Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Florida Finally!

One never knows what one will see on the ICW.  These wild goats on a barrier island were a bit of a surprise to us.

On Sunday, November 3rd, we motored out of Osprey Marina early and headed down the Waccamaw River towards Georgetown.  We love the forest on the Waccamaw.

We arrived at Georgetown, South Carolina by noon, so we had the afternoon to enjoy the town.  The boardwalk along the harbor is still nice, but a recent fire destroyed a whole block of the shops and restaurants along the waterfront.

Just before dark our Canadian friends Brian and Jane Wilson from S/V Mar-a-Lago stopped by in their dingy.  We were happy to visit with them, but also told them that we were beginning a mad dash to get far enough south to find warm weather at night.  Since we are now on a delivery trip and they are cruising and enjoying the towns, we knew that we would not see them again soon.

On Monday the 4th we left Georgetown at 6:30 and motored 46.9 miles to the Isle of Palms.  The weather was windy and cold, so we did no sightseeing.

On November 5th we bypassed Charleston and sailed to Toms Point Creek, where we enjoyed an excellent night at anchor.  Indeed, the holding here is very good and we had to work to get the anchor up.

Wednesday the 6th we travelled to Beaufort, South Carolina.  We arrived a little after noon, and were able to get the free courtesy car for one hour.  This led to a frenzied visit to the grocery store so that we could stock up on supplies.  Jack scored a new battery for his tired timex watch, and then we hid from the voracious no-seeums by staying in the boat.

Thursday, November 7th we left the dock at first light to avoid the building current.  Ray and Sandy Meyer from S/V Horizon executed the same plan, and emailed us a picture of passage in the early morning light.

We enjoyed a nice current ride to and passed Hilton Head Island, where we saw two lighthouses.

We passed through the potentially difficult Field's Cut near high tide, so had no problems.  We arrived at Thunderbolt Marina in Georgia early that afternoon. 

Thunderbolt Marina works on both power and sail mega yachts.

Our favorite part of the stay at Thunderbolt Marina was the 6 warm Krispy Kreme donuts delivered to the boat at 6:30 a.m.

Friday, November 8, found Passage pinned against the dock by a strong wind and powerful current.  We successfully left the crowded dock with the aid of a skilled dock attendant.  We soon passed the Skidaway Narrows Bridge, which has been replaced by a high span, leaving only one lift bridge in all of Georgia.

One can see the remains of the draw bridge, which is being demolished.  It was fun passing through Hell's Gate in the strong winds, but fortunately we arrived at high tide.  We motored through with no problems, and arrived at Kilkenny Creek Marina.  This marina is pretty primitive.  Instead of cleats, one ties his boat to 2x6 posts sticking up a foot above the dock.  Interestingly, out here in the middle of no where is Marker 107 Restaurant , right next door to the marina.  We enjoyed an excellent dinner at this well staffed and popular eatery on the waterfront.  Sue even had a stimulating political conversation with two local men.

We left Kilkenny Creek Marina early and at low tide.  The tide in Georgia is 9 to 10 feet, but luckily the early part of the ICW was wide and deep.  We arrived at the Little Mud River near high tide, which was great because even our catamaran could not pass here at low tide.  The marshes look very different at low tide, when one can see the banks of the waterway, and high tide, when the marsh grass is partially under water.

Luckily, we enjoyed incredible current rides, which encouraged us to extend our day's travel.  We reached St. Simon's Sound and its lighthouse earlier than expected.

We reached Jekyll Harbor Marina on Jekyll island at 3:40, and squeezed into the last place on their long face dock, thanks to Randy Prentice, and old friend who works here during the winter and helped move boats to make room for us.

We enjoyed happy hour on the dock, and Diana Prentice entertained us with a rendition of Okracoke on her guitar.

 We had a great time, but eventually the no-seeums drove us off the dock.
The weather forecast warned of a strong cold front coming with very strong winds, so we decided we could not stay at Jekyll Island even though we really wanted to.  We knew we had three days to find a really secure harbor.
So, on Sunday, November 10th, we pushed Passage's bow out, waited for the current to grab it, and departed the dock at Jekyll Harbor Marina.  We passed the King's Bay Submarine base, even spotting a sub that was not hidden in a pen.
Soon, we crossed into Florida!  After buying fuel in Fernandina Beach, we travelled on to the Fort George River, near Jacksonville, Florida.  We enjoyed a very peaceful night, sharing the anchorage with two other boats.
Monday the 11th we pulled up a clean anchor and chain to depart by 7:30.  We crossed the St. John's River and fought an impressive current.  We also saw interesting sand banks and colorful birds.

 We arrived in St. Augustine at 2:35 and tied up to mooring ball 37.  After dingying to shore to sign in and take showers, we enjoyed a quiet evening on the boat.

Tuesday, November 12th, we were up early and cast off from the mooring ball at first light.  46.4 nautical miles later we arrived at Halifax Marina in Daytona Beach.  We settled in to dock H 29, showered and enjoyed an excellent pork tenderloin dinner.  We expected extremely windy conditions to begin over night, and we were not disappointed.  November 13th has been spent as a lay day, tethered to the dock by winds as high as 39 miles an hour according to our wind machine.  We will continue our trek to Ft. Myers as soon as the winds abate.


  1. You passed close by me! I live in St. Marys near Kings Bay. Too bad you couldn't be here at Thanksgiving, all the boaters in port have a big potluck. It started several years ago when a storm forced the boats to come into port. Good luck in your travels. Dawn Stahnke Champion Class of 1975

  2. See via your Spot you almost to Fort Myers. Just helped Craig & Helen move their boat to a yard for bottom painting. Maybe we can all get together soon. We are in Cape Coral.