Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Monday, March 31, 2014 Off to Jekyll Island, GA

Fernanadina Beach
Factory in Fernandina Beach
We’re off to Jekyll Island…yeah!!  It’s a little cool…50 degrees but the sun is shining and the winds are light.  It’s definitely going to be a glorious day!  We pulled away from the face dock at 8:10 am and motored up into the marina basin to turn the boat around so she didn't get stuck in the mud.  High tide here this morning  is 10:36 with 6.8 feet above MLW.  We made it out through the channel at Amelia Island Yacht Basin without any difficulty!  Out on the ICW, the water looks like a mirror….just perfect…and what a change from yesterday!   We made it up Rayonier Reach and around G1 heading toward Fernandino Beach without bumping bottom like we did here last November. LOL  As we motored passed Fernandina’s marina and mooring field, we had a current on our bow so it took us about 1 hour to get to the Cumberland Sound/St. Mary’s Inlet.
Toward mooring field

ships at nuclear sub base
nuclear sub
Once we got to the day markers in the channel, we now are officially in the Georgia! Yeah!!  We still have about 1 hour of incoming tide so the current is in our favor.  Yes!   Now we can really make time, at least for awhile!!   As we approach King’s Bay, an active nuclear submarine base, I cross my fingers that there aren't any submarines on the move.   The closer we get to the security zone, the more activity we can see with 2  coast guard boats and 2 patrol boats guarding the area.  Ha, I can even see a sub hidden behind a black fence.  If a sub starts to move, we’ll have to pull our boat to the side of the channel and stop with our stern facing the sub…but we made it through that stretch without being stopped!!

The only other area that we need to be extra cautious with today is when we cross through the St. Andrews Sound. The ICW route, takes boats very close to the ocean inlet.  Before we get to the sound, we have time to enjoy a leisurely cruise near Cumberland Island, a national park,  and along the Cumberland Dividing.  This area is just so beautiful.  I’ve got my binoculars out hoping to spot a wild pony or two on the island…nope….the only wildlife I spotted were waterbirds.  Once through this winding waterway, we are fast approaching St. Andrew’s Sound.  I just read the warning in my water guide about this sound.  They strongly urge boaters to not be in the sound when the winds are blowing 20 + from the NE…those were yesterday’s conditions.  I’m sure glad we didn't venture away from the dock yesterday.  We did consider it!  Anyhow,  last fall when we went through this sound, a fog bank rolled in right when we
G 31 looking toward ocean
where is R 32????
were approaching the day markers which in place to keep boats off the shoals.  Not good….Today is totally different.  Clear skies, flat water, warm, and all we have to do is find R32.  This is the critical red day marker that helps all boaters navigate through the encroaching shoals.   All of a sudden, we caught up with a sailboat and a trawler that were off in the distance.  The currents are running strong out to sea and we are cruising at 9.2 kph.   Wow and we’re still looking for R32.  So are the two boats in front of us.  Apparently, that's why they slowed down!!  No R32!!!  It’s a good thing we have our chart plotter as a guide but it's always best to use the navigation buoys or day markers.  Luckily we made it safely around St Andrew’s sound and into the Jekyll Island Sound to Jekyll Harbor Marina…and it’s only 1 pm.

bike trail
view looking north on ICW
We debated about going further but we need to fuel up and so we decided to keep our reservations for the night and spend the afternoon exploring the island.  So once we got squared away with the marina office, we borrowed 2 of their bikes and rode about 5 miles of the 20 mile bike path around the island.  We started out pedaling north along the ICW, around the north end to the ocean, and then we cut across the island and back to the marina.  What a great afternoon.  I can't move my legs now, but what a great day!

Horton House
old foundation on Horton land

bike trail along ocean

Oh,  I almost forgot.  When we docked today, a man came over and started talking to us .  He knew where Columbiana was located and so he wanted to know where we kept our boat.  We couldn’t believe it!  His name is Randy Prentiss and he had our dock, G2, at Geneva Marina before we did!! What a small world…..

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