Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fernandina - at a mooring

Peaceful sunset
The winds were predicted to peak in the afternoon to 20 to 25 kts which is definitely not good for rounding the corner out the inlet by Jekyll Island. For those not familiar with the area, you have to go out the inlet for several miles before you can turn south again in order to avoid a shallow bank. With the tide coming in and a strong wind going out, that section can be very rough. With that we decided to take advantage of the morning wind before it built up to afternoon strength.

Guess what this is?  It's a demagnetizer for submarines - there's a base nearby
So it was up before daylight with a trip to the nearby public dock for Hoolie and off the anchor by daybreak. We had winds of 15 kts but that's a lot less than the 20 to 25 kt predicted for the afternoon. Another complicating factor is that you have to make a right angle turn over at most 10 ft of water over a bar before you can turn south again. Waves like to break over a bar but it was calm enough this morning that we made it okay and without breakers.

We do like to see these around!! They are dredgers to keep the waterways from getting too shallow.
Coming into Fernandina was an adventure. We only had to pick up a mooring but there's a 2 kt current running most of the time and that combined with the 20 kt gusts (by the afternoon when we arrived) made picking up a mooring an adventure. On our first try the mooring ball went under the boat, not helped by the fact that it was covered in very sharp barnacles so I was hesitant in grabbing hold of it firmly. Finally I was forced to let go and it slipped past Fleetwing. On the second try we decided to approach the mooring ball from the downwind side which would prevent it getting under the boat and we were successful securing our lines through the eye.

The ride in was thrilling with the 25 kts winds (by now) so on the way back I had Ann sit in the back of the dinghy which raised the bow to almost eye level which kept the dinghy and its passengers dry! Tonight there's only about 8 kts of wind, perfectly still it seems. We'll be here another day before heading south again on Friday. Tomorrow we'll explore the many shops in Fernandina, one of Ann's favorite stops.