around a cruiser aground in the channel and got stuck ourselves. We managed to get off though and headed out. There were several shallow spots and we had to follow the guide and the marks and shoaling is always a problem. Eventually we passed Carolina Beach and turned up and with careful consideration for the marks found our way into the Cape Fear River. We had to fight a 20 knot headwind and 3 knots of current to get down to Southport NC. We tied up at the Outfitter Company free dock with difficulty in the gusty winds but had to leave when we discovered that there was only 3 feet of water under our keel and a 4 foot tide. We went to the Southport Marina and took three hot showers before we left at . We headed out the Cape Fear River into the Ocean and once trough the shoals we headed west to Little River Inlet about 25 miles away. We had a great headsail reach all the way and saw tuna jumping, dolphins and hundreds of jellyfish that Jeanne said looked like 6 inch diameter eyeballs.

We entered the channel after 5 hours and followed the marks up into the intracoastal and crossed into Calabash creek and anchored at to wait for our friends to arrive.
We had a trip line on our anchor and with the tide changes by morning the float had caught on the rudder and we were backwards. It took us a half hour to get it untangled as we tried to maneuver in the crowded anchorage. When we were finally free we motored over to see if our friends needed help. Doug had cut his hand in the night and needed stitches, good thing his wife was a nurse. They stopped at a Marina and we continued on through several bridges until we got to Bucksport where other friends were already docked. They told us the marina wasn’t yet but the owners said we could stay there and there was water and electricity and a 2 mile walk to the closest store. It was two days to Charleston and we are in no hurry and it is supposed to rain the next few days. We may spend a few nights here…   It’s now November 3, 2010 and we hope to make the cruisers Thanksgiving in St Mary’s Georgia.