Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Jekyll island - at anchor

A quiet anchorage and Hoolie's dock is at the right, on shore - convenient
The day was so wonderful for traveling that we decided to push on to Jekyll Island and anchor after passing through the shallows. However, before I could do that we had to brave Mud River at dead, low tide. For the first time, I tried using Navionics' SonarCharts from their iPad app. To my surprise, it worked very well for predicting the depth to enable you to plot a path real-time. The only place it didn't do a good job was in the exit at the south end where the charts got mixed up and I almost came to grief. There were some 4.5 MLW spots along the way but the path was very narrow. If you deviated just a little from the best path, you found shallow water right away.

I had my own problems. There was a stretch where you had to favor the green side, then the middle, and then the red side. I looked at that and in the heat of the moment, favored the red side first when it should have been the green side. Fleetwing came to a grinding halt! Now the problem was, where to go for deeper water. Well, the only route you know for sure that has deeper water is the way you just came in! So that involved some backing up and then the wheel hard left with throttle to spin the boat 180 and we left the shoal. I then relooked at my own guide which clearly stated that I had to run along the green edge of the channel which I subsequently did with success - the guide works - you just have to follow it!

Two other boats anchorage across the fairway
Along the way, we saw two boats hard aground as we passed by. The problem area was at Altamaha Sound by R208 that looks very inviting for an easy pass. But you can't do that! You must run along the green edge of the channel to avoid a huge shoal working out from R208 where there is 20 feet at MLW. I still amazes me the number of boaters that don't even check Active Captain for shoals and just believe the buoys as gospel. Eventually they will learn their lesson (and then there's me who knew what to do but reversed the red/green side).

Finally, we came to the Jekyll Island passage that seems to get shallower every year. We found one shoal spot that was only 3.3 MLW! We came through with 5 ft of tide so we passed over it okay. The night here is perfectly calm and we're the only boat in the anchorage. Again, if you don't read Active Captain you wouldn't know that the charts for the anchorage is wrong - they show the water to be too shallow. It's actually 8 to 10 ft and not the 4 ft listed on the charts. Information is available but you have to access it. All of this stuff is in my guide too.

From here on out, we will have short days with leisurely breakfasts and relaxed starts. The weather is warm and the winds light. We will anchor out again at Fernandina where Ann has an appointment to get her hair cut at her favorite place, Magna's, and then we'll have dinner at another of our favorite restaurants, Pepper's Grill and Cantina.