Friday, February 3, 2017

Jekyll Creek to Fernandina Beach - 2017

--Blogpost written by Bob

Jekyll Creek to Fernandina Beach FL

I won't anchor in such an exposed area again--the wind, though not strong, and the tides made for rough sleeping last night.  At least it wasn't cold--the temperature was about 55 degrees during the night.  We anchored just outside the creek's entrance (in the Brunswick River) last night so that we could enter the narrow 5-mile long Jekyll Creek on a rising tide.  Jekyll Creek in Georgia is a notoriously difficult area to transit due to extensive shoaling.  In the morning, when we awoke at 7:30 we were fogged in with hardly any visibility.

This is the fog we woke up to on the Brunswick River.  The
visibility was about 100 feet.  We had to wait until
it lifted to proceed down the ICW.

We waited for the fog to lift and for the rising (and near high) tide before entering the creek's inlet.  We were underway this morning (February 1) by 10 AM.  High tide was at 11 AM.

I'm glad we planned to travel through Jekyll Creek at high tide.  We had several points where our depth read only 11.5 feet and 9 foot of that was tidal difference.  We would have been aground multiple times at low tide.

These large birds were sitting on the fender boards for the
Jekyll island Fixed Bridge when we came through.
Both cormorants and pelicans seem
to tolerate each other.

Cumberland Sound separates the states of Georgia and Florida--we crossed into Florida at 2:10 PM!   After traveling down the Amelia River just off Cumberland Sound, we tried to get  a slip at Fernandina Harbor Marina but they were closed for repairs.  We anchored across the river from the marina and will dinghy over tomorrow morning for showers.

A shrimp trawler glides down the Amelia River
in front of Fernandina Beach's waterfront.

There are two large industrial plants in Fernandina Beach.
I think this one is a pulp mill, the other 

one is a paper mill.

Florida brings along mental images (to me) of sunshine and warmth--the state was not disappointing, with a high temperature this afternoon of over 75 degrees.

Fernandina Beach

We woke up to the grinding sounds of heavy industry outside.  Motors were running, steam was hissing, and there was heavy rattling like bowling balls in a huge washing machine--all these sounds were coming from the nearby paper mill across the river from our anchorage.  Some people might find this noise objectionable but I find it somewhat familiar and comforting.

Today (February 2) is Ground Hog Day which I'm sure means nothing in Florida.  Six more weeks of winter here means for the next six weeks it is cool enough to be outdoors during the day.  At 8:30 AM the sun is already warming up the enclosed cockpit of our sailboat.  I'm grateful for the safe anchorage and the warmer weather we have found here.

Lizzie takes full advantage of the morning sun
as she naps in the cockpit.

We planned a layover here in Fernandina Beach for a couple days so that our mail can catch up with us.  We didn't know (until we arrived) that the marina here was closed for repairs.  Fortunately, the marina's showers are open for use (at $4 for showers plus a daily $3 landing fee for our dinghy--a total of $7--you can't beat that for economizing.)

As I look around the small harbor this morning, I notice a catastrophes caused by Hurricane Matthew--two sailboats were sunk about 500 feet south of our anchorage and only their mast and rigging are above the water.  I wonder, who is responsible for cleaning up sunken sailboats?

This twin-masted sailboat was sunk during Hurricane Matthew.
It's been underwater for at least 3 months.  There is a
single-masted sailboat sunk nearby.  I wonder,
who is responsible for cleaning
up sunken sailboats?

We mount our outboard motor onto our rigid hull inflatable dinghy at mid-morning--it isn't difficult but it takes both of us, one lowering the outboard motor using our onboard motor lift and the other in the dinghy to guide the motor onto the transom.  Our outboard motor hasn't been operated since sometime in mid-August, almost 6 months ago.  It took several dozen pulls to get it going but once it started it ran great.

We had a great lunch at Brett's Waterway Cafe, next door to the marina.  With our clean bodies and full bellies we felt very civilized.  It is amazing what a nice hot shower, a good meal, and warm sunshine can do for your disposition.

This is another hurricane-damaged sailboat across 
the sand bar from our anchorage near 
the mouth of St, Mary's River.

We took a taxi to get our mail the post office was about 5 miles away.  There are 2 post offices in this small town and, of course, our mail was at the furtherest one away from the harbor.

We moved from our anchorage to a mooring ball because a
lady living on a nearby boat thought that we would be too
close to her once the wind shifts to the north.  We
weren't too close but we moved to
accommodate her anyway.

This is the old woman who requested that we move a little further
away from her.  She looks like she is in her 70's but some-
what fit for her age.  She told me she lived aboard here
at anchor for 5 years and has seen winds up to
100 mph--I assumed this was during
Hurricane Matthew.

A hurricane-damaged sailboat with its tattered headsail 
sits lifelessly over the sandbar from our 
anchorage as the sun goes down.

We decided to stay another day (Friday) in Fernandina Beach.  


Today is Friday and we decided to get provisions and do some sightseeing in the nearby historic district of town.  The following pictures tell the story.

We took the Island Hopper Shuttle Bus to get groceries
at the local Publix grocery store.

We walked around the historic district of Fernandina Beach,
this is an interesting clock tower on Center Street.

This was simply a colorful and interesting sign on
North Second Street in Fernandina Beach.

We stopped in a coffee shop in the afternoon.  I
captured these lights and shadows
in the coffee shop.

As we were motoring back to our boat in our dinghy, we spotted
this pelican perched on the port cockpit coaming
of a small sailboat in the harbor.

A cormorant sits on a nearby mooring ball as the sun
goes down.  The wildlife is a big
part of this trip for us.

Tomorrow morning, we leave, heading south on the ICW toward St. Augustine--we should be there on February 5 for the Super Bowl.  Stay tuned for our continuing adventure...

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1 comment:

  1. Wow, so different from the PNW. I can't believe there are so many hurricane damaged sailboats just sitting there abandoned and unsalvaged. And they couldn't even bother to take their sails down.