The Route South

Monday, December 19, 2011

On to Stuart

Monday October 31, 2011
We aren’t very interested in a dawn departure today…its only 46° outside!
At 0730 the engine is warmed up and we are underway.  By 1115 we are passing Georgetown, SC.  The 2+ mph current is in our face and our boat speed is down to 5.7 mph.  But as is the way in South Carolina and Georgia, the current that is bad on one side of an inlet is good on the other, so we will be making 9 mph at some point in the day.
Shortly after lunch we have left Winyah Bay and entered the Estherville-Minum Canal, one of the many land cuts that serve to connect the natural channels making up the ICW. 
By 1550 we have passed McClellanville and turned into the anchorage at Five Fathom Creek.  The anchor is down and set in 15’ of water and one knot of current.  Shortly before sunset we noticed that the dropping tide had exposed a large oyster bar, not too far from the boat.  We decided that we would rather relocate the boat now rather than an hour from now, in the dark.  After a thirty-minute anchor dance, we are settled in for the night.  The propane heater is out and ready.  It is clear and will be cold tonight.
58 miles
Under way on Winyah Bay

Tuesday November 1, 2011
Today will be a fairly short one.  It was cold last night – that must have kept the Trick-Or-Treaters away.  We were warm as toast - our little heater glowed cherry red until we went to bed. When we got up this morning, we turned it back on to take the chill out of the cabin.
At 0745 the engine was started up and five minutes later the anchor was aboard.  We rejoined the ICW at 0800.  By 1230 we were entering Charleston Harbor and by 1315 we were tied up at Charleston Maritime Center.  It’s rockin’ and rollin’ in here but we will be here two nights.  Charleston is one of our favorite stops.
38.5 miles
Charleston Maritime Center 
Car carriers and tugboats pass close by.

Wednesday November 2, 2011
We planned a layover day today.  There is a great Harris-Teeter grocery store just five or six blocks from the marina.  We can reprovision with a week’s worth of groceries on our bikes by using two backpacks and strapping a couple of extra bags on the luggage racks.  With the chores out of the way, we spent the rest of the time sightseeing and shopping in the Old Slave Market.  We didn't buy any old slaves.

We love wandering Charleston and taking in the architecture.

Oh Yeah!  I could live here!
The George Eveleigh house was built around 1743.  Remember your high school history? That's thirty years before the Revolutionary War!  It has remained in the same family since 1875!
More car carriers.  No wonder we rock and roll!

Thursday November 3, 2011
We are away from the dock at 0720.  It is only 50° but the wind is light and variable so its really pretty comfortable.  I love traveling this area of the ICW.  The names of the creeks and rivers sound like Dr. Seuss wrote them.  Wapoo Creek, Stono River, Edisto River, Ashepoo River, Coosaw Cutoff.  After negotiating that alphabet soup we finally arrived at Beaufort (Bee-U-Fort) SC.  Our original plan was to anchor in Factory Creek but the anchorage was crowded and very deep.  We tried a spot in the river near the Town Dock but it too was quite deep and the direction of the forecasted wind shift was unfavorable so we went into the Town Marina at 1730.
73 Miles

Friday November 4 & Saturday November 5, 2011
Glad we decided to take a slip.  The wind is 20, gusting to 30 kts.  We are taking a couple of lay days.  We had lunch on Friday with folks we met off the sailing catamaran Free Bird, Joann and John Gilchrist.  The following day we had lunch with fellow Krogenites, Nick and Sharie (Sweet Time-KK39) and Bill and Ruth (Happy Ours-KK48 Whaleback).  We borrowed the marina’s courtesy car and drove Nick and Sharie back to their boat in Port Royal.

Sunday November 6, 2011
The boat was wide-awake by 0630 and we were away from the dock by 0635.  Its 50° and a jacket feels good.  At 0730 we pass Parris Island, the US Marine Corps. favorite vacation destination, and an hour later we are across Port Royal Sound and entering Skull Creek, passing by the beautiful Hilton Head Island.  Before lunch we entered Georgia by crossing the Savannah River.  By 1230 we passed by Thunderbolt Marina and thirty minutes later we have the anchor down and set in the Herb River.  The huge sailboat "Mirabella V" is in the distance.  You can read more about her at:
By nightfall there are twelve other boats in the anchorage.
47 miles

At 247', "Mirabella V" is the largest single-masted sailboat in the world.
Her mast is 292' tall and is required to have a red aircraft clearance light on top!
She is seen here at Thunderbolt Marina in Georgia.

Monday November 7, 2011
This part of the ICW is mind numbing.  The anchor is up shortly after 0630.  The channel cuts back and forth and back and forth and back… get the idea.  There isn’t much to see other than the salt marsh spartina grass.  Today we negotiate Hells Gate, the Ogeechee River and Florida Passage and pass by my personal favorite, Dog Hammock Spit.  Our plan is to anchor in the Duplin River but when we enter at 1445 the wind and current are fighting with each other and there are white caps in the anchorage.  I don’t think so!  It’s a short fifteen-minute trip across Doboy Sound to the anchorage at the North River and by 1515 the anchor is down and set, in the company of Betty and Jill aboard the KK48, LILI.
69 miles

Tuesday November 8, 2011
Today we don’t have a lot of miles on the agenda.  By 0715 the anchor is up and five minutes later we rejoin the ICW.  We transit the Little Mud River at 0800 – an area that strikes fear in the hearts of cruising boats for its shallow depths.  We are fortunate that the tide is high and we pass through with no problems.  1130 finds us chugging into Brunswick, GA where we are stopping to take on fuel.  The dockhand at Ocean Petroleum helps us tie up and hands over the fuel nozzle.  150 gallons later, we are full.  That’s not too bad, since the last time we fueled was in Norfolk, VA.  By 1210 we are under way again, retracing our track back to Golden Isles Marina on St. Simons Island, our stop for the night.
43 miles

Wednesday November 9, 2011
We started the engine at 0730 and were able to pirouette the boat around in a tight spot, thanks to the current and the wind.  Before 0800 we are entering St. Simons Sound and an hour later we are transiting St. Andrews Sound.  That is significant because the channel runs out into the mouth of the inlet into the Atlantic.  When the wind and tide current don’t cooperate, it gets lumpy – damn lumpy.  It only takes us thirty minutes to go across to Cumberland Island but it seems like a lot longer.  We have rearranged some of the furniture in the cabin and will have to be careful when we open the cabinets because who knows what is going to jump out!  At 1200 we pass the Kings Bay Submarine Base.  Nobody home!?  At 1245 we are anchored at the south end of Cumberland Island.
37 miles

Thursday November 10, 2011
Lay over day.  The dinghy is in the water and the 15 HP outboard is ready to go.  We went to the Sea Camp dock and walked over to the beach for a little picnic.  It’s a beautiful day!  Betty and Jill invited us to Lili for dinner.  YUM!

Friday November 11, 2011   Veterans’ Day
Last night a cold front blew through and it got LUMPY!  We are happy to get out of here.  The engine is running by 0750 but we are having a problem with our anchor snubber, the rope that attached to the anchor chain.  The retaining pin that holds the hook in place on the anchor chain is bent and won’t open.  I was finally able to work it free and at 0815 the anchor is finally up.  By 0900 we are crossing back in Florida, passing one of our favorite stops, Fernandina Beach.  But not this trip.  Instead we continue on, crossing the St. Johns River and passing through Palm Valley, anchoring at Pine Island shortly after 1530.
56 miles

Saturday November 12, 2011
Today will be short.  The engine is warmed up by 0830 and 15 minutes later we are back in the ICW.  It is a short trip to St. Augustine and just after 1030 we are tied up to mooring #M5 at St. Augustine Municipal Marina.
13 miles
The north mooring field at St. Augustine. The old fort is visible to the right.

Sunday November 13, 2011
It’s a late start today.  Breakfast ashore and then back to the boat for a 1000 departure.  Its nice leaving from a mooring.  Untie one string and drop it overboard.  That’s’ it!  No fenders and dock lines to store.  No muddy anchor chain to wash.  Two hours later we are docking again, at Marineland.  This isn’t the Marineland of your youth.  It’s the same location but a totally new facility, now owned by the Georgia Aquarium.  The marina is a totally new facility and very nice.  But there is nothing around…no stores, no restaurants, and no courtesy car.  Marineland was one of the very first dolphin shows, a pioneer.  But now the focus has changed and it is primarily a research and education facility, although it is open for tours.  It is a nice, quiet stop with good floating docks.
18 miles
Back in a different time!
Its a calm day on the Atlantic Ocean.  Marineland, FL
The dolphins are like big Labrador Retrievers waiting to be fed!
Cindy had the same picture taken here when she was a kid...a loooong time ago!

Monday November 14, 2011
By 0800 we are breakfast’d, coffee’dand underway.  The ICW is all ours today.  There is almost no boat traffic.  Palm Coast slid by at 0900 and at 1230 we are tying up at Loggerhead Marina in Daytona Beach.  As we were finishing tying the boat, Wayne and Carol on Take Time (KK48 Whaleback) cruised by.  This will be home until after Thanksgiving.
33 miles

Tuesday November 29, 2011
Thanksgiving in Clearwater was great.  We stayed part of the time at Chip and Susan’s and part of it with Bob and Sharie.  We had a nice holiday dinner at Sharies and Mom came with us.  She did great and really enjoyed the afternoon.  The Friday after Thanksgiving we drove back to Daytona and Chip and Major came for a visit.  It was nice to spend some time with him on the boat.
We were away from the dock by 0700 and two hours later are past Ponce Inlet and New Smyrna Beach.  Along the way we passed a Gozzard 43 trawler named Mar-Ian.  I chatted them up on the VHF radio and it turns out that it belongs to a former Manatee (Sumo) owner, Ian Payton.  They were on a delivery trip up from the Keys where they just purchased the boat.  Noon found us transiting the Haulover Canal and by 1600 the anchor was down at Cocoa.
69 miles

Wednesday November 30, 2011
By 0715 we are headed south in the ICW again.  At 0915 we pass Dragon Point at Eau Gallie.  There has been a rumor that the dragon was going to be rebuilt but there is no evidence yet.  Just before lunch we pass Sebastian Inlet and at 1325 we turn off the ICW and into the Loggerhead Marina in Vero Beach.  This is not our usual stop because we really enjoy the mooring field at Vero Beach.  But we have a few days left on our contract with Loggerhead in Daytona and consequently we have reciprocal rights here.  In short, we are staying here tonight for free!
51 miles

Thursday December 1, 2011
Shortly after 0700 we are back in the ICW.  At 0730 we pass the mooring field at Vero Beach and an hour and a half later we are passing Ft. Pierce.  By 1145 we are at “the Crossroads”, a convoluted convergence of the St. Lucie Inlet, the southbound ICW, the St. Lucie River/Okechobee Waterway and the northbound ICW.  As we turn north and head up the St. Lucie River toward Stuart, the wind is gusting over 30 kts. across the deck.  This could make docking interesting!  By 1300 we are side-tied to the floating dock at Sunset Bay Marina – home for the winter.
48 miles
Home for the winter!
Its not hard to like being here!