Sunday, June 17, 2007

St. Simons Island to Savannah


We left Golden Isles Marina about 10:00 am heading North on the ICW. We traveled through some of the most incredible natural beauty imaginable. Miles and miles of marshes and tributaries untouched by development.

Our first challenge of this leg of the trip was Little Mud River, one of four spots in Georgia that are shoaling and you have to watch the depths. We went through Little Mud River on a rising tide and had good depth all the way. I have to admit, after reading the cruising guides, I was nervous.

When entering the Altamaha Sound we passed several tugs towing very long loads. This made for some interesting moments. The rest of the day was uneventful and we arrived at our anchorage in the Duplin River (31° 25.760N 81° 17.630W), overlooking Sapelo Island, at 4:15 pm. After dropping anchor we settled in for a relaxing evening.

We pulled anchor at 8:30 am to head for our next anchorage. It was a smooth ride until Sapelo Sound. The winds were out of the East at 15 - 20 kts. creating a short steep chop in the shallow sound. The 27' sailboat, Enchantress which anchored near us the night before, really took a beating in the sound. They called on the radio and asked, "Are we having fun yet?" We could not motor straight to our course so we tacked back an forth through the wind and waves. Barb handled the boat beautifully.

We arrived at our evenings destination, Noname Creek (31° 47.758N 81° 10.235W), at 3:30 pm. Tide was rising when we arrived and we set anchor in 23 ft of water. Noname Creek is wide enough for a 36 ft boat to swing with out problems. About and hour after we arrived, so did the high tide. The clearly defined shoreline disappeared and there was no longer any distinction between the ICW, our anchorage, or any other river in the area. The boat in the foreground of the picture was aground after getting out of the channel. SeaTow arrived and pulled them off before the tide fell too much. About midnight a severe thunderstorm rolled through with winds over 30 kts. The anchor held, even though the the boat was swinging through 270°. After 30 minutes the winds subsided and we were able to sleep. It was the darkest night spent at anchor so far.

We awoke to a beautiful sunrise, pulled anchor and headed for Savannah. We still needed to pass through Hell Gate, the last of the four trouble spots on Georgia. The guide books say to go through on a mid-rising tide. The channel is constantly shoaling and there are temporary markers that are constantly changing. We passed through very near high tide and had no problems. By the time we reached the Skidaway Narrows draw bridge, the sailboat SixClix caught up with us and went through the bridge at the same time. Next stop is Thunderbolt Marine (32° 01.501N 81° 02.823W) for the night.

Here we are to meet Barb's first cousin Sherry and husband Joel for dinner. They arrived at the boat around 5:00 pm with friends Suzanne and Steve. After a little wine and appetizers, we headed to Tubby's for dinner, then returned to the boat for dessert, relaxation and visiting.

I bet you will not have a hard time picking Barb's cousin Sherry out of the crowd.

We plan to leave in the morning.

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