Georgia on our Mind

Early morning - About to leave our mooring in Fernandina Beach

Early morning – About to leave our mooring in Fernandina Beach

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.

Sunrise silhouetting the paper mill

Sunrise silhouetting the paper mill

Future paper

Future paper

Navy patrol boat at the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base we passed.  This vessel, and another, closely watched and shadowed us as we passed.

Navy patrol boat at the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base we passed. This vessel, and another, closely watched and shadowed us as we passed.

Couple of ships at the submarine base.

Couple of ships at the submarine base.

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.

Reflections on the ICW

Reflections on the ICW

Besides the computer taking a crash, we had 2" of water in our bathroom from leaving the side port open.

Besides the computer taking a crash, we had 2″ of water in our bathroom from leaving the side port open.

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.

On shallow, Jekyll Creek, Sidney Lanier Bridge in background

On shallow, Jekyll Creek, Sidney Lanier Bridge in background

Brunswick River, Sidney Lanier Bridge

Brunswick River, Sidney Lanier Bridge

One of the large piers on the bridge with cable supports

One of the large piers on the bridge with cable supports

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.

Setting the fenders and preparing the lines for the marina

Setting the fenders and preparing the lines for the marina

Shrimp boats on Oglethorpe Bay

Shrimp boats on Oglethorpe Bay

We usually exit Beatitude from midships (using steps if necessary).  Here, we just just off the back transom steps.

We usually exit Beatitude from midships (using steps if necessary). Here, we just just off the back transom steps.

Beatitude in her slip on Dock 1

Beatitude in her slip on Dock 1

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.

Arte Pizza on Newcastle Street, Brunswick

Arte Pizza on Newcastle Street, Brunswick

Wine gathering at Brunswick Landing Marina

Wine gathering at Brunswick Landing Marina

It was a steep walk up the ramp at low tide (the docks are floating docks, so they rise and fall with the tide)

It was a steep walk up the ramp at low tide (the docks are floating docks, so they rise and fall with the tide)

The same ramp at high tide, now almost horizontal

The same ramp at high tide, now almost horizontal

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. 🙂

8 thoughts on “Georgia on our Mind

  1. I’m glad your Mom is recovering well. Your adventures are mnd boggling !!!! I so glad you are able to do this while you two are relatively young. I have memories of adventures I’ve had from long ago and don’t regret any of them. Go, Go, Go !!!!!!

    • Thanks Rusty. She has to have one more surgery in June that is a more serious so keep her in your prayers.
      Sometimes I don’t feel so young….!haha I am thankful for the ability to do what I can do as long as I can do it!! I read this on a wall in a restaurant the other day and it was encouraging to me:
      Remember you are BRAVER than you BELIEVE
      STRONGER than you SEEM and
      SMARTER than you THINK!
      🙂

  2. Glad to hear the good news about your Mom, Cindy. Really enjoying the sail through Georgia as we didn’t do that section of the ICW. Keep the blogs coming… 🙂

    • Thanks Hope.
      Barry is from Georgia so it is nice to be here (wish we were closer in location to his family though so we could visit….they are on the other side of GA!). As you will see in the next blog, we really enjoyed seeing the historical district, gorgeous trees, flowers and I love hearing the southern accent too 🙂

  3. Glad you made it safe and sound (with little mishap) That’s a bummer your computer screen broke! Thankful it still works good though. Bet you’ll double check the side port is closed next time 🙂 It’s not always going to go perfect..but the good out weighs the bad I’m sure. Enjoy your home state! Love you guys!

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