SAILS 1990 45 Florida Bay Coaster
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Monday, 22 April 2013
FL to CT Day 13
Jekyll Island, GA to Walburg Creek, GA
We awoke at 0600 to a beautiful day… 25 knots winds, 59 degrees, and raining… great day to cruise…. NOT! Really thought twice about leaving but looking at the forecast it was not that bad… Gale Force Winds Warning (39 mph) and 50% chance of rain. But it also said winds would be diminishing late afternoon and 10-15 knots after midnight. Typically, I find the forecast of weather comes earlier than predicted… during the night we had some very heavy winds… easily gale force and looking at the radar the rain would soon be stopping… so I made the decision to depart as plan.

We departed at approximately 0745 and the winds did prove to be a challenge for getting away from the dock but we managed to make it and were soon heading north on the ICW again and “Serendipity” departed shortly after us.

The winds did stay fairly strong most of the day… 25 knots with some gusts to 35 knots… but nothing that was causing any major waves… nice heavy chop here and there in more open areas.

The worst part of the whole day was the current… I think it was against for the majority of the day… we slowed to under 4 knots in a few places… for the RPM we should have been doing about 6.8 knots… there were a few… very places where we were assisted with the current pushing over 8 knots… but for a very short time.

The afternoon the winds did settle down slightly to 15-20 knots and the sun came out… sun being out makes the day seem much better.

We had only one area to transit that can be a problem… Little Mud River… and we were arriving about an hour before low tide… we arrived around noon time and I expected to see some real shallow water but I was surprised to not see anything under 6.5 feet at the southern entrance… most of the time it was 8 feet plus.

We had made plans to stop for the night and anchor in Walburg Creek… we decided to try the southern entrance to the creek… several reports of shoaling to 3-4 feet and others that there was 12 feet… so when we arrived I slowed to an idle and crept into the entrance of the creek… the area where it was suppose to be 4 feet per the charts was over 20 feet… I actually did not see anything under 12 feet deep all the way in to the creek… once in the depths dropped off to well over 20 feet for the most part. I had never attempted this southern entrance to the creek before reading about shoaling and the charts reflect 3-4 across the entrance… not the case and will use this route again.

We proceeded up the creek till it turned to the north and then another quarter of mile north and dropped the anchor. First attempt the chain must have fouled on the anchor as it was just not setting… 20 feet of water and 200 feet of chain out and I was dragging slowly back with the current. Retrieved the 200 feet of chain and anchor and made a second attempt… this time she set firmly. “Serendipity” anchored just off our bow about 1000 yards.

We were securely anchored at approximately 1745 at N31°40.537’, W081°08.547’. We traveled for 10 hours covering 55.5 nm averaging 5.6 knots.
Posted at 6:46 PM
Sunday, 21 April 2013
FL to CT Day 12
Fernandina Beach, FL to Jekyll Island, GA
We spent the last week in Fernandina Beach for the MTOA Southern Rendezvous and had a great time with our MTOA friends. You just can’t fully describe the experience, but now it’s time to return to reality and continue our trek north.

We departed from Fernandina Beach at 0730 and headed north on the ICW. Forecast for the day was WINDY… NE winds 20-25 knots with gusts 30-35 knots… and the forecast lived up to the actual conditions… VERY WINDY.

There is one inlet that we have to cross that with these winds can be very rough… St. Andrews Sound… coming south last year we had similar conditions and crossing was far from pleasant… so we opted to take an alternate route this trip… Floyd Creek, Satilla River, Dover Creek, Umbrella Creek… it’s marked as a alternate route to the ICW on the charts. Great part is it takes you around St. Andrews Sound in protected waters… bad thing was it was approaching low tide and there is at least one shallow area in Floyd Creek… we arrived to the shallow spot at about an hour before low tide and slowed to an idle… just before the markers A25 and A26 we grounded out… we tried a couple of alternate approaches to the markers but each approach ended in the same result… GROUNDED. So, we backtracked a few hundred yards and dropped the hook to wait for more water at 1130.

At approximately 1345 the tide had turned around and we had almost 1.5 feet more water than when we arrived at 1100…. 2.5 feet above MLW. We pulled the anchor and headed back toward A25 and A26… we approached at idle speed and move very slowly between the two markers… the depth sounder stopped and was flashing 5.0 LAST… meaning the last reading it was able to make was 5 feet and it was now shallower than that. We kept inching forward expecting to ground out again but shortly the depth sounder started displaying readings again… 5.3… 5.4… 5.5… 6.0… we made it past… we continued on with depths from 5.5 to 6.0 till we reached marker A24… then the depth increased dramatically… 12… 18… 25…. 30 feet… all was good at this point.

We continued on out into the Satilla River and then to the NW to Dover Creek… no real shallow water here… think the lowest I saw was 10 feet… we soon reached the Dover Cut which was very narrow… had some shallow water to begin with but the majority of the cut was deep. This cut dumped us into Umbrella Creek… a little shallow as we exited but deep enough to pass. The last section that was concerning me was the Umbrella Cut that took into Jekyll Sound… it was charted at 6 feet… however, when we passed through never saw less than 12 feet.

We headed east across Jekyll sound back toward the ICW… it was a little choppy… 2-4 foot waves and current on our bow… very slow going… the wind had also increased and was blowing steady over 30 knots with gusts as high as 40 knots…. But we did not have far to go… a few more miles to where we would be stopping at Jekyll Island.

We approached the dock and decided to dock with current on our stern and the winds on the bow… we were not having a lot of push from the current even though it was a flood tide… but we had a lot of wind. We were securely docked at approximately 1545 at N31°02.548’, W081°25.389’. We traveled for 8.25 hours covering 33.2 nm our average moving speed was 5.5 knots. I figured the average on “moving” time rather than total time… 2.25 hours waiting for tide in Floyd Creek.

Soon after docking we saw “Serendipity” with Norm and Peter aboard… we helped them with lines as they docked behind us. Our help docking was rewarded with cocktails aboard “Serendipity”… Peter and Norm are very gracious hosts… providing far more than we needed to drink.
Posted at 6:23 PM
Saturday, 13 April 2013
FL to CT Day 11
Jacksonville, FL to Fernandina Beach, FL
We departed from Jacksonville at approximately 0900 and continued north on the ICW to our destination for the day… Fernandina Beach, FL.

Shortly after departing we were hailed by a fellow MTOA boat… “Sea Flat” with Robert and Jane DeBois aboard… who were also headed to Fernandina Beach and the MTOA Southern Rendezvous. We chatted briefly and was then hailed by “Serendipity” with Norm Briggs and Peter Behr aboard… we had left New Smyrna Beach the same day they had… slightly behind them but had almost caught up to them… they too were heading to the MTOA Rendezvous in Fernandina Beach.

We had a yo-yo of current today… initially pushing us 8 knots plus and slowing us to 5.7 knots in places. However, the weather was nice… sunny and the winds had diminished… a very nice day and also a very short one. We had to travel a real short distance going only 20 nautical miles.

We arrived to the Fernandina Beach Harbor Marina at approximately 1145… “Serendipity” was just ahead us and we had to hold off till they were securely docked and then we pulled into the marina directly behind them on the far southern end of the face dock. This will make for some long walks to shore.

Our location... N30°40.164’, W081°28.028’. We traveled for 3 hours covering 19.4 nm averaging 6.5 knots.

We will spend the next week here in Fernandina Beach for the MTOA Southern Rendezvous. We plan to depart and continue our trek north on April 21st.
Posted at 2:19 PM
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