Jekyll Island, GA to St.Augustine, FL
Rhode Island to Florida - Day 35
We departed from Jekyll Island at 0645 hours with our planned destination for the day being St. Augustine, FL. We would be traveling inside in the ICW for the entire day... forecast for offshore in the Atlantic was for 3-5 foot seas increasing to 4-6 foot seas... nothing we really wanted to forego.
Crossing the St. Andrew Sound Inlet was a little rough... we saw the 3-4 foot waves at the outer most section... but once we turned and headed down the Cumberland River alongside Cumberland Island it calmed right down. First time we have been past Cumberland Island and did not see any horses on the beach... was looking forward to seeing them as we always do when we are in this area.
Not much boat traffic today at all... a few local small boats and a couple of sailboats... actually thinking about it there were several power boats that passed us heading south... did not look like cruisers though... more like delivery captains delivering boats south.
Was really funny just after crossing the St. Johns River in Jacksonville, FL we switched from having the current with us to against us at just over 2 knots... slowed us down to 4.3 knots... what was funny was a SeaTow boat approached us and hailed us on the VHF... informing us that this was a no wake zone... the current ripping through the area was making more wake than we were... besides we only making just over 4 knots... any slower and I would of had trouble steering the boat in the current... told the SeaTow captain that I was only making 4.3 knots and if he checked my wake he would see it was minimal... even at full cruise we put out a wake less than a foot high... just funny when we get yelled at for speeding and making a wake... just can't do it... wish I could make a wake at times for pay back to some these sport fish that pass you and they can make a wake... :)
The current was really ripping out and we had some interesting current in two spots... the Pablo Creek Bridge and the B.B. McCormick Bridge... both place the waterway narrows to just the span of the bridge opening and going through the Pablo Creek Bridge the current was over 4 knots against us... we slowed down to 2.3 knots as we passed under the bridge.. the B.B. McCormick Bridge was not as bad but close... slowing us down to 3.6 knots... the interesting part was not just the velocity of the current but the turbulence it creates and the effect it has on the boat... just before the Pablo Creek Bridge the turbulence was wicked... causing SAILS to actually roll back and forth about 20 degrees... keeps you on your toes steering towards a bridge when this is happening... :)
About two hours before St. Augustine we experienced increased winds... most likely what was in the forecast that was increasing the seas to 4-6 feet... had steady winds over 25 knots with a lot of gusts to over 30 knots... and of course this was right as the sun was setting and getting dark... sunset at 1735 hours and we had these winds for the next hour or so... they did slow down to 15 ro 20 knots as headed up Matanzas River toward the Bridge of Lions at St. Augustine. We do not have to open this bridge and can clear it by lowering the antennas and mast... we planned to anchor outside the mooring field just south of the bridge.
We navigated through the mooring field and to a location outside the mooring field and close to shore and as close to the St. Augustine City Marina as possible so the dingy ride to walk Beecha would be minimal. We anchored... ate dinner... I took Beecha to land for a walk and we sat and watched TV... it was 2200 hours and a dinghy approached the stern shining a flashlight in the back door... I got up and went outside and to see what was what... the dinghy had two men on it from the St. Augustine City Marina and they were informing me that we could not anchor here and we would have to take a mooring ball... he said he had one ball left in the far southern end of the mooring field and we would have to take it and then come in to the marina in the morning to register and pay... I acknowledged him and we prepared to pull the anchor and move... :(
After raising the anchor I really did not want to try and navigate through the crowed mooring field so we headed back out toward the ICW and figured we would go a little further south and anchor in San Sebastian River. The marina hailed me on the VHF to tell me that I was not headed in the right direction to get the open mooring ball... I informed him that we were not taking the mooring and were heading further south to anchor. He apologized for having to ask us to leave where we were but that a boat near us on a mooring had complained to them that they feared we might drag anchor into them... I told him not to worry about it... this was first for us... getting kicked out an anchorage... :)
We proceeded back to the ICW and south to San Sebastian River and anchored just outside the channel off of St. Augustine Marine Center at approximate coordinates N29°52.561', W081°18.864'
Again the current was against us more than it was in our favor. We traveled for 12 hours and 45 minutes covering 80.57 nautical miles and averaging 6.32 knots.
Trip totals to date:
Distance: 1281.26 nautical miles
Hours: 201 hours 41 minutes
Avg Spd: 6.35 knots
Days not moving: 12
Kilkenny, GA to Jekyll Island, GA
Rhode Island to Florida - Day 34
We departed from Kilkenny Marina at 0730 hours... a little later than we would of liked, but we had to wait for them to open at 0700 in order to check-in and pay for our dockage... we had not done that since we arrived late in the evening yesterday.
I had thought maybe we would jump outside today into the Atlantic and make our day end in Fernandina Beach, FL... checking the weather forecast the morning would have been fine while we were off the coast of GA with 5-10 knot winds and 2 foot seas... but for some reason the lower coast of GA and FL that would have been late afternoon was forecast for 10-15 knot winds and 3-5 seas... not sure if NOAA had it screwed up or not but we took the safe path and stayed inside... even though we would have some trouble areas with water depth inside.
The first area being Little Mud River... we passed through here at mid tide and saw 7 foot depths... we would not of made it through at low tide which would have been a little over 3 foot lower... that would of made areas 4 feet deep... soft mud maybe we would of but I have always tried to go through there with a rising tide and at mid tide or higher.
We had several other areas that we saw depths between 5.5 and 6.5 feet deep... we just have to slow down to idle and crawl through them... luckily we did not ground out on any of these areas... not the case later in the day... :(
We had planned to try a new anchorage for the evening... Frederica River... the guide books said it was pet friendly with a dinghy dock to walk your dog at Fort Frederica... it was close near dead low tide when we entered the Frederica River... depths were all over the place and nothing like shown on the charts... we went slow and made our way back to the Fort... we rounded the bend and saw the dinghy dock we were to use... one problem! The dock was fixed and at low tide was 7 feet above the water and high and dry for 10 feet out from it... all MUD! There was no way we would be able to use this dock to walk Beecha... we decided to continue on and go to Jekyll Island... it was just another 12 or so miles ahead and we could make it there beofer sunset easily... :)
We continued south down the Frederica River to re enter the ICW about a couple of mile down... the Frederica loops off the ICW and you and enter it on the north or south end and exit back to ICW on the other end. We were about 3/4 of mile form the Fort and the water depth suddenly went from 12 feet to less than we needed to float... we grounded out! :( I attempted to back off without success... the front of the boat was on the bottom... the stern was not and the current was still moving along pretty good and it spun us around and 180 degrees and actually ungrounded us... I had killed the engines as I did not want another episode like I had in Atlantic City earlier with clogged sea strainers... but luck was with us and we were now drifting at about 1 knot with the current down the river sideways... I checked the depth and we were again in 12 feet of water... :) started the engines and we again off heading south down the river.
As we exited the river back into the ICW the charts showed a section that was 7 foot deep... as I approached it I slowed down to idle and soon the depth guage was reading 5.1 and flashing LAST on the screen... we were basically in less that 5 feet of water... I took SAILS out fo gears and let the current take across the skinny water... the depth gauge started working again after we had drifted for maybe 150 yards and slowly it increased to 6 feet deep... I re engaged the wheels and idled out into the ICW... 18 feet deep... boy, did that look good... :) Came back to cruising speed and we were now headed to Jekyll Island.
Jekyll Creek is notorious for skinny water and we were now at about an hour past dead low tide... but checking the tide tables... dead low was 0.7 feet below MLW and at one hour past we were at MLW... we continued slowly and saw depths ranging from 5.5 feet to 10 feet... up and down all the way from the time we left the Brunswick River to the Jekyll Island Bridge... once we hit the bridge water came back to normal depths... 15-20 feet in the channel.
We went past the Jekyll Island Marina and planned to anchor near a public boat ramp just south of the marina... there were several other boats already anchored there so we said what the heck... let's tie up to the boat ramp dock... it was a nice concrete floating dock maybe 150 feet long... I eased toward it from the north and about 150 feet from we grounded out again... I was barely moving so I was able to back off... I moved from the shore and approached the dock straight in to see if there was enough water alongside it... I inched forward and found 6.5 feet alongside the floating dock... evidently there was just a hump north of it that did not allow me a parallel approach from the north side... anyway, we were securely docked at 1745 hours at coordinates N31°02.544', W081°25.388'
Today the current was against us more than it was in our favor. We traveled for 10 hours and 15 minutes covering 63.63 nautical miles and averaging 6.21 knots.
Trip totals to date:
Distance: 1200.69 nautical miles
Hours: 188 hours 56 minutes
Avg Spd: 6.36 knots
Days not moving: 12
Beaufort, SC to Kilkenny, GA
Rhode Island to Florida - Day 33
We pulled the anchor and departed at 0700 hours from Beaufort, SC this morning... had the current against us full force first thing... making 5.5 knots all the way down the Beaufort River... made our turn up Port Royal Sound and had a short lived burst of speed making 8 knots... until we turned into the Skull Creek... again current on our bow slowed down to 6 knots... it's a constant loop back and forth with the current in this area... you just hope that you have more time with a boost... with no boost from the current we would make 6.5 knots... so today we averaged 6.51 knots so I guess we had a little more boost today... :)
The tides are much more extreme than I remember them being any time in the past... today as we cruised through the last of SC into GA I checked the tide range and we had over 10 foot rise and fall and of course dead low tide was mid afternoon... approximately 1430 hours... but it made for some really skinny water... only one place really gave us any worries and that was Hell Gate... the cut between the Little Ogeechee River to the Ogeechee River... it's notorious for shoaling... we have been through it many times and never really had any trouble with shoaling... today was a different story... I had never seen it like the it was today... there was exposed land to the port of us and there was maybe a 100 foot wide span between the exposed shoal to port and Raccoon Key to our starboard... we slowed to bare idle and the shallow water alarm was singing all the way through... it is set to 6 foot deep and we saw 5-5.5 feet for several hundred yards...and the deepest I saw in the cut was 7.1 feet as we passed through... and it was 1545 hours... this was an hour and 15 minutes after dead low tide... we would not of made it through at low tide.
We had very little cruisers traffic today... in fact no one passed us going south or north... we did have two sailboats that left Beaufort the same time as we did following us most of the day but they were moving a little slower and soon we lost sight of them behind us... there was a lot of small local boat traffic... :)
The weather was nice all day... not a lot of wind and the sun was shinning... :)
We had thought we would try and get to Walburg Creek and anchor but it would have been after dark so we opted out of that and went to one of our favorite marinas... Kilkenny Marina... on Kilkenny Creek... We were turned on to this marina several years ago by a good friend of ours... Don Gillete... Kilkenny was one of his stops as he took his boat north and south each year... we love it here... :) At approximately 1730 hours we were secure to the dock at Kilkenny Marina.
We traveled today for 10 hours and 30 minutes covering 68.32 nautical miles and averaging 6.51 knots.
Trip totals to date:
Distance: 1137.03 nautical miles
Hours: 178 hours 41 minutes
Avg Spd: 6.36 knots
Days not moving: 12