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
Posted at 7:15 PM
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
Posted at 7:14 PM
Charleston, SC to Beaufort, SC
Rhode Island to Florida - Day 32
We departed Charleston, SC before sunrise at 0630 hours and were bound for Beaufort. SC. We had a good boost of current with us for the first few hours but soon lost it... that was the way most of the day went... 4.5 to 9.3 knots... it seemed to be equally split slow and fast today. It was not as windy as yesterday and it was sunny all day... NO RAIN... :)
There was not a lot of boat traffic... a few sailboats and one steel trawler with Sydney, Australia as the hailing port... one sailboat we had passed yesterday leaving Georgetown, SC... its hailing port was Cape Coral, FL and we passed it again today just after leaving Charleston, SC... I feel really bad for these people on the sailboats... totally exposed to the weather... and it was pretty COLD this morning... low 40's... :)
We were cruising with an ebb tide... so most of the areas we went through were at or near dead low tide... very skinny waters in a few places... the cut that goes between the Ashepoo River and the Coosaw River was really thin... 5-7 feet all the way through it and we lost the depth sounder reading as we exited the cut and entered the Coosaw River... did not feel us dragging but we were inches from the bottom... all mud bottoms... :)
When we turned up the Coosaw River is when we had the worst current against us... we actually slowed to below 5 knots for a little while... but we were close to the tide switching from ebb to flood so it slowed and we eventually were doing almost 6 knots. Once we exited the Coosaw and entered the Beaufort river we had the current kick in our favor again and we held 7.5 to 8 knots all the way to Beaufort.
We arrived to Beaufort, SC at approximately 1430 hours and had hoped to dock at the small city dock just south of the Beaufort Downtown Marina... but, it was full... 3 sailboats filling the 140 foot floating dock... no FREE dock tonight...:( So, we moved a little further south and dropped the anchor at approximate coordinates... N32°25.801', W080°40.571'
... safe and sound at 1445 hours.
We traveled today for 8 hours and 15 minutes covering 61.3 nautical miles and averaging 6.45 knots.
Trip totals to date:
Distance: 1068.71 nautical miles
Hours: 168 hours 11 minutes
Avg Spd: 6.35 knots
Days not moving: 12
Posted at 4:11 PM