Tues. Apr. 26, 2011 (Week 30, Day 204) Destination: Back River (Mile 651.3) to Big Tom Creek (Mile 612.8) Departure: 0740 hrs. Arrival: 1350 hrs. Mileage: 38.5 SM/30. 91 NM Weather: hot & humid weather continues, lots of grey clouds upon rising but soon sun made an appearance; early afternoon thunder, black clouds & again after sunset Winds: nil at start but by 0900 hrs. E to SE 8-20K & S & variable at night
The gusty winds of last night calmed & it was a very restful night. It was calm at beginning of day & the tide pushed us for a short distance until we passed Dolboy Sound, then falling tide & opposing tide for a bit. Old Teakettle Creek brought us into the serpentine route of Creighton Narrows & despite low tide we saw good depths. Then it was on to Front River to Sapelo Sound. We had just set our jenny when suddenly & surprisingly the water depth dropped & we went aground almost at the R150 channel marker; we were in the channel watching the exposed strip of sandbar to starboard. Graeme managed to turn the rudder from side to side & with increasing the engine’s RPM’s he got us off in about 10 min. A good motorsail out Sapelo Sound then the South Newport River & Johnson Creek around St. Catherines Island with the current, then against the current through North Newport River out towards St. Catherines Sound. As we turned to port into the Bear River with the current again, the skies to the W & NW were extremely black, thunder & real threatening thunderstorm weather reports with lightning & high winds as predicted for this evening & especially tomorrow. Despite the early hour & a little shy of our planned destination, we thought it best to seek protection & turned into Big Tom Creek; the current pushed us deep into the creek where there was more protection from the opposing SE wind. There was a line of trees to the east in the distance & saltmarsh grasses surrounding us in all directions. The weather did pass us but will that be the case tonight? Sunny & hot & gusty winds. Like yesterday as we moved nearer land the horseflies descended upon us. Also similar to yesterday was the bright green new growth of the saltmarsh grasses & new foliage on the trees--> very picturesque. Graeme refilled the boat’s fuel tank & did an oil change. Supper= sausage, ½ small potato, carrots & celery. There was a peek of the setting sun below the grey clouds & above the saltmarsh grasses as we headed to low tide (near 7 ft.). The Morrows phoned & they had left St. Augustine & anchored in Kingsley Creek near Fernandina. At bedtime, it was very dark, the skies were clouded, no stars & only mastlights from the 2 boats in the anchorage.
Wed. Apr. 27, 2011 (Week 30, Day 205) Destination: Big Tom Creek (Mile 612.8) to Turner Creek, Savannah (Mile 585.5) Departure: 0810 hrs. Arrival: 1400 hrs. Mileage: 27.3 SM/24.7 NM Winds: S at 15K with generous 1 to 1-1/2 ft. chop on the ICW where it was opened to a south fetch, S 15-20K throughout the pm & evening with frequent gusts to 27K
The wind generator had no rest last night; even in the am there was 20K gusts & ugly weather warnings & predictions. Despite the weather there was pleasant chirping of birds & mesmerizing gentle swaying of the saltmarsh grasses. We planned on a late start this am because high tide= 0528 hrs. & low= 1148 hrs. We were about 1 hr. & 2 hrs. away from 2 caution zones + against the current; it would be preferable to do these spots as the tide was beginning to rise at the very least. Well that was the plan… BUT (1) we were tired of waiting after breakfast with the dishes done by 0800 hrs., (2) 19K south winds & 3 ft. waves against us but going with the current as we travelled south on the Ogeechee River towards South Channel Ossabaw Sound to Hells Gate, (3) reached Hells Gate at 1010 hrs., 1-1/2 hrs. before low tide & saw depths of 7-9 ft. except 5’5” between red nun #90 & R88, (4) a powerboat was coming through Hells Gate from North Channel of Ossabaw Sound. We made it through! Now we were dealing with 2-3 ft. waves & an opposing current on the Vernon River until we followed the ICW into the Burnside River. At 1130 hrs. we arrived at the Skidway Narrows Bridge, hailed the bridge tender on VHF 09 & his reply stated that he was having opening problems & asked us to standby probably for an hour. We did slow circles for about 45 min. when the bridge tender came back & said to bring it on; then a south bound sailing vessel 10 mins. away + 2 northbound boats about 5 min. away called for the same opening. We were very close to the bridge with a current pushing us & no more room to do circles. And to make matters worse, as we were trying to stall as the bridge was just opening a northbound trawler was coming with speed from behind & barged past us, then gave us shit for not monitoring VHF 16! I was steaming! The trawler called back & underhandedly apologized. We had opposing currents along the Skidway River, crossed the Wilmington River into Turner Creek & anchored in a rising tide in 12 ft. & only 80 ft. chain possible. Now it was mostly sunny, hot & dark ugly clouds to the north & northeast & very gusty . Dave (Firecrest) then Patric & Karin (Artful Dodger) came over for a few hours of socializing. Happy Birthday Karin! Their outside passage from Fernandina to Ossabaw Sound Mon. pm till Tues. dawn went well. They met up with friends at Isle of Hope Marina last night then relocated here this afternoon. Dave was still experiencing ongoing prop shaft problems & was hoping to haul the boat tomorrow at Sail Harbor Marina & Boatyard if the parts arrive--> $12.00 per foot in & out. Suddenly I noticed that Dave’s boat was in a different location; he was dragging! Suddenly Happy Hour was over. Supper= chicken marsala but with turkey strips--> good. We missed sunset. Tonight we had typical Georgia strong currents, strong howling south winds of 15-27K but no chop with all around protection, partly cloudy skies & stars in the clear patches.
Thurs. April 28, 2011 (Week 30, Day 206) Destination: Turner Creek, Savannah (Mile 585.5) Weather: cloudy for the most part, sunny breaks, warm & humid, tornado warnings all day, periods of rain mid pm & evening, lightning & thunder Winds: S 15K in am, gusty am & early pm, calm with a shift to the W
A grey, gloomy am & humidity persisted; slept in till 0700 hrs. NOAA weather & local Savannah radio weather announced warnings of high winds & tornados in several counties including Chatham County where we were situated & several states as far as NY. Greater than 200 deaths in Arkansas, Missouri, North Carolina & Virginia with the tornado last Sat. & huge destruction in Alabama yesterday. I spent a couple of hours in the am doing housekeeping duties & making & precooking meatballs waiting to see what the weather might do. At 1100 hrs. we decided that Graeme would take me & my bike to shore to go to the library for a few hours (can’t walk far these days) & he would stay with the boat. Few hours at the library dragged till near 1600 hrs. But I looked at emails, located emails in Windows Mail I thought I lost a few days ago, & even with tech support had some difficulty but successfully downloaded my McAfee anti everything renewal program on 2 of my computers. I biked back to Hogan’s Marina in the rain & radioed Graeme for a pick up. The rains continued on & off for the rest of the afternoon & evening, sometimes heavy & no-see-ums made their annoying presence. It was very eerie with the calm conditions, black threatening clouds & ugly skies & periods of lightning & thunder; unsettling & anxious feeling thinking this might be the calm before the storm. Patric dropped in with news that Dave’s boat parts arrived & his boat was hauled & together they will install the new prop shaft & replace the stuffing box tomorrow; Patric has been a guardian angel to many people especially Dave! Karin will come with us by bus into Savannah. The Morrows called X 2; experienced some wicked weather after they were anchored in the Wahoo River, but still scheduled to meet up tomorrow. Supper= meatballs in garlic marinade/sauce with rice. The tornado watch was rescinded at 1900 hrs. Between the rain showers we dinghied to shore & walked to the Publix very close by; not many groceries needed but cost added up quickly. Calm winds, heavily clouded night sky & rainy periods & high humidity.
Fri. Apr. 29, 2011 (Week 30, Day 207) Destination: Turner Creek, Savannah (Mile 585.5) Weather: cooler fresher air, no humidity, sunny about 80F Winds: NW 15-->10--> 5K
A little after midnight the calm was replaced by 8-10K winds enough to get the wind generator working. Less humid, fresh air & lower temperature was noticeable on waking. A boat shower for me, breakfast, dressed & ready for a day of touring by 0715 hrs. To shore where we met Karin then walked to #24 bus stop for the 0807 hrs. bus & arrived about 45 min. later downtown Savannah at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. & Broughton St. (senior= $0.75, regular= $1.50). We walked to City Market, Ellis Square then north on Whitaker St. to River St. & Rousakis Riverfront Plaza. Many stores were not open till 1000 hrs. We spent the am in & out of stores & viewing the sites along River St.; I took many photos. We lunched at “Rocks” on River St. (Bohemian Hotel)--> good. After lunch we walked Factor Row which is home of a few antique shops, restaurants & commercial businesses. Then we walked along E. Bay St. then several streets & numerous squares to the south. We faltered & dropped into Leopolds on E. Broughton St. for ice cream (famous tutti fruiti flavor). A drink at “Corleone” then the same bus stop for 1555 hrs. for our return trip; bus was late. We picked up a fresh French stick bread for supper then home at 1730 hrs. Quickly supper was prepared for the whole crew--> ‘Twomorrows’, ‘Artful Dodger’ & ‘Firecrest’. A few no-see-ums but not so bad. A few snacks till supper was ready= meatloaf, potatoes, coleslaw (thank you Karin), bread & butter, then key lime pie (thank you Larry). Lots of stories & lots of laughs! A beautiful day followed by a beautiful calm night, brilliant stars in a totally clear night sky.
Sat. Apr. 30, 2011 (Week 30, Day 208) Destination: Turner Creek, Savannah (Mile 585.5) Weather: comfortably cool at dawn to no humidity, warm brilliantly sunny day Winds: S5-8K
A peaceful night & good sleep. We picked up Lynn, Larry then Dave in the dinghy & tied up at Hogan’s Marina as we had already paid for a dinghy tie up for a 24 hrs. period. We walked to #24 bus stop for the 0952 hrs. bus with plenty of time to spare, & got off at M.L.K. Jr. & Broughton St. At the Visitor Center we took the Olgethrope Trolley Bus Tour ($15.00 per person), while Graeme toured the maritime museum ($6.00 per senior) + some browsing. Our tour bus broke down & another trolley shortly picked us up & continued, finishing at 1330 hrs. at City Market. From a higher vantage point I was struck by the abundance of magnolia trees that were currently in bloom. We met Graeme while walking City Market. A late lunch took place at Molly MacPherson. Now 1500 hrs. Dave did the maritime museum while the rest of us browsed Broughton St., stopping at La Berry for frozen yogurt for some & people watching. Gradually we made our way to the bus stop in a round about way for me, visiting “Book Lady” (Bull & Liberty) Chippewa Square (wedding in progress), past Foley House, Barnard St., Telfair Square to State Street. There is no bus service on Sunday from the marina & a taxi = $9.50 per person per way & so Lynn & Larry felt it best to cancel our rendezvous with Larry’s brother & wife & daughter tomorrow, but instead push on to Port Royal Landing, Beaufort, S.C. The dinghy was readied & the boat’s fuel tank was topped. Larry called Port Royal Landing Marina--> closed but left a message for reservations for the 2 of us for tomorrow night. Supper= leftovers of meatloaf & potato for Graeme & curried peanut chicken for me & splitting the last piece of key lime pie for dessert. A most beautiful evening to finish a perfect day; incredible red sky, calm waters & calm winds, only pesky no-see-ums, then dark night with clear skies & stars.
Sun. May 1, 2011 (Week 30, Day 209) Destination: Savannah, Georgia (Mile 585.5) to Port Royal, Beaufort, S.C. (Mile 537) Departure: 0705 hrs. Arrival: 1500 hrs. Mileage: 48.5 SM/39.29 NM Weather: flat calm, peaceful Sun. am, sun. perfect temp, then light cloud cover after the Savannah River Winds: N light & increasing as the morning progressed to 13- 17K
Singing birds at the break of dawn. Dolphins, fish & the sweet smell of jasmine as we raised the anchor & many more dolphins heading to Thunderbolt & the Savannah River. Fields Cut--> no water depth problems at ¾ high falling tide. Daufuskie Landing & Island, Ramshorn Creek & Hilton Head--> no problems. We flew our jenny whenever possible throughout the day especially when fighting a current. Once again it was a day of seesawing, sometimes with the current sometimes against, depending on our position to the many sounds & whether we were approaching at high or low tide. All in all we fared well. Since crossing back to the mainland from the Bahamas it was quite apparent of the coolness & chill of the wind despite the hot sun. Larry recalled Port Royal Landing Marina for 1-2 nights--> no problems + called Charleston Maritime Center but no availability till Wed.--> reservations made for Wed. Thurs & ? Fri. As the day progressed the sky out to sea remained sunny whereas over land was somewhat cloudy. It was slack tide as we approached the marina, first the fuel dock then we relocated on the north end of the dock. Laundry was the big task of the day--> 3 washes X $1.00 + 2 dryers X $1.00 + remainder of Lynn’s dryer, therefore total= $5.00. ‘Artful Dodger’ & ‘Firecrest’ passed the marina at about 1700 hrs. Lady Island Bridge (bascule) closed from 1600 to 1800 hrs.; I wonder if they did anchor just north of the bridge in Factory Creek. Supper= tacos & refried beans at the Morrows. Together we did some trip planning. Suddenly we were all very tired. I needed a shower then went right to bed. Pleasantly cool after sunset, clear skies & stars+++
Mon. May 2, 2011 (Week 30 Day 210) Destination: Port Royal, Beaufort, S.C. (Mile 537) Weather: beautiful, sunny & warm with a few dark clouds (insignificant) Winds: S 8-12K
A great sleep as usual. We woke to the news of Osaman Bin Laden’s death. Today also was the federal election in Canada. It is only 2 short days to Charleston with an imperative set up for Elliot Cut passage with the current + with reservations not until Wed. we decided to stay put & do some major cleaning ie deck & cockpit by Graeme & interior floor, carpets, extensive scrubbing of shower & head & semi reorganization of the garage by me. Then a long marina shower before we obtained the courtesy car at 1130 hrs. We had the use of the vehicle as long as we wanted; first stop= West Marine, then downtown beautiful Beaufort for lunch at Luthers, outside overlooking the well designed & landscaped boardwalk at river’s edge. O.K. we also took in a few shops across the road on Bay St. We drove to Wal Mart & returned to the marina at about 1515 hrs. A Happy Hour drink when the onsite restaurant opened at 1600 hrs. & some internet. Back at the boats we watched the news coverage of the US Seals operation of attaching Bin Laden’s fortified place in Pakistan on the Morrows’ T.V. We were curious as to the outcome of the Canadian Elections. A nice cool evening after sunset which was at 2006 hrs. Supper= leftover garlic meatballs & potatoes for Graeme & leftover turkey marsala for me. Another gorgeous night & partly cloudy skies.