Georgia! (State #10)


Fog. Crab pots. Boat wakes. Did I mention fog? But today’s early challenges were quickly forgotten when Many Moons arrived this afternoon in her 10th state since leaving Lake Superior last summer. Hello, Georgia! Hello, Cumberland Island!

This is also our 6th night “off the grid,” meaning without electricity or water hook-up. That’s a new record for me, and I like it. (We need a marina soon, though.)

I did not like leaving this morning during a dense fog advisory. We could have easily delayed our departure, but Jeff feels it’s useful to meet a challenge like that before it is forced on us. (It was forced on us on the rivers, and we managed it all right then.) Maybe he’s right to seek out the “practice,” but we continue to disagree about how much risk to take and when. I hear that most Looping couples deal with this issue, and feel better knowing that.

The tides and related currents played with us again today, swirling the water at times like the prop washes from barges did on the rivers, but it was manageable if surprising. Our speed went from 10.8 mph to 5.5 mph within minutes, without anyone touching the throttle. That’s because we are very close to the Atlantic Ocean–and, it’s a new moon. The tides will be an issue all the way up the coast.

Once we entered the Intracoastal Waterway, we encountered fast boats coming too close and “waking” us (causing a big wake that bounces us around). It was a sunny Saturday, so no big surprise. Loose items went into the sink to avoid getting tossed onto the floor. It felt like Lake Michigan a few times.

And then there’s the channel markers. We’re back to “red-on-the-right” for the first time since I rejoined the boat. It’s not hard to adjust if you follow the chart carefully–but you must do that. The navigation channel continues to meander back and forth, so driving is an exercise in concentration. Jeff still prefers to do most of the driving. I think I need to do more of it. When I do take the helm, he’s a bit of a “backseat driver.” 😉 (Can anybody relate?) Glad he doesn’t do that when we’re in a car! Not that I blame him; it’s his boat.

My first choice tonight was the marina at Fernandina on Amelia Island, because it’s a fun little town, but the marina was full so we proceeded to anchorage at Cumberland Island. I love it when second-choice becomes the best outcome. I’ve been wanting to see this National Seashore for years. We made the best of our four hours of daylight. And it’s nice to see the anchor lights of 12 other boats glowing nearby as I write this. We have company–but not too close. Photos and captions follow.

We drove through heavy fog for the first two hours after leaving Jacksonville, Fla. This large ship wasn’t visible until we were almost on it. (We were never in danger of collision, but it’s still a bit disconcerting.)
Fog starting to lift on the waterfront of the St. Johns River.
We entered the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway at mid-day. (The burgee, or small flag, labels us as members of the AGLCA, the American Great Loop Cruisers Association–i.e., “Loopers.”)
We passed this cool wooden sailboat with wooden masts. I love to see the classics under sail.
Passing Fernandina on Amelia Island. The reddish building in the center is Florida’s Oldest Saloon. Or so they say!
Our boat rail frames a cargo ship and crane on the intra-coastal.
Jeff drove pretty close to the cargo ship, home ported in Hong Kong.
There’s the ocean! Crossing our first of many sounds, which link the protected inland water route to the big water. We watch for ocean-going ships here.
The water surface may be calm while the tide and current still rip. See the evidence on the side of this buoy.
Our friends Henry and Diane on DeDe followed us much of the day, bouncing in the same currents or wakes as us and giving us a heads-up by radio if a fast boat approached from our stern. We encountered DeDe about two hours into our trip, just as they were pulling out from a dock. They fell in behind us and we ended up at the same place tonight.
I’m so grateful we came to Cumberland Island. One of its famed wild horses crossed our path shortly after we began our 4.5-mile hike. It reminds me of Chincoteague Island near Washington D.C.
The Dungeness Ruins on Cumberland Island harken back to 1736. (Wow.) This former mansion was purchased by the Carnegie family in the 1880s. There’s even more fascinating history here, involving other significant names..
Cumberland Island has such a variety of vegetation, including saw palmettos.
Jeff greets the Atlantic Ocean, on the other side of the island from our anchorage.
The beach is wide at low tide!
We walked 1.5 miles along the ocean beach to a 2nd boardwalk which brought us back into the inner island.
The odd shape of these trees is caused by “salt pruning,” a combination of saltwater and the easterly winds off the ocean.
The floating docks at Cumberland Island, where the ferries from the mainland tie up. (Also dinghies like ours that come in from the boats anchored offshore.) The tide is 6.5 feet here. This is low tide.
We joined a dozen other boats at anchor.
I’m checking the “Tides-Near-Me” app regularly now. We took the dinghy back to our boat in late afternoon, just after low tide. A sand-bar had appeared near the boat. We had anchored in about 10 feet of water, but it was now just 5 feet! (No problem; our draft is just 3 feet. Still, rather exciting!)
Jeff at the tiller of the dinghy as we return to Many Moons for the night.
Sunset at Cumberland Island, looking toward Kings Bay, Ga., home of a Navy submarine base. We stayed there during our road trip two years ago.

3 thoughts on “Georgia! (State #10)

  1. OK, you two, or more. I have written before but in the interest of not clogging up the lines, I have not written often. I write as a one-month resident in the Beaufort (SC) area. May I assume you will be dropping into the fair city. OFFER, If you come to Beaufort (SC), I will meet you at your dockage and see that you are transported to your needs? Would you consider a fine meal ashore-my (our) pleasure. Assuming the best, my wife’s phone is 207 691 2982.
    If you think me weird, I am from the address below, an ex-sailor who has done years of navigation of the Maine coast and am now a happy ‘stink-potter,’ avoiding the ‘mud season for a month.
    Call if you wish.
    John, (a/k/a jock)

    John K. Cowperthwaite, Jr.
    PO Box 261
    Tenants Harbor, ME 04860

    Like

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