The Route South

Monday, May 9, 2011

Daytona Beach to Brunswick Ga.

Monday, April 25, 2011
When I got up in the morning, I noticed that the refrigerator had shut off during the night.  Oops! We’re out of propane.  So that means I have to make a trip to the pilothouse at 7 AM to switch over to the new bottle of propane…all before the morning coffee!

The anchor was up by 0800 and we ran steadily all morning until we arrived at Matanzas Inlet at 1240.  This was our intended anchorage for the night.  We worked our way into the river by the old fort.  We have had several people rave about the anchorage and we really wanted to try it out.  You can dinghy into the ranger’s docks and take the ferry over to the old fort and tour it.  It dates back to when the Spaniards we first colonizing Florida in the early 1500’s.  There was a conflict between the Spanish and the French Huguenots (French Protestants) that involved a large number of the French being slaughtered and the fort is supposed to be haunted!  But for us, at least for this trip, it was not to be.  We tried several times to get the anchor to set.  It would seem to be stuck in the bottom and secure until we put the engine in reverse.  It held for a while but eventually broke free.  The river is close by the Matanzas Inlet and is subject to a strong reversing tidal current and we wouldn’t have slept well that night.  Neither one of us felt secure enough to leave the boat and go ashore under these conditions so we decided to save this stop for another time.  So up came the anchor and off to St. Augustine we went.
Ft. Matanzas, from the anchorage.


Our original plan was to go from Ft. Matanzas to the Pine Island anchorage.  We planned to bypass St. Augustine this trip.  We have been there several times and the tourist climate doesn’t really appeal to us. But we were able to call and reserve a mooring on short notice, making for an inexpensive night on a mooring rather than paying four times as much for dockage in the marina. With all the money we saved, we went to O.C. Whites for dinner.

We have been plagued with a slightly elevated engine temperature – at least according to the gauge on the instrument panel.  While we were running, I climbed down into the engine room and shot several places on the engine and cooling system with my infrared thermometer and they seemed to be OK.  Just to be on the safe side, I called Joe Hartman, the Volvo mechanic who owns Blue Water Marine and ran the scenario by him.  He concurred with my diagnosis that the gauge or sending unit is going out.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011
The current really runs hard at the marina, making it difficult to dock.  Some times it is almost impossible to dock or undock untie you wait for the tide to change.  We dropped the mooring pennant at 0750 and started north.  Boy it’s easy to get away when you are on a mooring! 
At 0800 we passed beneath the new Bridge of Lions.  The old one was badly in need of replacement but the local citizenry was adamant about not wanting the new one to look different.  So they built a modern, new bridge that looks like the old one.  Pretty neat!
By 1000, Pine Island was on our starboard beam.  This was going to be our anchorage for tonight when we thought we were going to spend last night at Ft. Matanzas.  But onward we go…through the Palm Valley cut.  It is a long, straight and boring stretch of water, one neither of us enjoy. 
Boat house - Palm Valley


 By 1200, we were past the cut and through the Oak Landing Bridge and on our way past Jacksonville.  At 1330 we crossed the St. Johns River, entering Sister’s Creek on the north side.  I’m always surprised to see the size and amount of commercial shipping here.  There is a huge ship repair yard at the mouth of Sisters Creek and in the distance we could see a large ship with containers stacked up to the sky.
Containers on the ship are stacked nearly as high as the bridge!

At 1445 we crossed Nassau Sound to the Amelia River, making 9.6 MPH!  Of course, that never lasts.  You have to pay penance for enjoying that kind of speed and on the other side of the sound, predictably, our speed dropped off to below normal, taking away all that we had gained earlier. 

By 1630 we were tied up to the dock at Fernandina Harbor Marina.  Cindy called Gigi Feazell, her mom’s cousin, who lives on Amelia Island, and Gigi stopped by at 6 for a glass of wine and to catch us up on all of the family goings-on.  This weekend is the 48th annual Shrimp Festival and we are getting kicked out of the marina on Friday morning because they have a full house of reservations.  But we will be there Thursday night to see Gigi march in the parade!
Hey, we know her!  OMG, we are related to her!

We laid over Wednesday and Thursday and thoroughly enjoyed the town.  The bikes were unloaded and we peddled all around as well as taking a trolley tour.  Lunch one day at the Marina Restaurant (not at the marina!), which was just OK, and had a delightful breakfast at “Bright Mornings”.  What a great stop!
Nice dinghy dock.  Fernandina Beach
Downtown Fernandina Beach
Old Courthouse - Fernandina Beach
Downtown Fernandina Beach
I like a church with a sense of humor!


Friday, April 29, 2011
Well, we thought we were getting kicked out of here early, but the sailboat that is in front of us, the one that was supposed to leave yesterday, hasn’t left yet, much to the consternation of the dock master.  The tidal current runs fiercely through here and the wind was blowing about 20 kts., I wasn’t about to try backing out with him in the way.  So we waited.  We got our Coast Guard Safety Check out of the way while we waited and now have a current sticker proclaiming that we passed. 
At 1115 I started warming up the engine when the sailboat’s owner finally showed up.  But he fiddled around for quite a while and it was 1135 before we were able to get away.  No problems...no drama.  The dock crew made us look like we knew what we were doing!  Fifteen minutes later we were crossing St. Mary’s Inlet and the wind speed meter showed 30 kts. across the deck.  I’m glad it wasn’t gusting like that when we were trying to leave the marina! 
By 1250 the anchor was down and set in the anchorage at Cumberland Island.  We have been here twice before and it remains one of our favorite spots.  The place is a national treasure and we are going to hang out here for a couple of nights.

The event of the day might just have been seeing a submarine coming in to Kings Bay just after we anchored.  We heard the Coast Guard escort boats on the radio warning everybody to keep their distance.

Saturday, April 30, 2011
It’s Sam’s birthday.  Happy Birthday Sam – hope you got the card!
We took the dinghy ashore at Sea Camp and had a chat with the park ranger before walking over to the Atlantic side beach.  He lived here on his sailboat.  He brought the boat from Alaska, where he had been a National Park ranger!  There were wild horses out on the beach in two groups.  That wasn’t the big surprise though.  As we walked through the dunes to the beach, a large turkey was sitting on a dune next to the boardwalk, right at eyelevel.  I don’t know who was more surprised!  After that walk, we dinghied down to the Dungeness dock and took the long walk to the ruins.  No horses this time!
Beautiful oak forest - Cumberland Island
Can you find the turkey?  
Dungeness Mansion - Carnegie's winter "cottage"
Wild horses - Cumberland Island

Sunday, May 1, 2011
Today we are off to Brunswick, Ga.
When you need your submarine degaussed, we always recommend Kings Bay.
Reservations are required.
Submarine - Kings Bay Navy Base
Support vessels - Kings Bay
Kings Bay is just off the ICW so they take security very seriously.

0855 - The anchor is up and stowed.  By 0905 we have rejoined the ICW, headed north.
Crossing St. Andrews Sound at 1200 was like riding in a washing machine.  There was a 2 kt. outgoing current and an east wind opposing it.  Morning Star was bucking and throwing water.  Rather sporty.  When we “turned the corner” and started going against the current (but with the wind), our speed dropped from 9.2 to 5.5 but the ride was much more comfortable.  The water is 35 ft. deep or more so there is a lot of water moving in and out of these sounds when the tide changes.
The view from St. Andrews Sound

At 1240, as we approached Jekyll Island, we decided to quickly anchor so we could pull the dinghy up in the davits.  Ten minutes later, the anchor was back up and we were under way again.  By 1330 we were entering St. Simon’s Sound and thirty minutes later we were at the entrance channel to Brunswick Landing Marina.  Twenty minutes later we were firmly tied up in slip J, Dock 6, Morning Star’s home for the next three or four weeks. 
Shrimping is big business in Brunswick, Ga.