"American Glory" in Fernandina Beach Harbor

“American Glory” in Fernandina Beach Harbor

Our last day in Florida, tied to the mooring ball in Fernandina Beach, was a rocky one. We were unable to leave via dinghy, as the waves would have crashed over us. One fellow in a sailboat made at least 6 attempts to secure to a mooring ball, to no avail. He reported winds at 39 knots. The Nina and Pinta departed, and the American Glory cruise ship came in. We passed her earlier at the railroad bridge in the St. John’s River in downtown Jacksonville.

Old marooned boat - Fernandina Beach along ICW

Old marooned boat – Fernandina Beach along ICW

Since we could not get off the boat, it became a day of cleaning, especially the fly bridge. Green pollen left a film on the windows, cover, and sliding glass doors. I cleaned inside the cabin as well, dusting all the floors and giving the parquet salon a shine of polish.

Cumberland Island

Cumberland Island

The next morning, in much less windy conditions, we left the mooring ball and headed north up the ICW. Our goodbyes said to Florida, we were anxious to see what Georgia had to offer, and we both decided we loved it! Our cruise that day of 31 miles took us into and out of 3 ocean inlets. The scenery along the way was spectacular, with salt marshes bordering the many rivers of the ICW, and forests deeper amid the barrier islands.

High Tide at Marina

High Tide at Marina

Low Tide at Marina

Low Tide at Marina

We passed Cumberland Island, the southern most barrier island in Georgia, and I tried to spot the wild horses that roam here, but did not see any. At times the tidal currents were swift against us, slowing us from 10 knots to 6; at others it was reversed. I am trying to learn more about the tide and the current and the effect it will have as we travel north. The tides are getting bigger as we go north; now approaching 9 feet. When the tide is low there are spots in the channel where our depth sounder recorded 3.6 feet, and I’m surprised we didn’t see more boats run aground.

Jekyll Harbor Marina Office

Jekyll Harbor Marina Office

Jekyll Harbor Marina was our first stop in Georgia, and it did not disappoint. The staff was extremely gracious and accommodating, one drove us to a small local grocery store where we did some re-provisioning (expensive)! Later we toured most of Jekyll Island via loaner bicycles from the marina.

One of the old "Cottages" on Jekyll Island

One of the old “Cottages” on Jekyll Island

Jim on bicycle tour - Jekyll Island

Jim on bicycle tour – Jekyll Island

A ship encountered in one of the many ocean inlets

A ship encountered in one of the many ocean inlets as seen through the Isinglass on the fly bridge

The island is full of interesting history, being the playground of the very rich in the early 1900’s. The founders of the Federal Reserve built “cottages” here, among them the Rockefeller’s. Our bicycle tour took us through the historic district on paths, then under huge pines (in days past I would have been scavenging the giant pine cones), past golf courses which Jim checked out longingly, to the beach side.

Golf Course water hazard - Jekyll Island

Golf Course water hazard – Jekyll Island

Here the well-preserved sand dunes created a border from the crashing surf, and many endangered turtles lay their eggs.

Our boat at Jekyll Harbor Marina on ICW channel

Our boat at the end of the dock at Jekyll Harbor Marina on the ICW channel

Back at the boat we took advantage of the shower facilities, then Jim drafted a letter to the Florida Dept. of Revenue and to the Dept. of Boat Enforcement. We had to prove that we had repairs done to the boat, and that we had left the state of Florida by providing fuel receipts in the state of Georgia. It was a relief to get that done and sent off in the mail. That evening after sunset I had a great encounter with a dolphin who kept surfacing near the boat. I like to think we were communicating telepathically.

Dunes and Beach on Atlantic, Jekyll Island

Dunes and Beach on Atlantic, Jekyll Island

On Thursday we had about a 40 mile stint on the ICW. Again there were many ocean inlets we had to navigate in and out of; and at one point we had to wait for the passage of a ship coming in to port. I joked that we saw more lighthouses than boats on the ICW that day. Again, the scenery was beautiful – very flat with many creeks and rivers winding their way along to the ocean sounds. Salt marsh grass was everywhere along the waterways, and the views went on an on in the flat country.

Sunset from our anchorage in the Crescent River

Sunset from our anchorage in the Crescent River

That evening we anchored out in the Crescent River, one of the many that join up with the ICW. Our spot fluctuated from 17 to 26 feet because of the tidal change, but our anchor held fine. It’s a little eerie because the boat swings 180 degrees when the tidal current changes, and luckily we have a pivoting anchor so we don’t have to re-hook. Our only concern was a nearby crab pot, but we encountered no troubles.

Marina Office - Delegal Creek Marina

Marina Office – Delegal Creek Marina

Friday we traveled about 40 miles to Delegal Creek Marina on Skidaway Island. It is off the ICW up a little creek with a tricky entrance, but I would highly recommend it, as it is much cheaper than anything else around the area. Before arriving we made it through Hell Gate, a very narrow section with bad shoaling, low water depths, and fast current.

Spring time blooms on Skidaway Island

Spring time blooms on Skidaway Island

Marinas here look like southern homes, with their raised front porches and shuttered windows. Again, the people were very welcoming, assisting us with our lines, and lending us the use of a golf cart. This barrier island was more beautiful than the last. Mature trees were everywhere, in the neighborhoods and along the boulevards. It is Springtime here, with flowering crabs and early flowers in full bloom. The oaks here all lose their leaves in the Spring, and many people were out raking up last year’s foliage. Paths wind their way along most of the streets, and we toured around, admiring the beautiful wooded and landscaped properties and golf courses.

Touring on the Golf Cart - Skidaway Island

Touring on the Golf Cart – Skidaway Island

We decided to spend 2 nights on Skidaway Island, as the weather has turned once again. The winds are now howling in from the northwest, but we are tucked in safely on a floating dock in the marina. We will have to play it by ear and see how the morning looks. It is supposed to be sunny in the high 60’s, but our concern once again, is the wind.

Cart Path on Skidaway Island

Cart Path on Skidaway Island

Today was another fun day here. After a late breakfast, hot shower, and laundry, we ventured out on the golf cart again, and toured all around the island. It was a short’s day, (yeah!) near 80 degrees. Cart paths and boulevards alike are lined with oaks dripping in Spanish moss, cypress trees, magnolias, giant pine, and palms. We climbed to the top of the look-out here with its telescope, hoping to spot some of the wild pigs over the marsh, but did not see any. New spring growth is popping out everywhere, and the people are very friendly. Southern charm abounds.

Windswept trees along the ICW - Skidaway Island

Windswept trees along the ICW – Skidaway Island

If the winds die down a little, we will venture out tomorrow, and say goodbye to Georgian hospitality, and hello to South Carolina. Because we stopped in Savannah in November on our way to Florida to go boat shopping, we have decided to bypass it. Also, the Savannah River has very swift currents, a narrow channel, and very busy boat traffic. Our first expected stay will be in Hilton Head. So, until next time, Ariverderci!



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5 Responses to Peachy Georgia

  1. I absolutely love the picture of the sunset from the Crescent River! It was so good to talk to you today and to see your faces and your awesome boat. I hope you really enjoy Charleston. Hit the Bizzare, Rainbow Row, the aircraft carrier, and if you have time, one of the many graveyard tours at night, which is a really cool and fun way to explore the city and get some fun history. I’m glad to see that you’re feverously blogging Mom, keep it up!. Enjoy the southern hospitality, and watch out for bottom. Love you!

  2. Mz Vic says:

    It was so encouraging to see the flowers blooming and you talk of Spring happening there. Not so much here. 😦 It’s suppose to get up to mid 6o’s today so we’re planning to do yard word all day. I probably won’t be able to get out of bed tomorrow. So glad you are enjoying the southern hospitality. I anxiously wait for each new post on your blog. It’s as if I’m tucked away somewhere on your boat and enjoying your trip as well. Safe travels!

  3. Linda says:

    You seem to be making some great progress up the waterway. Love the photos and green! Nice that it is actually spring somewhere…we are trying to get it up here in God’s country, but mom nature will not be giving up old man winter soon enough for me. We are back to the 30’s this week, but there is promise of warmer weather next week. Keep the pictures coming and have a fun, safe trip!
    Love ya

  4. Jenny says:

    Wow – you’re out of Florida. Making headway. Hoping for some shorts days her in MN soon. Love reading of your adventures! Jenny

  5. Dianna and Ken Kincade says:

    Hi Jim and Pat, It was fun to see your pics of Jekyll Island. It brought back memories….my sister Debi was married there many years ago and had her reception in one of those “mansions”. It was absolutely beautiful and the part of the island we stayed on, still, to this day, had the most romantic setting I’ve ever been in. I’d love to go back! I understand you’re going to be home late April, Pat. Try to give us a call. We’ll be gone May 7-13 on vacation but would love to see you before we leave if we can. You probably read on facebook Kristy and Brad found out it’s a boy!! I bet you’re so anxious to be around your new grandbaby. Take Care! Luv u, Di

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