This morning we got started a little earlier than planned. On Cindy’s mind was her mother, who had a cardiac catheterization today for stent placement, so she could not sleep well. (By the way, the cath went well and she is home and doing fine.) So, we released the lines to the mooring ball just after 6:30 a.m., and headed north just before the sun climbed above the paper mill. The morning was overcast with a 10-15 knot ENE breeze. The St. Mary’s River had a slight chop. Within half an hour, we had exited the state of Florida and entered into my home state of Georgia. One wouldn’t know by the natural surroundings. The Georgia coast looked pretty much like the Florida coast. Only when we stopped for the day could we tell we were no longer in Florida. The southern drawl was evident on every tongue.
Things were going along just as smoothly as one could wish as we crossed the St. Mary’s River Inlet and continued northward, on the inside of Cumberland Island. But, then… Then, we approached the St. Andrew Sound Inlet which runs between Cumberland Island and Jekyll Island. We had a very unpleasant 15 minutes or so as we rounded the northwest corner of Cumberland Island and exposed ourselves to the wind driven waves coming in off the Atlantic. The wind had kicked up to 15-20 knots out of the ENE. The outgoing tide produced a strong 3 knot current in the exact opposite direction. It’s never a good thing when a strong current is opposed by a strong wind. The waves steepened and deepened and grew close together. We were pounding headlong into steep 4-5 foot waves. And then, as quickly as it had started, it was over. A few moments later, when we had made it far enough across the inlet to change direction and get some protection from Jekyll Island to the north, all was calm again. The only casualty, except for Cindy’s frame of mind, was our 27″ iMac. I’ll tell you, they are nearly indestructible. This thing tumbled off its location on the shelf over the nav station for the third time. The screen broke again (it broke once exiting into the gulf from Tampa Bay under similar conditions), but the thing started right up and runs like new. If you abuse your computer, I’d recommend that you buy a Mac.
There was yet one more challenge to overcome in today’s 37 nautical mile passage, Jekyll Creek, which runs along the western aspect of Jekyll Island. After crossing beneath the first of our two bridges today, the 65′ Jekyll Island Bridge (which had 69′ clearance), the ICW suddenly became very shallow. This area has a 7 to 9 foot tidal range, and we were passing through Jekyll Creek about 1 1/2 hours before low tide. I seriously thought we were going to run aground as we saw less than 5′ on several occasions for some distance (Beatitude’s draft is 4’3″.) I slowed the throttle and inched along until finally the depth meter started registering deeper water. It didn’t seem to matter whether I altered course to port or starboard, I could find nothing deeper. Thankfully, we made it through and turned to port along the Brunswick River which would take us beneath the 185′ vertical clearance (now, that’s more like it) Sidney Lanier Bridge. This bridge, the longest spanning bridge in the state of Georgia, is named after the poet – you guessed it – Sidney Lanier. It is a cable-stayed bridge which reminds me of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay.
After passing beneath the big bridge, we turned to starboard, entering Oglethorpe Bay. Once we were past Ocean Petroleum, we found our weekend home, Brunswick Landing Marina. We backed into our slip and plugged into shore power for the first time in over a week. We’ve done well without our generator. I’ve hardly missed it. I’ve hand winched up the dinghy every night which conserves power. Cindy has forgone her hair dryer and hair straightener every morning. We’ve not microwaved or toasted unless the engines were running on a passage.
After a six hour journey, we settled in and walked the short distance to town for some good, New York style, pizza at Arte Pizza. On the way back to the marina, we browsed through an antique shop, but didn’t spend any money. After relaxing for a couple of hours (and cleaning up a little of the mess), we joined other marina guests in the clubhouse for complimentary wine. The wine was good and the people interesting. We find many are heading north and making stops at similar places. We’re running into people that we’ve seen in St. Augustine and Fernandina Beach. Afterwards, we walked into town and had dinner at Tipsy McSways, a loud, busy place with live entertainment and decent food.
We’ll spend at least three nights here before continuing northward early next week. It’s nice to be tied up to the dock again and hooked up to shore power. We’re especially enjoying the air-conditioner. 🙂