Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Monday October 22, 2012

Monday morning we left Kilkenny Creek and headed for an anchorage called “New Teakettle Creek”, that had been recommended to us by another boater.  The scenery was more of what we had been seeing throughout Georgia, salt marsh and very few trees.  We arrived in the New Teakettle Creek anchorage around 1 pm. and we found it wasn’t that special, more salt marsh with high winds.  We moved on to an anchorage closer to the Little Mud River and to wait for high tide on Tuesday afternoon.  As we got closer, we called ‘Silver Maple‘ and asked how they had found Little Mud.  They responded that they had loads of water just before high tide and made it through without a problem.  By the time we got there, it was just after high tide so we decided to try it, there was loads of water.  It was late in the day by the time we found another anchorage farther on in the Hampton River, more salt marsh and wind but south of the Little Mud River.  

We arrived early because of the tides at Jekyll Marina on Jekyll Island on Tuesday morning.  All week they have been calling for gale force winds on Friday and the winds had been progressively getting worse the last couple days, so we decided that we would skip Jekyll Island, and go on to Florida. We had to go out Jekyll Sound to get around shoaling, it was very rough near the inlet to the sound.   We were happy to make the turn around the shoal and head back up the Sound towards the ICW again.  There was one more Sound between us and Florida:  the Cumberland Sound.  It wasn’t quite as rough because the wind and tide were going up the Sound.  This combination of wind and tide dropped our speed to about 4 knots, making it a very slow trip down the Cumberland River towards the Sound.  We passed by Kings Bay, a navy nuclear sub base, and saw 2 nuclear submarines sitting in the open, a big one and a little one.  Didn’t think we could take any pictures as it is a restricted area.  By the time we arrived at Fernandina Harbor Marina in Fernandina Beach, Florida, the forecast had changed, Friday’s gale force winds were now being called ‘Hurricane Sandy’.  Dave had been asking experienced cruisers what to look for in a ‘hurricane hole’, it turns out we fell into one.  Fernandina Harbor Marina is protected  from the winds from the east and north east by the town Fernandina Beach.  The dock and breakwater are large floating concrete slabs that float up and down on 2 foot square concrete pillars, this is what we were tied to.  We were well hidden on the inside of this sandwiched between large sportfishermen and other mega yachts. People kept telling us how good a hurricane hole this was, but when the Coast Guard brought 3 of their boats over from Kings Bay to tie up, we really started to believe them. This was our first day in Florida and we finished it off with cocktails with a group of boaters.  

Wednesday was the day we had planned to catch up on groceries, laundry, email etc.  In the afternoon we took a walk up town and looked around in some of the shops.  While we were waiting for an ice cream cone, we heard someone behind us say “How is Time 2 Go today?”  It was David of ‘Memory Maker’, whom we had first met at Elizabeth City.  David and his wife, Barb had stopped to visit with friends, Eileen and Larry who live in Fernandina Beach.  They introduced us to them.  Eileen and Larry have done a circumnavigation and now cruise the inland waters of North America.   They generously offered to give us a ride to the grocery store while we were there, as Eileen said there had been many times she couldn’t get to the grocery store from their boat.   

Thursday morning the winds picked up and they issued a ‘Tropical Storm Watch’ for the area.  So we booked another night at the marina and doubled up all of our dock lines.   We called Eileen and took her up on her offer to the grocery store.  It is surprising how much you appreciate being able to get to a large grocery store while cruising and how special people like Eileen and Larry are to you, for offering to take 2 strangers.  

The rest of our week was spent taking long walks downtown, watching the weather channel in the boaters’ lounge, and talking and visiting with other boaters.  The biggest concern that we heard talking to local people, was what effect the winds were going to have on the Florida /Georgia College Football game on Saturday (the largest tailgate party in the world).  Would it mean a running game or passing game?  The weather was gradually getting better as the week progressed.  “Sandy” hit south of us and north of us and missed Fernandina Beach.  Saturday afternoon the ‘Tropical Storm Watch’ was lifted for our area and farther south.  That night we celebrated Dave’s birthday by going out for a nice seafood supper.  Everyone started to make plans to leave Sunday.  

We decided we would leave as well.  The ICW was choppy and still windy in the area of the marina so we planned to only go to Jacksonville, 30 miles south.  We arrived just after lunch and walked to the mall, where we found all the stores closed.  So we went back to the marina to do laundry and showers before bed.  

Some of the Georgia mud we travelled through  

Tucked in for Hurricane Sandy at Fernandina Harbor Marina

A birthday to remember Dave, Anne and Hurricane Sandy

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