Wednesday, October 28, 2020

St Augustine - Half Empty

Want a slip, lots of choices

 I would estimate that about half the docks are empty. We've been down here in the past when you had to call days ahead to get a slip but that's not the case now. That follows from us being the only boat on the free docks in Jacksonville. 

We took a walk towards town but cut it short, very few people were wearing masks, maybe about 1/4 of the ones we saw. There was even one store that had a sign posted that masks were not required, with the word "not" underlined! The shop next door did require masks. 

Nobody for golf? Usually, it's full of people.

Nevertheless, it was a great day with temps in the low 80s but we're due for a weather change on Friday. We'll have one more day of warm weather for our anchorage at Daytona on Thursday before arriving in Titusville on Friday. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

St Augustine - at a dock


The Bridge of Lions at St Augustine, notice the empty slips in the foreground

It was another short day and the weather cooperated with temps in the low 80s. There were no shallows along the way so it was just enjoying the ride. The marina here has a very convenient dock for refueling and pump out which we took advantage of. 

A few of St Augustine from the docks, we'll explore tomorrow

The big news here is how empty the docks are. I've never seen St Augustine Marina with so few boats. I would estimate they are about 1/4 full. Usually, it's almost full and you have to be sure you have reservations in order to be guaranteed a slip. 

We will layover here for another day and then move on to the Bethune Park anchorage in Daytona for the night. Nobody is wearing a mask here, we are the only ones with the exception of other boaters. You'll see a few with masks dropped down around their neck, ready, I suppose for when they enter a store? We plan on a short walk tomorrow just to stretch our legs but we plan on avoiding all crowds. 

Monday, October 26, 2020

Jacksonville Free Docks in Sisters Creek - at a dock

Nothing quite like a nuclear sub - looks menacing

It was a dead calm night at the Jekyll anchorage. The charts only show 4 MLLW of water but there’s actually 12 MLLW if you know the way, SonarChart from Navionics is pretty accurate for this location. We left and headed into a fog bank waiting for us partway out to the turn in St Andrews Sound so I switched on the radar again – which worked again (two out of two! I’m on a roll).

You can see the two cables that attach to the saws

With the calm winds, St Andrews was tame. One of the reasons we like the Jekyll anchorage is the closeness to the turn south in St Andrews, you can catch the turn in the morning before the winds pick up. 

Fernandina is empty

Coming into Fernandina, we saw the way blocked by the huge saw boat used to cut up the Hyundai ship that ran aground earlier this year. It actually has two huge saw blades that do the job. The floating saw was attended to by several tugs and we had to carefully find our way through. Fernandina was empty. We saw only one boat on the outside docks and we heard the fuel dock was close due to a leak. The facedock appears to be longer than I remember - but it's empty at the moment. 

All by ourselves on the Jacksonville free dock by Sisters Creek

We wanted to reach the Jacksonville free dock in good stead since we expected a crowd in prime migration season but we found it empty, not a single boat, where is everybody? Terri and Larry came over for a chat, it was great to meet only friends even though we still had to observe social distancing. 

On Tuesday, we're headed for St Augustine for two nights, then the Bethune anchorage in Daytona followed by Titusville two days earlier than planned. We made better time than we thought with this excellent weather!

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Jekyll Creek - at anchor


One other boat with us at Crescent River anchorage

The day did not start out well. We had a heavy rainstorm, complete with thunder in the early hours and when that finally passed, I jammed the anchor chain in the windlass when pulling it up. The anchor was up but it was locked tight and couldn't be moved. The tide was falling at Mud River so I let it be and headed out. We were greeted with a rainbow as we turned to the ICW. 

View to the ICW at Crescent River anchorage

Our first challenge was Mud River with a 2 ft tide but it turned out not to be a problem - but I needed that 2 ft! I only found 3.9 MLLW at the southern exit! Only the last couple hundred feet were a problem, the rest of the cut was 8 to 9 MLLW. 

Always nice to start the day with a rainbow! (a double?)

After that excitement, it was on to Jekyll Creek but first we had another gift from the skies that lasted about 1/2 hour. I hadn't used my radar in over a year but I needed it today when the visibility was reduced to less than several hundred feet. It wasn't as bad as Maine where you could not see the bow at times but it was a shock here on the ICW. At least I now know my radar is still working! 

Our neighbor for the night

We arrived at Jekyll Creek with a 2.5 ft tide and it wasn't a problem. Corrected for tide, we saw a minimum of 6.3 MLLW provided you followed the Bob423 Long Track for the area. It's very narrow since they only dredged a channel 75 feet wide. 

We are now anchored across from the Jekyll Marina with one other boat. There's a public boat ramp across the channel I use for Hoolie relief, very convenient. I put an anchor icon down in Waterway Guide Alerts for the exact best spot for anchoring and I've yet to come here but where there's been a boat already at that spot! Still, there's plenty of room for 2 to 4 boats if you know where the shallow spots are at. 

We're headed for the Jacksonville free dock on Monday for one night, hopefully there's room for us. 

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Crescent River - at anchor


Every shrimp boat has its admirers

Except for one day of rain, the weather has been phenomenal. It was another great traveling day and we made it from Kilkenny to Crescent River., another of our favorite anchorages. There's plenty of room, no wave action, and a place to take Hoolie with a sandy beach even at high tide. There is only one other boat here so it's practically empty. 

Hoolie always likes a sandy beach

The river here has a number of shrimp boats that use the passage and when they go by, they carry along a huge contingent of "passengers". I guess everybody's out for a free lunch if possible. I wonder how much shrimp winds up in the bellies of the passengers?

Hoolie's beach from afar

We are headed for Mud River and Jekyll Island on Sunday with a little bit of tide in both places, about 1 to 2 feet, enough, I'll report back on what I see the next day. At this rate, we'll reach Titusville before our reservation date so we'll see if we can arrive early or we'll spend the time at the Bethune anchorage in Daytona. We should reach the Jacksonville free docks on Monday afternoon if our present progress holds up. 

Friday, October 23, 2020

Kilkenny Marina - at a dock


The famous Causton Bluff Bridge - with the inoperable leaf down
It has claimed at least three sailboats so far - dismasted

We had a short run today to Kilkenny Marina on the south side of Savannah. On the way, we went through Hell Gate which is no longer a problem since it's been dredged. However, it is beginning to shoal in again with depths to 7 MLLW when the original dredged depth for 12 MLLW. Still, it's a pleasure not having to worry about getting through at low tide. 

I remain fascinated with the Live Oaks - we don't have them up north

The other cuts were easy, no changes from the spring. The Causton Bluff bridge was on demand but you had to be careful about that leaf that does not open. When going south, it's easy to see the leaf that is still down but when going north, it's not so easy since there's a sharp turn to starboard to get through - which can swing you into that down leaf. There's a bit of sideways current that adds to the excitement. We made it through without a problem. 

As I said, the docks look homemade but sturdy enough

Kilkenny is the same as ever. It's really just a facedock and fuel. They technically do have restrooms and a shower but I wouldn't use them. If you have three boats or more using air conditioning, the voltage drops to a little over 100v. As soon as evening comes and everyone turns off their A/C, then the voltage is back to 120v. The docks are homemade but seem sturdy enough. For us, it's a convenient stop along the way to the Crescent River anchorage, our next stop, which is staged for Mud River. 

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Windmill Harbour - at a dock


Out for sailing class!

Today was in great contrast from yesterday - no rain, no wind, great moving along. We have a traditional stay at Windmill Harbour to see friends and to enjoy the company of other boaters. Of course, we do things differently with the virus about but we still get to enjoy each other's company. 

Great flower from Rick and Elizabeth!

I used to give talks here as part of my visit but that's no longer a good thing to do with the virus around - no gatherings. We refueled and had a pump-out so we're good to go for Titusville for sure. Ted Arisaka and Patti paid us a visit and in this era, brought their own chairs to sit out on the dock by Fleetwing. It's good to meet friends along the way, even if it's with social distancing! 

The modern way to socialize during the pandemic

We also ran into Rick and Elizabeth who gifted a bouquet of flowers and a bottle of Italian wine, always welcomed, we do love our wine. So with all the important stuff done, we're ready to move again Friday morning. We're headed to Kilkenny for the night and then on to the Crescent River anchorage. We are making good progress south!