A Travellerspoint blog

Seceding from South Carolina

Meeting my Sister


View Summer, 9-11-2001 - and then the 2nd time down the ICW & 2003-2004 Winter in Marathon & 2003-2004 Marathon Winter & Bermuda on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

Overnight to Florida

When we last saw our intrepid sailors they were bravely venturing forth out of Charleston harbor.
Brown haze over the city

Brown haze over the city


The sky over Charleston is a funny yellowish color down by the city. The rest of the sky is blue and clear. We went past Ft. Sumter
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and Ft. Moultrie on Sullivan's Island.
Fort Moultrie

Fort Moultrie


We've visited Ft. Sumter with our grandchildren, but we have not yet been to Ft. Moultrie. We pass the Sullivan's Island lighthouse and I take several pictures as we go along.
Sullivan's Island lighthouse

Sullivan's Island lighthouse


When I look for information on the internet, I find that the lighthouse is triangular and was built in 1962. It has been declared 'surplus property' by the Coast Guard, but it is not open to the public.
Fort Sumter with the ferry

Fort Sumter with the ferry


We see the Fort Sumter ferry approaching the fort at 10:15.

Then we went out through the jetties, which are under water at high tide. Sometimes people who aren't familiar with the harbor and have no charts come to grief on these jetties because they don't see them or know they are there. The tide was going out at about 2 knots (our SOG i.e. speed over ground) is 7 knots but through the water we are only doing 5.3 knots), so we have a BIG boost and are going 8.8 mph.
Fishing boats

Fishing boats


There are lots of little fishing boats inside the jetties. When we get out past the jetties we turn south. I look back and see the morning sun on Ft. Sumter and the brown haze over the city.
Fort Sumter

Fort Sumter


Bob pulled out the main and staysail, but there wasn't much wind.
Morris Island lighthouse in the distance

Morris Island lighthouse in the distance


We can still see the shore, and we see a lighthouse south of Charleston which I believe is Morris Island Light near Folly Beach. We see dolphins which play 'chicken' with the boat for 15 minutes or so - racing alongside and then darting across in front. Again I didn't get any pictures because I was afraid if I went to get the camera, they'd be gone.

1240 - I still have enough of a signal on the bag phone to do pocketmail. We've been 25.5 sm and 22 nm.

1346 I took a nap. While I was napping, Bob said that a CG helicopter buzzed us and also buzzed some other boats.

1435 - trip 39.5 sm or 34 nm approaching St. Helena Sound. There's very little signal on the bag phone and none on the ATT phone. Wind is 10-11 knots from the SE. I took another nap. Bob refuses to nap.

1600 Retrieved pocketmail - ATT cell phone has no signal.

November 21, 2003 - Evening

1735 (5:35 pm) - Trip 60.3 sm or 52 nm. The sun has set and the lights are on. We are between Port Royal sound and Savannah. We've eaten dinner.

Bob went down at about 1745, but came up at 1945 saying he couldn't sleep. While he was attempting to sleep, I dodged some freighters, saw some more dolphins and saw a meteor. I can still do pocketmail. We are hearing radio traffic from Charleston, and Savannah both. We do get some warning when the big ships say they are going out the channel.

Night time - November 21, 2003

The stars are very bright except near shore where I can see the glow in the sky from the various cities we pass - first Charleston and then I guess Beaufort (dimmer) and then Savannah. I try to take a picture, but am unsuccessful.

There are big rollers coming from the east, but the surface of the water is pretty smooth and I can see the low stars reflected. Sometimes I can't tell that it is a star and not a ship - until of course it gets above the horizon a bit. There's also some kind of strobe thing west of us.

I went down and slept from about 2000 to about 2330.

2344 - Trip 102 sm. I reminded Bob that he never could sleep underway in the aft cabin, so he went down to the main saloon. I started hearing the CG asking if anyone had seen a red parachute flare, but I had not.
0130 - Bob said he'd slept a little, so I went down to the aft cabin (I can sleep there perfectly well) and stayed there until 0530. Bob went to the forward cabin to try and rest again.

Dawn - November 22, 2003

Dawn on the Atlantic at 6:50 am

Dawn on the Atlantic at 6:50 am


At 0630, the sky started to lighten up

0648 - trip 150 sm - average speed 7 mph - 130 nm Water depth is 60 feet, course 218 deg. Wind 8.4 knots - SOG 5.7 knots - speed through the water 5.8 knots - there is a little current against us.

The sky gets lighter as the sun begins to come up.
Dawn - is that land to the East?

Dawn - is that land to the East?


It looks like there is land to the east of us (which I know is not so). It's a bank of low lying clouds. The ships in the Savannah River are complaining about fog. I turn off the night colors on the computer (the night time vision lights are red like in a darkroom so as not to destroy our night vision) and turn off the GPS lights but leave the running lights on. I try hard to get a picture of the sun coming up behind the clouds
Sun rising 7:15 off the coast of Georgia

Sun rising 7:15 off the coast of Georgia

0700 - I estimate about 30 sm to go to the St. Mary's River inlet. By 7:30, the sun is well up. At night-time you can see the lights of the ATON (Aids TO Navigation) for a long distance. In the daytime you can't see them as well because they don't stand out as much. OTOH you can see the ships better during the day.

I see the rollers up ahead look like breaking surf, but it isn't. Later, Bob said that he saw that phenomena yesterday but didn't say anything to me because he thought I might give him a hard time about it (I don't like big waves).

Someone with a DSC radio (Digital Selective Calling) has broadcast a distress signal. There is considerable traffic with the CG in various places with other folks who have a DSC radio who got the distress signal. We don't have a DSC radio. Apparently the DSC radios give the number of the radio broadcasting the distress call and the other radios can read the number.

0805 - Off St. Andrews Sound (Brunswick GA). Trip 158 sm average 7 mph. 18 sm to the inlet. Bob got up and shaved and we ate breakfast.

0847 - trip 163 sm - 14 sm from the St. Mary's channel

0930 - trip 168 sm. We can see the stacks of the paper mills at Fernandina in the distance.
Paper mill

Paper mill


We saw a big power cat heading north. Someone has called the CG to report the sighting of a whale (black) The next day I heard a funny story about this inlet. We were talking about the current. Someone said that a friend was out fishing and not paying much attention to where he was. He drifted back and forth with the current and tide. When it was time to go home, he headed for the mills that he could see. But the inlet didn't look familiar to him. It turned out that he had gone in to Brunswick Inlet instead of the St. Mary's River. (Brunswick also has paper mills - the Inlet is one that shouldn't be done without sufficient local knowledge.)

I called Fernandina on the bag phone - there's no signal on the ATT phone. I know that they don't take reservations, but I'm hoping to get there in time to get space on the inside docks which are less exposed to the weather. The bag phone has an external antenna (we are using the antenna as a flag staff which is on the stern of the boat), plus it has a bigger, heavier and more powerful battery. That's why it gets a signal when the little cell phone cannot.

0944 Bob went to the head, and the alternator started to squeal and the apparent rpms went down below 10K. He looked and said the house water system pump was leaking on the alternator belt and that's what was causing the squeal. The bilge was also almost full of water. He started the bilge pump and he turned off the pressure water system and said we wouldn't have water until that was fixed.

1000 - Finally have one bar on the ATT cell phone. At least there is something, although it is too little to actually have a conversation. We played chicken with a shrimp boat trailing nets, but "let him" win.
Shrimp boat

Shrimp boat


There are shrimp boats all over - north of the inlet - south of the inlet - converging - diverging.

Bob notes that the lighted range markers have us outside of the channel.
x1122-1052Image032.jpgApproaching a range

Approaching a range


Hear a boat repeatedly calling a Navy vessel. I think it is a tug calling.
Tug in the inlet by Cumberland Island

Tug in the inlet by Cumberland Island


Don't see any Navy vessel and never hear the Navy vessel answer. But we do see a tug.

They've renumbered the buoys in the inlet and the one marked #16 on the chart is now #10. This doesn't make a problem for us because we have the chart on the computer and it shows us where we are in relation to the shore, but for cruisers on the ICW who are turning at a certain buoy number, rather than going to a location by GPS, it means that they might end up in St. Mary's Georgia instead of Fernandina Beach, Florida.

There is a LOT of current in the inlet channel. It takes us about a hour and a half to get in the inlet
Kayaks in the inlet

Kayaks in the inlet

Shrimp boat

Shrimp boat

x1122-1236uImage056.jpgFort Clinch

Fort Clinch

Range marker in the channel

Range marker in the channel


because the current out against us made our progress so slow.
Fort Clinch park dock

Fort Clinch park dock

Crane

Crane

Boats in the anchorage

Boats in the anchorage


We finally tie up at the marina after a trip of 187 sm (or 163 nm - nautical miles) with an average speed of 6.8 mph - maximum speed of 10.4 mph. It took us 27.5 hours to do the trip, and we've saved 5 stops, but Bob is extremely cranky from lack of sleep.

We are too late to get an inside dock. The outside docks are really unsafe and certainly uncomfortable in a NW wind. But the weather is calm and sunny so it shouldn't make much difference. Before we tie up for good we get 41 gals of fuel and try to pump out the new holding tank, but there's not enough in it to pump it out yet. The marina has an internet connection in the office. They have showers, fuel and ice. The old town is right there in walking distance, but a grocery store is about 2 miles away.
Tied up behind FOUR SEASONS

Tied up behind FOUR SEASONS


The dock people take pity on us and put us right behind a power boat named FOUR SEASONS instead of all the way down at the end of the dock. Down there we'd have to walk a quarter mile just to get to the bathrooms.
Yellow catamaran at the end of the docks

Yellow catamaran at the end of the docks

One of the foreign boats that is anchored in the anchorage across from the marina - a big catamaran from Scandinavia, came in to get fuel.

We had dinner at the Marina Restaurant early,
The Marina Restaurant.

The Marina Restaurant.


but they don't have Early Bird specials on weekends. The Marina Restaurant is not the restaurant at the marina. It is near the marina in town.

We walked up to Fernandina Fudge This shop makes their own candy and also sells ice cream. They advertise "Our Fudge and Chocolates are made in the traditional way using all natural ingredients, cooked in a copper kettle and made on a marble slab."and Bob got fudge and I got a half pound box of pralines for $5.00
Fernandina Fudge Candy store

Fernandina Fudge Candy store


The CG boat SHRIKE (which is the name of a bird) was at the dock getting fuel when we got back to the boat.
Coast Guard boat SHRIKE

Coast Guard boat SHRIKE


Bob said he had trouble sleeping.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

My sister made arrangements to go to Amelia Island Plantation for a couple of days before Thanksgiving for a short break. She was going to meet us at Fernandina. She was supposed to fly in on Saturday, but my BIL was very sick, so she postponed the whole vacation a day.

We talk to various people on the docks.
Electric pedestal at the marina by RosalieAnn

Electric pedestal at the marina by RosalieAnn


Bob got the dink down from the davits and scrubbed the diesel smoke off the aft end. We talked to John and Barbara some Canadians who had two goldens - an older male and a 3 month old female puppy. They have a Krogen on the inside of the south side of the docks and are leaving it here and going home for Christmas. The south side docks closest to shore have no water at low tide
x031123-1447Image012.jpgLow tide at the inside southside docks

Low tide at the inside southside docks


Bob discovers that John was a naval aviator in the Canadian navy. Bob also cycled out to the Winn Dixie and we spent some time watching people smoke their tires trying to retrieve their boats at the boat ramp. I did email and found out from Kevin, the dock master, that the tides are especially high - they are 8.8 feet since it is a new moon.

THe CG boat moved to behind us
Coast Guard boat docking - will it crush the little yellow catamaran?

Coast Guard boat docking - will it crush the little yellow catamaran?


and I thought they were going to crush the yellow catamaran behind them. It's a whole lot more difficult for them than it is for us - mostly because the helm and the line handlers aren't in contact with each other. Everyone is very careful not to make wakes with the CG here.

Pablo Creek is the place we normally stay just before St. Augustine, but they aren't answering the phone. I find Beach Marine is just a little farther along past Pablo Creek. so I make a reservation there for Monday.

We had conversations with my sister Barbara on the phone. They landed in Jax, but they lost her bag. They checked in to the hotel and our BIL George took a nap. Bob bought some shrimp at the seafood market next to the marina bathrooms and steamed them, and then Barbara and George came down to the boat and we ate shrimp.
Eating shrimp in the cockpit

Eating shrimp in the cockpit


They had trouble figuring out how to get down to the boat. It is simple from the dock to the land - there's only one way to do it. From the other direction it looks as if you can get out to the transient dock by walking along the south side docks.
To the south side docks

To the south side docks


My sister's photo of the incorrect dock access

My sister's photo of the incorrect dock access


But there's no connection between that dock and ours.
High tide

High tide


After we ate the shrimp that Bob steamed, we got into their car and looked for a place to eat that we might not be able to get to on foot. But my BIL had just been very sick with a high fever and didn't feel like eating very much, or anything very spicy. He also doesn't eat much meat or fat. So we ended up at the Loop Grill which is a chain of franchises with headquarters in Jacksonville which is mostly in Florida, but also has some locations in Georgia, and NC. They have pizzas, burgers, salads, wraps, soups and desserts
The side of the Loop Grille with my sister BIL and husband walking in - part of the neon sign is out (the OP of Loop isn't lit)

The side of the Loop Grille with my sister BIL and husband walking in - part of the neon sign is out (the OP of Loop isn't lit)


Barbara had a walnut salad which looked good.
Walnut salad

Walnut salad


George and Bob and I had the black bean soup which added impetus to our lower digestive trace for several days. Bob and I also had a chicken caesar wrap
Bean soup and wrap

Bean soup and wrap


and Bob had a milkshake.

We challenged my sister to ride from Amelia Island to Jacksonville with us, and she decided to do that.

Monday, November 24, 2003
Sunrise from the marina

Sunrise from the marina


We were up early because we wanted to leave at high tide as far as possible to avoid the shoaling in the Amelia River and Nassau Sound. I took some pictures of the plovers on the pier.
Plovers on the docks at 7:45

Plovers on the docks at 7:45


Barbara boarded earlier than she probably wanted to (being a night owl), and we cast off at 0745.
Amelia Island marina sign with Manatee area sign

Amelia Island marina sign with Manatee area sign


She ate her breakfast, which she brought with her. We came down to the railroad bridge
Railroad Bridge

Railroad Bridge


and were so close to it when we went through that I could read a notice stenciled on it about lead paint. But I didn't get my digital camera unlimbered fast enough to take a picture of the sign. As we went through, I looked back and saw someone on the bridge. When I used the binoculars, I saw someone clambering around on the bridge, and pretty soon, the bridge CLOSED. I'd never seen that bridge used before.
Closed Railroad Bridge

Closed Railroad Bridge

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Bob made my sister take the wheel for a bit,
My sister at the wheel

My sister at the wheel


but I missed the fact that there was a range and she wouldn't know what that was. So when we came to it, she asked which way to go, and Bob said it didn't matter. Since it was high tide, there wasn't any particular indication as to which side was the shallow side, and she picked to go on the wrong side of it, which mean that the depth sounder went off.

So Bob took over and promptly ran aground. The tide was high (remember 8.1 foot tides), so we'd have been aground well before this at low tide. The depth sounder starts to sound at 7 ft. and we stop forward movement at 4.6 ft. Bob backed off without any problem.-

She took a nap in the main saloon. While she was napping, we crossed Nassau Sound and I think I saw some of the buildings of their hotel up on the ridge. Most of those buildings seem to look the same from a distance. I didn't want to wake her up and ask her.
Fixed bridge

Fixed bridge


We also saw the Nassau Sound bridge which is currently non-functional because the inlet is closed.
Nassau Sound non-opening swing bridge

Nassau Sound non-opening swing bridge


My BIL will be traversing the bridge by car on the way to pick up my sister. He will also have to take the Ferry from Ft. George Island to Mayport.

We got to the Sister's Creek bridge about 10, and went through without any problem.
Approaching Sister's Creek bridge

Approaching Sister's Creek bridge

Sister's Creek bridge with a tide board showing 19 feet clearance at the center when the bridge is closed

Sister's Creek bridge with a tide board showing 19 feet clearance at the center when the bridge is closed

Our mast and the raised Sister's Creek Bridge

Our mast and the raised Sister's Creek Bridge

We passed the boatyard that is hard by the bridge,
Shipyard by Sister's Creek

Shipyard by Sister's Creek


and could see the big ships going up and down the St. John's River ahead of us. I took some pictures of the yard on the north side of the river and then we managed to cross. We saw ships going down the river before we crossed it,
Approaching the St. John River

Approaching the St. John River


and we saw ships going down the river after we crossed it, but when we crossed there were no big ships going up or down. We only had to worry about the current in the river and finding the entrance to the ICW between the rock jetties on the other side.
Ships at Mayport

Ships at Mayport


After we crossed the river we could look east and see the Mayport Navy boats and a helicopter. Our nephew (my sister's son) was stationed there for a time.

They are building a new high rise bridge which doesn't appear to be 65 feet - it was only 63 or 64 feet on the tide boards.
Tideboard with only 64 feet

Tideboard with only 64 feet


We went under it without a problem as our mast is only 58.5 feet.
Under construction bridge

Under construction bridge

Construction

Construction

Standing wave from current by the bridge

Standing wave from current by the bridge


We passed Pablo Creek - or what WAS Pablo Creek. It is gone completely - leveled to the ground. Now I understand why they didn't answer the phone. Apparently the area is going to be used to construct condos with their own slips.
Where the Pablo Creek marina was and no longer is

Where the Pablo Creek marina was and no longer is


It is now almost one o'clock and my sister is starving to death. But I've become accustomed to Bob's habit of not eating until after we've safely anchored or tied up unless we aren't going to arrive until after 2 or 3 pm. She went foraging around and found some crackers to hold her over.

Beach Marine is a couple of miles farther past where Pablo Creek used to be. There is a Florida Fish and Game building on the north side of the channel with a big antenna.
Florida Fish and Game building

Florida Fish and Game building


There is another marina across the way, but it doesn't have enough channel depth for us. We tied up at Beach Marine after 31.3 sm at an average speed of 5.6 mph (we've had the current against us a lot of the time) at about 2 pm. We've done a total of 694 nm this trip. Beach Marine cost was $1.25/ft Electric and tax added up to $9.20. I wasn't able to use the internet although they say they have some. Their website says they have wet slips for travelers, laundry facilities, dry storage, T docks, easy safe access to the Intracoastal Waterway. Diesel and marine gas are available as well as parts and supplies. Nearby stores and shops provide everything one needs. Permanent dockage for on-board living features phone service, 30 and 50 amp electrical service and cable. There isn't much current in the marina, but the current through the McCormick bridge which is right next to it is *extremely* fast at some states of tide
Fairway at Beach Marine

Fairway at Beach Marine


RosalieAnn at the dock

RosalieAnn at the dock


While I went up to pay, Barbara and Bob went up to Billy's Boathouse Grille (the restaurant on site) to have a late lunch.
Billy's Boathouse

Billy's Boathouse


Bob had a coconut shrimp basket, and Barbara had a grilled snapper sandwich and I had a chicken sandwich with cheese and bacon. Barbara also had three appetizer crab cakes which she didn't care for as they were fried. The sauce was good though.

When I went up to try to do email (at which I was unsuccessful), I heard from the marina folks that there was going to be a vote tonight on whether to turn this marina into a condo arrangement too. This is very worrisome as there isn't really another good spot to stop between St. Augustine and Fernandina.
Sisters

Sisters

Sunset at Beach Marine

Sunset at Beach Marine


George meanwhile took A1A down the coast including a ferry and arrived at the marina about 5. We went out prospecting for a place to eat dinner that we wouldn't walk to from the marina and ended up at Tsunami, a Japanese restaurant in Jax Beach.
Tsunami restaurant

Tsunami restaurant


George and Barbara apparently did a piece for US 1 (their local free newspaper) where they ate at 6 different Japanese restaurants in 7 days, so they were able to help us with what to order. But Bob was so tired I thought he might fall asleep at the table (he still hadn't caught up on sleep from the 27 hours offshore) and I was also tired.

I had a seaweed salad, which wasn't quite what I expected,
Seaweed salad

Seaweed salad


sweet potato tempora (which was good but a little greasy tasting when cold)
Sweet potato tempura

Sweet potato tempura


and steak Kushyuki which was on skewers. Bob had the steak also.
Steak Kushyuki

Steak Kushyuki


George had the 16 piece of fish sushimi dinner with miso soup and Barbara had 6 piece sushi appetizer which included white tuna, red tuna, salmon, shrimp, yellowtail and snapper.
6 piece sushi appetizer

6 piece sushi appetizer


She also had the sunomono salad which had conch, octopus, crab, shrimp and cucumber in vinegar.
Sunomono salad with octopus

Sunomono salad with octopus


Bob and I took most of our steak back to the boat. We were really too tired to appreciate a new type of food. But George was quite enthusiastic about the restaurant. He paid the bill which was $72.10

George discussed the water massage that he had. Then they returned us to the boat and they went back to the resort. Bob told me later that I should never sign him up for anything like that.

Posted by greatgrandmaR 13:29 Archived in USA

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