The Route South

Friday, April 28, 2006


Friday April 28, 2006

Hit the road in the rental car and headed back to Jacksonville Beach. We got in about 9 PM and found MORNING STAR waiting patiently at her dock. Someone had unplugged the power cord so the refrigerator was off. Fortunately it must not have been off long because the freezer was still cold. Our trick for monitoring the freezer when we are away is to place a penny on top of an ice cube in the tray. If we come back and the penny is still on top of the ice we know everything was OK. If the penny is frozen in the ice we know that the fridge was off, the ice melted and then the power came back on and refroze the ice tray. Fortunately the penny was still on top of the cube.

Saturday April 29,2006

We made a run to West Marine and Publix before giving up our rental car this morning. We got away from the dock a bit before 11AM. By early afternoon we were passing by Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach. At 3:30 PM we were crossing St. Mary’s Inlet and into Georgia. Will we need to get our passports stamped when we go ashore? We left the ICW and headed up the St. Mary’s River to the village of the same name. We anchored for about fifteen minutes but the wind was strong and the current was HUGE so we pulled out and headed elsewhere. It’s too bad because St. Mary’s has a great reputation as a stopover. Oh well, maybe in the fall. Instead we went across the Sound to Cumberland Island. The anchor was down by 6 PM with about a dozen other boats in the anchorage between Sea Camp and Greyfield. We saw several wild horses on the way into the anchorage.
The Ranger's dock at Sea Camp - Cumberland Island

Sunday April 30, 2006

Had a lazy morning. Watched fishing shows on ESPN…had breakfast. Launched the dingy and went ashore to Sea Camp at Cumberland Island National Seashore where we had a nice chat with Ranger Debbie before walking across the island to the Atlantic Ocean beach. We brought our lunch so we stopped for a picnic part way across. The island is beautiful. It is almost completely natural and will remain so since it is administered by the National Park system. The island was owned almost entirely by the Thomas Carnegie family and was deeded to the Park Service instead of selling out to developers. Thomas Carnegie was Andrew Carnegie’s rich brother so the developers didn’t have anything to offer the family that they didn’t already have and more. I’m sure that there were some pretty great tax incentives but because of their gift the island will be preserved for all of us to enjoy. There are a few private tracts remaining but they will all revert to the Park Service eventually. Imagine Hilton Head without golf courses, condos and houses.
Boardwalk to the beach - Cumberland Island
Path through the woods - Cumberland Island
Old oak tree - Cumberland Island
Wood nymph - Cumberland Island

We took the dingy down to the Dungeness dock and toured around. Dungeness was the Thomas Carnegie cottage (read “mansion”). It was built in the 1800’s. Carnegie’s widow did several interesting things there. First, when each of her children reached 21 she gave them a parcel of land (ocean to bay-maybe 3 or 4,000 acres) on the island, and if they wanted, built them a house (read “mansion”. Greyfield Inn is one of those. You may remember hearing about Greyfield …it’s where JFK, jr. was married.) She somehow structured the gifts such that the land would remain intact and as you already know it was gifted to the NPS. Second, she also willed that upon her death all her horses would be turned out wild. There were already wild horses on the island, left over from the Spanish, so her Morgans and thorobreads certainly refreshed the gene pool. The horses still roam wild, between 145 &180 strong. Dungeness was burned down (arson) in 1952 so all that remains are ruins. Kind reminded me of looking at castles in Scotland. By the way, Jane, Sharie and Annie, the herds are completely unmanaged. The only thing they NPS does is to count them every three years or so. Sounds like they could give a lesson to the BLM out west.
Ruins at Dungeness - Cumberland Island
Dungeness - Cumberland Island
Wild horses at Dungeness - Cumberland Island

About 4 PM we pulled up the anchor and moved north to the Brickhill River. On the way we passed by the Kings Bay Submarine Base (sorry, no pictures). Spooky! Saw two boats doing security patrol, one with a 50 cal. machine gun mounted on the bow. The base is right on the edge of the ICW and we could see one sub flying British colors (stopped for some gas and a sandwich?) and another, which we assume to be US. At least that was all we could see. There are multiple large “hangers” built out over the water. Who knows what goes on inside there?

We anchored for the night with one other boat off Plum Orchard Plantation, another of the Carnegie cottages (read “mansion”).

Monday May 1, 2006

Pulled the anchor up shortly after breakfast and headed north. By 11 AM we were in the washing machine that was St. Andrews Sound. By lunchtime we had passed by Jekyll Island and were crossing St. Simon’s Sound. As we entered Jekyll Sound we passed the tug, “Sara Kaitlin”, pulling a dredge, a barge and a bunch of dredge pipe, probably stretched for almost ½ mile. It takes four small pushboats (mini-tugs) to keep all this mess lined up going around a corner. We went toward the north end of St. Simon’s, left the ICW and went up the Frederica River, anchoring off Ft. Frederica by 2 PM. Dingied ashore and looked at the ruins of the fort and the archaeology site. Very interesting. The log shows “Horseflies”, an entry which will be repeated for the next week and a half.

Sara Kaitlin towing dredge gear

Fredrica River anchorage.

Tuesday May 2, 2006

Pulled the anchor up at 8:15 Am and cruised north up the Frederica River. We rejoined the ICW where we turned back south and headed to Golden Isles Marina, on St. Simon’s. We met Ron & Elaine Coker, Master Pools friends from Atlanta. They rent a condo at St. Simon’s for the month of May every year. We planned this day almost three months ago. They came by and picked us up. We went to lunch, toured the island and went back to MORNING STAR for a drink before going to dinner. A very pleasant day and a break from our normal routine.

Wednesday May 3, 2006

Today we gotta’ pay the piper! We have been lollygagging around, playing tourist since we got back to the boat in Jax Beach. Now we have to make some miles. We were away from the dock by 7 AM and pushed hard all day. Altamaha Sound, Doboy Sound, Sapelo Sound, St. Catherine Sound, Bear River, Florida Passage, the extremely shallow Hell’s Gate, and up the Burntside River. We passed Isle of Hope marina, which was full, as was the anchorage so we continued up the Skidaway River to a wide spot near the confluence of the Skidaway and Washington rivers. A twelve hour, 89 mile day and we are beat. Today stopped being fun about 4 Pm but we really needed to put the miles under the keel.

Thursday May 4, 2006

We have the anchor up and are under way by 7:15 AM. We cross the Savannah River by 8:45 AM. Welcome to South Carolina. Gotta’ get our passports stamped again. The city of Savannah is up the river and not on the ICW. Most cruisers who want to visit that city will stop at Isle of Hope or Thunderbolt and take a bus. Not in the cards for us this trip. We touched the bottom at Ramshorn Creek but only for a second. We passed Dauphuskie Island, crossed Calibouge Sound and there on the right was the candy stripped lighthouse that is the trademark of Hilton Head Island. We traveled up Port Royal Sound and entered the Beaufort River, passing by the sight of so much misery for so many Marines, Parris Island. We were docked at Beaufort (pronounced Bew-fort) City Marina by 2 PM. Walked around the town for an hour or so and were mighty disappointed. The pretty little park we remembered at the end of the town docks was being reconstructed and enlarged so we were tied up next to a construction site. The little town is becoming “tourist-fied”…there was even a small cruise ship anchored our, ferrying passengers ashore. Had a lousy dinner at “Kathleen’s”. If you ever visit Beaufort be sure to pass “Kathleens” by. Cindy described it as underwhelming. At least there aren’t a bunch of tee shirt shops…yet.

Friday May 5, 2006

Cinco de Mayo!

Underway before 7:30 AM, headed north up the ICW. Traveling up rivers with strange names - Coosaw, Ashepoo, Edisto (where we passed “Sara Kaitlin again)”, Stono and finally Wapoo Creek and into Charleston. We have reserved a slip at the Charleston City Marina. We are tied up before 5 PM along what they refer to as the “megadock”. The damn thing has to be a half-mile long and we are two boats from the end. You don’t just stroll down the dock to go ashore without some advance planning. If you forget anything it takes the better part of the day to go back! Charleston Marina has a courtesy van which will shuttle you into town so we hopped the 7 PM van and went into the City Market area for dinner. The wind was really blowing this afternoon and it continued into the evening. We had a good dinner at “The Noisy Oyster” which was recommended by our van driver. It started raining before we finished dinner and it was worth the $5 cab fare back to the marina. A good day on the water and a good end to week three.