Gorgen's ODYSSEE

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Off to Virginia


We're making a late summer trip up to Virginia and will be joined by the Johanson grand-daughters.  Plan to drop the lines on Saturday, August 4 and be back on Monday September 4.  On the way north we'll be making a couple of stops to see friends.  Stay tuned!

It's Saturday, August 4th, everything on the boat has been serviced and we're ready to go.  Except, we ordered new canvas that is a week late getting installed and a last minute mistake on the starboard rear panel is back at the shop getting fixed.  Chuck's Custom Upholstery has worked into the evening last night to get us fixed so by 10:00 AM we should be ready to go.  I suggested to Chuck that he could just add a wedge strip to that back corner and would get it fixed when we got back.  But Chuck is proud of his work and doesn't want us leaving without things being right.  He's just one of those guys that insists it be right, that's why he does all of our canvas work.

We plan to anchor out for the first three nights and get to Barefoot Resort Marina in North Myrtle Beach on Tuesday afternoon and enjoy dinner with Jim and Pam aboard SILVER BOOTS, boaters we met the first time in Elk Rapids, Michigan in 2007, and see occasionally ever since.  The next post will be when we get there and have access to Wi-Fi.

Four days and 200 miles under the keel, we are right on schedule in North Myrtle Beach.  We finally dropped the lines on Saturday at 12:30 PM, traveled 51 miles and anchored in Tom Point Creek.  On Sunday we passed through Charleston and 61 miles further up the Intracoastal Waterway and anchored east of the waterway in Awendaw Creek, just south of McClellanville.

On Monday as we approached Georgetown, we saw several long boom back hoes digging in some of the old rice farms out in the salt marsh.  A pontoon bridge has also been added to allow vehicles to get out to the salt marshes east of the ICW, we have no idea what is being excavated.  As we passed through Georgetown, we stayed to the west channel and went up the Pee Dee River to Jericho Creek which winds through the old rice field area with many old water gates still standing.  These field are between the Pee Dee and Waccamaw Rivers which fed fresh water to these fields during an outgoing tide.  They would open the gates to flood the fields with fresh water.  As the tide turned and salt water came back into creek of the area, the gates were closed to keep the salt water out.  Now back on the ICW in the Waccamaw River, we started seeing more Cypress trees as we moved into the Cypress Marshes that are south of Myrtle Beach.





Along the way we detoured through Prince Creek, looping back into the ICW just south of Bucks Port.  We anchored that nigh in "Old R" as this creek is referred to on the charts.






Tuesday's trip up to Barefoot Resort Marina in North Myrtle was only 24 miles, but was one of the worst days of cruising we've experienced.  The ICW becomes a dredged narrow channel lined with docks, with many DNR "SLOW YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR WAKE" signs posted along the way, something all responsible boaters generally do.  Well, not the US Coast Guard, they came roaring by us only 10' off our port side at 3/4 throttle, unannounced, in one of their 30' patrol boats while we were running at slow speed, being responsible for our wake, no call for a pass, no warning at all.  It was maybe the worst waking we have ever had.  Our wet bar refrigerator door was not locked down, the door flew open, wine bottles-one broken, beer can, and pop cans, all over the sun deck floor.  Two full cups of coffee on a rubber mat next to the control panel tipped over and then onto the sun deck floor where they broke.  If they had been on an emergency call I might excuse this piloting, but they weren't.  We cleaned up the mess best we could without a hose, and locked down the bar refrigerator.  Good thing, about 30 minutes later a 50' Sea Ray bubble boat waked us passing us close on the starboard side, in the same narrow channel lined with docks, no call for a pass, no attempt to let us know he was coming.  IDIOTS!  Just as we were ready to dock the sky opened up and we got drenched coming into the marina.  Soaking wet, I diverted some of the water on the deck to the sun deck floor and with a deck brush cleaned up the sticky mess on the floor. 

We capped off the day with a delightful "indoor picnic" aboard
SILVER BOOTS.  Claria didn't have too much fun!

                                                               
On Wednesday we travel further north up to Wrightsville Beach where I visited with a customer who has a 12,500# capacity DryDock Boat Lift with a 33' Onslow Bay CC on it.  We took a couple of pictures and anchored close to his house for the night.







Let me pause and apologize for the lateness of my updates.  I expected to Wi-Fi at Kingsmill Resort Marina, but no such luck, I have to go up to the resort common areas to get Wi-Fi.

After leaving Wrightsville Beach we travel up to Moorhead City on Thursday where we spent the night at a free dock in front of Sanitary Seafood restaurant, where we enjoyed a relaxing dinner.  Did I mention that it rained again, like it has everyday since we left home.  The good news, we have a windshield with wipers so we can see pretty well and stay nice and dry under our hard top.  Many boats have canvas at their upper drive stations and looking through isinglass in the rain leaves a lot to be desired, and driving from lower drive stations greatly reduces visibility when your dodging crab trap buoys.

As we continued up to Norfolk we continued to have rain on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. On Friday night we anchored near Belhaven, NC, at the start of the Alligator-Pungo River Canal.  Normally we have two options goin up to Norfolk, the Dismal Swamp Canal route of the Virginia Cut route.  Dismal Swamp is still closed from storm damage from Matthew with many trees in the canal, so we are forced to take the Virginia Cut - we prefer the Dismal Swamp.  On Saturday we anchored near the NC, VA border at the beginning of the Virginia Cut Canal.  As we traveled through the Canal on Sunday we had draw bridges and one lock to deal with which tend to slow you way down.  They have the bridge openings and lock opening timed for travel through the canal at 6 MPH.

Once in the congested harbors of Portsmouth, Norfolk, and Hampton, we can get under all of the bridges, but there is lots of Naval and Container Ship traffic to deal with.  We arrived at Rebel Marina near the entrance to Chesapeake Bay just before 5:00 PM Sunday evening and enjoyed dinner with my sister and brother-in-law.

Rebel Marina is one of the neatest and best run marinas we have visited, by far the best marina so far on this trip.  They have a courtesy car, so we could run some errands and re provision the boat, and pick up our granddaughters at the Norfolk Airport later in the afternoon.  Oh, and did I mention it rained again!  We joined my sister and husband at their residence on the shore of Chesapeake Bay for dinner, this would be the only chance for them to see the kids.
            
                         Elisabeth, Anya, Sister Mary, Jack, Me.  Claria is taking the picture.

On Tuesday we cast off at 7:05 to head up the James River to Williamsburg.  The tidal current was going to be against us so allowed an extra half hour to go 32 miles.  There is much naval presence and commercial container service in the harbor.


And the kids got a chance to catch up on sleep from a busy day getting here.  We arrived at Kingsmill Resort Marina at 11:45, and were on a bus to Colonial Williamsburg at 1:00.  Elisabeth had set up a 2:30 tour of William and Mary University which we all enjoyed.  We had dinner in town and caught the last bus back to the resort.



Kingsmill Resort Marina is one of the worst marinas we have visited.  The marinas primary function is to rent water toys to the resort guests, jet skies, paddle boards, kayaks, pontoon boats, and fishing gear.  Transient boating guests are a low priority.  The docks are in poor condition, Wi-Fi does not work anyplace in the marina, there is one small unisex rest room with small shower, There is no boaters lounge or laundry facilities.  As you can see from the pictures we are the only transient, the boat across from us is a permanent marina customer.  But, the resort itself is first class and the resort staff very cordial.


We spent all of our time at Williamsburg, with some time using the resort swimming pool and lazy river.  The kids didn't seem to want to go to Busch Gardens, they were more interested in learning the history at Colonial Williamsburg.

On Friday, August 18th we headed back down the James River, fueled up and pumped out in Hampton, and headed north in Chesapeake Bay for the Potomac River.  As we entered the bay we had a light wind from the south on our stern with an outgoing tide pushing against us.  It was apparent we would not make our planned anchorage if we didn't step up the speed of the boat, so we put the old gal up on plane.  About 10 miles from Ingram Bay we slowed back down to hull speed.  By now the wind had increased to about 20 MPH and the waves had built up to 2-3', still from the south on our stern.   The coast guard came on the radio to warn mariners of an approaching line of thunder storms, at which point I went to one of the weather stations to learn more of the pending weather.  We were still a little over an hour from our planned anchorage, so I again put the boat up on plane to shorten the time to get off the bay.  Once inside of Ingram Bay we worked up into Mill Creek and found a well protected spot to anchor.  We put down two anchores, one for the south wind we were in and one for the expected west wind when the storm front came through.  At about 9:00 the storm front did arrive, the wind blew hard from the west, but other than the wind blowing, no waves could build up where we were.  We had a peaceful night.

Saturday morning we woke up to beautiful, relatively cool dry day.  The wind shifted to the west during the night and we had a light breeze.  We came out into the Bay 7 miles south of the Smith Point Light and the entrance into the Potomac River. 
                                                    




As we started up the river the tide was rising and we were getting a push of about .8 MPH.  The tide up river was later in the day as we went, and we rode the rising tide bubble all the way to our anchorage.  At times, where the river got narrower, the tidal push increased up to about 2 MPH.  With the push we managed to log 100 miles and anchored 27 miles further up the river than my plan.  Never in all the cruising we've done have we ever had a tidal push for 11 hours.  This left only 27 miles to get to Washington on Sunday so we arrived about noon.  Along the way we passed Mount Vernon and went under the I 95 bridge.
 











With our early arrival, we got an extra half day of site seeing which allowed us to see the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, MLK Memorial, FDR Memorial, and Jefferson Memorial.  Monday we had tour tickets for the Capitol first thing, which we followed with the Library of Congress, Botanical Gardens, viewing of the eclipse from the Mall, and the Castle of the Smithsonian Institute.  On Tuesday we started the day at the White House, the Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the Ford Theater.


Wednesday we all went up to American University an the NW corner of the metro area so Elisabeth could visit the campus.  Following the visit we went down to George Town to see the Old Stone House and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal which is undergoing a major reconstruction, and then back to the boat.  We also found a specialty cup cake shop and managed to spend $40.00 for four really special cupcakes.  Time to pack up and get the girls back on an airplane on Thursday morning.











Up early Thursday, all packed, off to the airport in a       
cab.  I returned to the boat on my first attempt with the
METRO subway system.  As a senior my fare was
supposed to be $1.20.  BUT, the only way to access
the subway is with a SmartTrip card.  The minimum
you can put on a SmartTrip card is $2.00 and then you
need to pay $2.00 for the card, so now my trip cost
$4.00.  Anybody need a SmartTrip card with a balance
value of $.80?  I did make it back to the boat!


Once the kids were safely on their way home, we got the boat ready to travel again.  Our boating plan was to go south about 24 miles on the Potomac River to the Occcoquan River and then turn NW up the river to Occoquan, VA 8 miles up the river to meet Jim and Becky for dinner at Madigans.  All went to plan and we had a delightful evening with our friends.

Somehow the post I did last night didn't get published, so I'll try again and add todays excitement!

On Friday we headed further south down the Potomac River and went into Coan River to anchor for the night.  The weather forecast was for ENE winds blowing 10-12 kts. through the night and into tomorrow.  As we left the anchorage Saturday morning it appeared the wind was more like 15-18 kts. and the waves were 2-3'.   To smooth out the ride we put the boat up on plane.  As we rounded Smith Light and entered Chesapeake Bay, the tidal current was behind us giving us a push and the waves were somewhat less, so we slowed the boat down to hull speed to conserve fuel.  After running for an hour or so, the wind picked up and so did the waves, so we went back up on plane.  Another hour and the wind died to almost calm, the waves subsided, so we slowed down to hull speed again.  As mid afternoon approached, the wind again came back up, and now we at the entrance of Chesapeake Bay to the Atlantic so the waves built to 3-4'.  We were headed for Lynnhaven Inlet in behind Atlantic Beach which is to the east of the bridge-tunnel.  As we approached the center tunnel to cross to the east side, the Coast Guard approached our port stern corner and announced they wanted to board and conduct a courtesy inspection.  We acknowledged and Claria went over to the port rail to discuss where they would board.  We were unable to open the canvas without a screw driver so she suggested they board over the hand rail at about mid ship.  Keep in mind the waves are 3-4' on our side, so the boarding party of three would have to step up about 4' to our deck and then over the hand rail as the two boats bounced around in the waves.  One of the boarding party was a woman, and she was not excited about the leap from their boat to ours, so they decided not to board.  Good job Claria of discouraging them!  We continued into Lynnhaven Inlet as the wind and waves continued to build.  We had dinner with my sister Mary and her husband Jack.

On Sunday we took a boat ride up into Broad and Linkhorn Bays behind Cape Henry with Mary and Jack and two other couples on board.  We were also celebrating Mary and Jack's 54th wedding anniversary.

For those watching the weather, realize that the development of low pressure system 10 into a tropical storm is very probable and will come right into our southbound path.  Tuesday will be the worst day, and by Wednesday things will get somewhat back to normal.  If we stay put in Lynnhaven we loose two days, or we could venture out early Monday and get into the ICW where we would be somewhat protected, and if we could get to Coinjock would only loose one day.  We opted for some rough going on Monday leaving Lynnhaven Inlet, and it was as expected, 4-5' waves on our rear starboard corner, but once in Norfolk and the ICW, was very manageable.

BUT, progress down the canal was SLOW.  Our first holdup was a RR draw bridge, which was down when we arrived.  After about 20 minutes we heard a train whistle so assumed we would see a train shortly.  Another 10 minutes and a 3 car train crossed, a locomotive, a flat car with a load of lumber, and a caboose.  Another 10 minutes and the bridge began to raise.  By now we had a tug boat waiting with us, a he was in a big hurry to get under the bridge, proceeding before the bridge was up and locked in place.  I guess I know too much about cable hoists, if they are going fail it's when they are in motion. 
Our next hold up was at the Great Bridge lock and draw bridge.  The bridge is about 1/2 mile down the canal from the lock and they work together, with the bridge opening on the hour.  We called the lock that we were coming at 11:15 and advised them we would be there at 11:30.  The lock master said we would lock through at 12:00, which meant we would miss the 12:00 bridge opening.  When we arrived at 11:30 there was a south bound sailing catamaran in the lock just starting down.  I would assume the lock door was closed at about 11:25.  The catamaran exited the lock about 11:45 and passed through the 12:00 bridge opening.  The lock master left the lock open at the north end, I assume waiting to see if there was a north bound boat at the bridge he was not aware of before he recycled the lock for a south bound lock through.  We got into the lock about 12:20 and out at about 12:35, and through the bridge opening at 1:00.  We arrived at Coinjoke Marina about 6:40.   

With the forecast for low depression 10 to maybe become a tropical storm as he went through on Tuesday, we elected to lay low for the day to wait out the storm.  Tuesday was a nice day until about 5:30 PM, then we finally got some wind and a shower, we could have traveled today.  We are expecting things to calm down through the night, as forecast, so plan to leave in the morning, and be in Moorhead City Thursday evening.   

We did leave Wednesday morning.  There had been a North wind blowing all night and when we entered Albermarle Sound there were substantial waves on the side and an unpleasant ride.  We made the decision to turn south towards Ocracoke so the waves were now on our stern.  We turned into the Ocracoke harbor at &:15 and were tied up to the National Park Dock by 7:30.

On Thursday morning we spent some time walking around tow and found a good coffee shop and a couple of cups.  We cast off at about 11:00 and had a very pleasant day finishing the day in Oriental where we found room on the free town dock.  We met boating friends Paul and Laurie for dinner. 

From here until we get home, we will be in delivery mode, anchoring every night and going until we are tired.  We'll be home late Monday evening, September 4 or Tuesday afternoon, September 5.

We grabbed a cup of coffee at The Bean just across the street from the town dock, and were on our way early.  It is 365 miles to our dock from here. 

On Monday afternoon, September 4 at about 4:40 PM we tied up to our dock, 44 hours of traveling down the ICW at 9 MPH, 1350RPM, getting 1.83 MPG, pretty good for a heavy 43' boat. 



























 




Friday, January 6, 2017

Escape to Florida, 2017

As mid January approaches coastal South Carolina, so do a few freezing nights.  Time to think about moving south until early March.  ODYSSEE is being readied to cast off on Saturday, January 14.  We're hoping for a good weather window so we can run outside for the first two days, spending one night at anchor midway down the Georgia coast, and coming back inside at the St. Johns River at the end of the second day.

The plan worked!  Sea conditions on Saturday,  January 14 were just  what we ordered.  We ran outside at hull speed, 9 MPH, 8 Kts., and came in at Doboy Sound, just south of Sapelo Island, and snuck up South River about ¼ mile and dropped the hook, a 90 mile day.










                                    Sea conditions as we pass Ossabaw Sound, 9 miles out.

        











   
Sapelo Island old light house                                    Sunset from our anchorage in the South River


Sunday we woke up to fog so delayed our departure to 8:00 as the fog at sea lifted.  Looked like the fog was still pretty thick inland from us.  Another day of calm seas allowed us to get to the Saint Mary River entrance and come inside to the ICW at Fernandina and run the rest of the way to Jacksonville where there is a free dock where we spent the night.

    







On Monday we had a good ride to Marineland.  At about 11:50, as we came into St. Augustine, the phone rang and it was Annette.  "Where are you", we'll be going under the Lions Gate Bridge in 10-15 minutes, "Oh my God, I'm about to drive over that bridge, I'll park and take your picture".  And we'll take yours! 









We did the 57 mile run in 6 hrs., 40 min.,  good time on the ICW.  SILVER BOOTS was there, the crew from LAST DANCE lives there, and new to be neighbors on Claire's Point, Greg and Annette all got together for dinner.







 


We leave Lions Gate Bridge in our wake and pass to the west of the St. Augustine Light House located where the original channel was from the Atlantic into the Tolomato and Matanzas Rivers.






On Tuesday we moved south through Daytona 
Beach and on to New Smyrna Beach.  The Ponce
Inlet Light House at Ponce Inlet is between
Daytona and New Smyrna Beach.  We will be at
the municipal marina for two nights.  






Thursday we continued south down the northern end of Indian River, through Misquito Bay, through Haulover Canal, to an anchorage along side NASA Causeway which goes out to Cape Canaveral.  As we went through Misquito Bay dolphins hopped into our wake for a free ride. 




As we came out of Haulover Canal the VAB at complex
39 came into view at the Kennedy Space center.  We hoped
to see the Atlas 5 launch from our anchorage, but it was
scrubbed when a private plane flew into the prohibited air
space.  Send that guy a BIG fine!

Friday we went through the Barge Canal and through the locks over to Port Canaveral to meet a potential boat lift customer, and then went back into the Barge Canal to Harbortown Marina for the night.  We did see the Atlas 5 launch


Saturday we fueled up the boat, first fuel stop since leaving home, and then headed west though the Barge Canal to the ICW, and then turned south for Cocoa.  Cocoa is one of our favorite stops, they have a free town dock where they welcome boats going up and down the ICW to spend a night.  I intended to pick up a part a Travis Hardware, the largest hardware store I've ever been in with more stuff than you can imagine, one whole block pf store!  BUT, they are closed Saturday and Sunday, so no go.  We did go to Ossorio's for some lunch goodies.  As the day went on the wind was building from the south, and the town dock faces south,  The forecast was for the wind to continue to build, so it wasn't going to be a good night to be tied up to their dock.  We went further swouth and anchore behind the 518 causeway in Melbourne.

There is a strong front forecast to cross this part of the state by tonight, and the southwest wind ahead of  the front is blowing 25-35.  North of Vero Beach we snuck into an anchorage we've been in many times to ride out the storm.  At about mid-night the front came through, it was a non event.  Once passed we felt comfortable going to bed.

On Monday we moved a little further south and have a reservation at the Vero Beach Municipal Marina for a week.

Plans are to leave Vero Beach and head further south on Monday, 1/30.  We've had a second cold front come through this morning and it is chilly.  Our southern most point will be up the Loxahatchee River, the river that feeds the Jupiter opening to the Atlantic.  On our way down we are going to anchor in Pecks Lake for a couple of days, walk on the Atlantic beach and do some kayaking in St. Lucie Park, just south of the Stuart entrance to the Atlantic.  We plan to be back at Ft. Pierce on Friday night for the week end.  So, for this week we will not have internet service, but the cell phone will work. 

We executed the plan, again!  Pecks Lake is one of our favorite spots to relax for a couple of days.  Sunset the first night.

We did walk on the beach both days we were there and I went kayaking in the mangrove channels amongst the birds and sea life at he north end of the lake.  There were as many as 14 boats in the lake, most of them sailboats waiting for a weather window  to cross to the Bahamas.

Last Thursday we headed down the ICW towards Jupiter, past famous homes belonging to the like of Tiger Woods.  As we
approached Jupiter inlet the Jupiter Light House appears to the
inside of the ICW as the ICW dog legs to starboard and the back south.  Where the ICW turns back south there is a highway and railroad bridge straight ahead, and the Loxahatchee River.  Our destination is three miles up the river and we have arrived one hour before high tide, which today is 1.9'.  There is some charted water at 3' that appears to be in the buoyed channel, the reason we wanted to go through that area at near high tide, but yet with a little more water coming behind us if we get stuck.  It appeared we had about 5' of water at the shallowest part of the channel past a sand bar.  We anchored in 6.5' of water, with a low over night predicted to be -0.4', we should float through the with about 6" of water under us, and we did.  I met with a new boat lift client first thing in the morning, with our scheduled departure to be at 12:00 when we would have about 1' of water over "0".  But at about 10:00 we decided to leave and follow our crumb line out, we should have enough water to get across that shallow area.  When we came through inbound we were to the north of center of the channel.  As we approached that area, the san bar as exposed, I held to the center of the channel, about 30' south of the crumb line.  Well, it wasn't quite as deep in the center and we put the keel on the bottom at dead slow speed.  OK, not too surprising.  We put the
anchor down and attached it to the starboard quarter cleat,  In about
15 minutes we started to float again, and as the tide came in against
our bow the boat twisted to port, because of where I had tied off the
anchor line.  I let out a little more anchor line and the boat moved
over to the left about 30', right over our crumb line.  There was only
about 4" more water so we waited another 30 minutes to give us a
little more water before we tried to proceed through the shallow
water.    When the water was just starting to cover the sand bar, we
let out a little more anchor line and drove up perpendicular to the
anchor, we didn't want to have to the south and back into the shallow water to retrieve it, our hope was to twist it loose and then pull it across the bottom towards the boat, then back down some and pull the anchor up to the bow davit.  It all worked and we were on our way again.

There have been several days with very light wind.  The forecast
outside was for 1-2' waves on a period of 4 seconds, so we decided
to go outside and run north to Ft. Pierce.  Well, as those who listen
to wave forecasts, they aren't always what we expect, and they
weren't.  They were more like 2-3's and it was choppy, and on the
side, not comfortable at trawler speed.  But, if we get up on plane,
the ride would stabilize, we did, it did, and we ran up to St. Luci 
inlet at 15 kts.   Along the way we ran along the beach we had
earlier accessed from Pecks Lake. 

On Sunday, February 5, our new neighbors on Distant Island will come into Ft. Pierce in their boat as they enjoy the Florida sunshine while it is a little chilly at home.  We had breakfast with Jim and Ginny on Monday morning before we departed for Vero Beach,  Monday night we anchored out and were able to grill a steak for dinner without concerns of bothering any neighbors.  Tuesday we were back at Vero Beach Marina and enjoyed dinner with Dino and Elaine.

On Wednesday we moved up to Sabastian and met long time boating friends Phil and Alice at Herams Resort for linner.  Herams has an open, beach front restraunt with an atmosphere of the Bahamas.

From Herams we moved up to Cocoa Beach to an
anchorage that was created back in the late 50's
when the Cape Canaveral space center was being
being developed and the city of Cocoa Beach was
going to become a housing area for many of the
workers.  A community center needed to be
developed with a sewage treatment facility,
natural gas storage area, high school, and
recreation space.  How do you make land in
Florida?  You dig up the mangrove marsh, make
land from the dredgings and navigable
recreational water ways where marsh once
was.  And so it is that there is now a great
anchorage adjacent to this town facility, right
in the middle of the Thousand Islands area of the
Banana River, a delightful spot.  To get there you exit the ICW and go north up behind Merritt
Island.  The Banana River is skinny water with some low swing bridges to go through.  But once there, it is delightful.
Going through the mangrove tunnels
 Monday morning, 2/13, we moved over to the free dock at Cocoa for the day and night.  Tuesday we motored up to New Smyrna Beach where will be until Friday. 

As we wind up the ICW towards home we have now spend three days at Marineland with four sets of friends, one looper we met in 2007, one looper we met in 2009 who lives here, one looper just starting out, and one of our immediate neighbors from Distant Island who are still heading south.  On Tuesday, February 21 we are all heading out, two boats going south and two boats going north.  Our next stop will be at the free dock in Jacksonville, just north of the St. Johns River.  On Wednesday we will be in Fernandina Beach at the Amelia Island Yacht Harbor.  The city marina was damaged in Hurricane Matthew and is not open.

Thursday morning we left with HAPPY WONDERER behind us heading for Brunswick where there are going to spend a month and we would get some cheap fuel, $2.20/gal.  The wind was blowing hard from the NE, and our course would normally take us through St. Andrews Sound, but with the stiff breeze St. Andrews would be real rough, so we opted to take an optional route through Floyd Creek.  We would be doing this a dead low tide, the bad news the water would be skinny, the good news we could see the shallow areas.  On our way past Cumberland Island we picked up another new Looper who wanted to follow us through Floyd.
So here we go, the other two boats right in our wake.


The channel is narrow in some spots, maybe only 150 ' wide.  We followed the outside of the curves as the tide goes out to find the deepest water and had 8-10' for most of the passage.


But then again not everywhere!  This is an inside curve where there was only a channel about 50' wide and very shallow, to a point we were pushing through the pluff mud to get through.  See that green day marker, that marks the east edge of the channel.  Note the tide line on the piling about 4' above the grass, that's where normal mean high tide is in which case the mud would be covered with water and we might be tempted to get a little closer to that green, and probably be on the bottom.  See what looks like a tire mark near the bottom of the picture, that was cut by an outboard motor when the boat got too close to the green while running fast.  But no rough water!

Fueled up in Brunswick and now alone, we anchored for the night in the Fredrica River inside of St. Simon Island.

Friday we headed for Darien where there is a free town dock with power and water.  Again we were running the creeks at low tide, don't go where the birds are standing!


One thing we wanted to see in Darien was Fort George, the first English settlement in Georgia on the first bluff in from the Atlantic along the Altamaha River, a region rich with lumber.  Darien was a lumber town with tide driven water wheel saw mills, very ingenious.   The fort is constructed of wood and never fought a battle.  Today, the town is struggling.  Some of the cute shops that were hear three years ago are gone.  The shrimp fishing fleet is active and that appears to be the biggest industry in town.   As we left town on Sunday morning, we had one last look of the fort from the water.
You've noticed that the background in all of the recent pictures is marsh.  We understand that 70% of all salt water marsh land is along the coast of Georgia.  With an average 8' of tide twice a day cleaning all the nutrients from the marsh, no wonder the fishing and shrimping is so good along this coast.  At days end we were tucked behind Blackbeard Island in Blackbeard Creek anchored for the night.

We're now about 105 miles from home via the ICW, a little too much for one day.  So on Monday we got into South Carolina and anchored behind Daufuski Island for the night and then finished our trip Tuesday getting home about 2:00.  We came into Distant Island Creek at low tide and got a real good  look of the rock sea wall we put in this last summer, and we even found a loon in the creek on it's way north. 
 

 







This closes another chapter in our odyssey with ODYSSEE.  Another 1030 miles under her keel, now totally 27,033 miles we have put under her keel.  She continues to treat us well and deliver us where we want to go when we want to do it.