Friday, October 23, 2015

Hiddle Harbor Yacht Center - at their dock

Venus, Jupiter and Mars in the morning sky when I got up today at Thunderbolt
This morning we got up really early, well I slept in and they started early. The marina we were in gives you fresh made this morning donuts, that was so good. I did little work today and French am learning fast, un deux trios, one two three. I can count up to twenty, I like starting a language I think I can spell numbers better in French. Then I wrote in my book, then played on my tablet. It was long, left early came in late. I did the cleat when I threw the rope around it and the person tied for me. I put out the step and curled the lines, the marina is called Hidden Harbor that is really hidden. You go through this tight channel leading to our marina, we are leavening early in the next morning. We are having a some chili for dinner, P.S sorry it is so short we didn't do much in a long trip on the boat, bye.  Sarah 

We had to leave at 7:00 am sharp to have a chance making the Hell Gate passage. This spring I had seen 3.1 MLW which means there was only 3.1 feet of water at low tide. Now since we require 4 ft 9 inches to pass through we had no chance at low tide. However, we left at 7:00 so we could arrive at Hell Gate by 9:00 am when the tide there was 2.1 ft high. Theoretically, that should be enough for our 4' 9" keel (3.1 + 2.1 = 5.2 ft). 

Promises, promises - they laid the foundations but the orders never came for the condos
So amid much complaining from the crew, we left at 7:00 am sharp. The sun didn't rise until 7:30 so it was a little dark but we had enough light to see. We were the only boat visible as we approached Hell Gate, not a good sign - they all had the good sense to stay away. I had figured waypoints from a satellite photo where I could see the mud banks, a good plan if the shoals stayed in place between the taking of the photo and the negotiating of the shallows by me. Unfortunately, the two didn't seem to match.  The depth corrected for MLW (low tide) came out to 2.4 ft! Even with a 2.1 ft tide, that was not enough for my 4 ft 9 inch keel! So I felt the keel hit the mud and I motored on through, the mud was soft and gave way for the 200 ft or so I needed to clear the shallowest area. From past experience with Hell Gate, I knew that the shallowest part was at the beginning heading south. Soon enough I was in deeper water and proceeded to clear the cut although only deeper to the extent of a 5 ft draft for the next 500 ft before deepening further to 6 ft. 

That was quiet enough excitement for one day. We had intended stopping at Wahoo Creek but we got there by 12:30 which was too early to quit so we soldiered and when we reached our second choice, we kept moving. We wound up at Hidden Harbor Yacht Center just north of Brunswick, GA, a good staging area for the shallows at Jekyll Island. 

We hope to anchor out at Cumberland Island National Seashore. We've never been there and have heard great things about it. This year we're going to stop! Then it's on to Fernandina for a few days of rest. Today was a 10.5 hour day but we made it.