Sunday, October 30, 2016

Jekyll Island Anchorage - On the hook

Good looking area for a Hoolie walk
We left at first light in order to have good water at both Mud River and Jekyll Island. We saw one depth down to 4.3 MLW just before the southern exit of Mud River. We had enough tide for that not to be a problem. More details are on my Active Captain post.

The nearby Jekyll Harbor Marina has nice grounds
We made good time and reached Jekyll Island by 1:00 pm and entered the passage with a 5.3 ft tide which was fortunate, we needed it. In the spring of 2016 I mapped out a route that resulted in a minimum of 5.7 MLW but when I took the same route today the least depth I saw was only 3.1 MLW! What a change from the spring! Not being satisfied with that reading, we anchored just south of the bridge and I took the dinghy north to make more readings. I noticed a sailboat with a 5.5 ft draft that was hard aground by G19. On one side of the grounded sailboat I measured 3 ft and on the other side I got a reading of only 1.5 ft. He was not going anywhere soon. So I did a bunch of soundings between G17 and G19 which was the shallowest I saw in my afternoon run, the 3.1 MLW. I found that the deepest water follows the green side shore (outside of turn) and then sweeps across about halfway to G19 to pass G19 by 80 ft. The minimum on that path is 4.0 MLW, still not wonderful but much better than 3.1 MLW.

Once past G19, the best water is again on the green side by 100 to 200 ft off the red markers towards the green side. You will notice the land curves away and the current and channel follows. You have to resist the temptation to head directly for the bridge once you clear R20 and R20A, resist that temptation and curve around to the green side, it's much deeper, 6 to 6.5 MLW.

It's calm, it's quiet and there's shore access via a dinghy dock - what's not to like
The weather is nothing short of wonderful for traveling. This anchorage is still one of the undiscovered along the ICW. The charts scare most people away, they show only 4 ft at low tide but the charts are wrong. We know it and we've entered the info into Active Captain but many still don't use the anchorage. It's 10 to 12 MLW on a line 20 degrees magnetic from R24. There is a public dinghy dock which we enjoy for Hoolie relief so it is very convenient for us. The holding is outstanding, drop the anchor and forget it.

On Monday we plan on docking at the town free docks by Sister's Creek if there is room. That would position us well for our run to the anchorage at Ft Mantanzas. It's another little used anchorage since the approach is not documented on charts but we know how to get in and have posted the directions on Active Captain.


bob said...

Another great post Bob but I have a question that I posted to Active Captain and would like your opinion or feedback. It is regarding Cumberland Dividings, or actually just south of there: Just south of statute mile 705 - between markers R70 and G69 in the ICW is an area that I have found to be very shallow but there are no hazards listed in AC. I traverse this area 4-6 times a year and usually close to low tide and always see shallow water. This week it was 6-7 feet at low tide. When you draw 5 ft that will get your attention. Am I missing something because I can't find deeper water? Should I be using the range markers going north? Have favored the green side looking for more water because the red side seems shallow but green side is no better. Do you have any experience or words of wisdom? Thanks...bob

Bob423 said...

Bob, as I recall, it's 7 to 8 ft through here following the centerline of the charted channel per the latest NOAA ENC chart. I did not follow the ranges, just the charted channel but some mfg'er's charts differ. Navimatics and Navionics both display ENC charts. The latest Garmin charts look similar but not identical, a few feet can make a large difference. I use Navimatics Charts and Tides which is ENC based but there are other apps that do the same thing.

One of these years I'll install a recording depth meter for reference for the entire ICW.

bob said...

I use a garmin with 4 year old charts and also a tablet with Jeppeson Plan 2 Nav. Not sure how these compare to Navionics or Navimatics... Thanks.

Bob423 said...

Bob, in the last two years there's been an improvement in location accuracy of the charts driven by improvements in the NOAA ENC charts that all commercial charts are based on. Sure, with newer charts you get updated buoy info but recently you will find that the channels are shown more accurately. This improvement in location is the biggest advantage of more recent charts. My old garmin charts different significantly in channel location from both more recent Garmin charts and other manufacturers' charts.

Any recent chart will be better than an older chart by any manufacturer, they are all based on the same NOAA ENC charts. . I'm going to do a major review of charts with pictures for my 2017 edition.