This little town is rich with history, restored old homes, cute restaurants, antique stores big magnolia trees and sweet smelling jasmine. Discovered in 1562 by French explorer Jean Ribault, it was actually settled by the Spanish in 1567. It was captured by the British in 1702. A total of 8 flags have flown over Amelia Island. It has been claimed by more different governments than any other place is the US. The commercial seaport dates back to 1850’s when the first cross-state RR linked Fernandina to Cedar Key on the West Coast of Florida. The girls spent most the day exploring while the boys spent most their day with their boats!! It’s the Boys & Toys thing! We had a Captain’s meeting to plan the next week that should take us as far as Savannah with some pretty interesting stops in between. Wow, It’s good to be back in the water.
In boating, as in all things, one must be adaptable to a change in plans. The best made plans of the Captains yesterday went awry for the “Salvage Crew” today. The $400 washing machine repair we had made in Jacksonville did not do the trick and if we wanted the company to come back we had to stay within range at Amelia Island. So we waved goodbye to “Good News” and waited on the “Maytag” repairman. Apparently we were not the only ones to ring his phone so it was after Noon when we finally got underway. Luckily it was a short hop to our next stop, Cumberland Island and we arrived at the anchorage around 3pm. Cumberland Island achieved protected status as a National Seashore decades ago and is only reachable by boat. The unspoiled beauty of the island draws a fair amount of day visitors to the park trails where you can see their lovely beaches, the ruins of Dungeness, and the wild horses that roam the island. Unfortunately when the Salvage Crew got their dinghy down for the first time since the Bahamas to run over to the island, the dink had no gas in it. Unspoiled island then translates to “no fuel available”. Just so you won’t miss anything, I’m posting Mary’s pictures of the island so you can enjoy them along with me. 85% of it is remote. JFK Jr got married at a small private resort that is located on the other 15% of the island. Still, we haven’t really had a bad day on the water yet!!!! Lots of laughs about the “messed up” day when the Sarvers joined us for Grilled Prosciutto Shrimp-fresh from the Amelia Island docks.
A quiet night on the hook. We wake up to find the wild horses grazing along the shore beside the boat. Our morning cruise had us docked at Jekyll Island by noon. We borrowed the Courtesy Car and toured the island. The historic district is Millionaire’s Village where the restored homes formerly belonged to the Rockefellers, Goodyears, Macys, JP Morgan & others. Ladies & Gentlemen dressed in all white were playing croquet on the lawn of the Jekyll Island Club Hotel. There are trails, beaches on the ocean side and marsh & grasslands on the river side, a tideland nature center, a sea turtle center, horseback riding trails, eco tours and lots of nature. Nature in the form of a 10 ft alligator was touring around our boat this afternoon. We will limit our swims to the marina swimming pool. The waterfront restaurant special is a “Low Country Boil”. Had cocktails with the Sarvers and Brad & Susan Light from “Northern Light” (more nice Michiganders)!!
The GA and SC Intercoastal Waterways have some unique problems. They have not continued dredging maintenance over the past few years and shoaling has caused many people to “bump the ground”. That is something we try to avoid at all cost. Also, tidal effect can vary as much as 8 ft from high to low tide. The low tide/shoaling combo can really ruin an otherwise great day on the water. So instead of jumping up in the mornings and cranking the engines through this area, we wait until we can cross the skinniest reported water about 2 hours before high tide. That way, if we happen to get “stuck” in that Georgia red mud, we have more water on its way to help us float off. Another solution is to run on the outside in the Atlantic Ocean. We will use both of these solutions at different times. It was a short 10 mile jump to St Simons Island today. We were joined by Bob & Deb on “Headquarters” at the Golden Isles Marina. The girls toured the island & shopped in the courtesy car while the boys cleaned & shined their boats. History lesson: Oglethorpe established GA 1st military outpost here at Ft Frederica 1736. This island’s oaks were milled to build “Old Ironsides” for the Revolutionary War. John Wesley founded the Methodist Church here in 1736. All this and it is a beautiful island.
We see another Birmingham, AL homeport boat on the dock. John & Claudia Porter are from Greystone in B’ham and they keep their boat here. So good to see people from home. Dinner with “Good News” & “Headquarters”. 6 AM departure time tomorrow to get up to the Savannah area. It’s going to be a long day on the water either way and we will make a decision early. Outside on the Atlantic or the ICW??????????? Stay tuned!!!
We are all on our laptops checking the 3 w’s (weather, wind & waves) long before first light. It looks like a go for going outside and shortening our 10 hour travel day by about 3 hours by going out into the Atlantic instead of winding our way through the shoaling GA ICW! YES!!! Good News leads the way at first light and we follow. Our friends on “Headquarters” leave right behind us in their SeaRay but pass us soon to go all the way up to Hilton Head today. They have a “go fast” boat! We plan to catch up to them there Saturday night. It was a lovely day on the water with 10 mph winds out of SE and 2-3 foot rollers spaced nicely apart enough to be considered a rocking motion rather than a chop. We get into Thunderbolt Marina, a few miles south of Savannah, around 2pm. Brad & Susan on “Northern Light” (our new sailboat friends) pull in behind us. Boys wash boats (cause that’s what boys do) and we all meet at the dock pavilion for cocktails & Susan’s appetizers. Later, Lobster for dinner! No complaints on that! Early to rise, early to fall (I mean bed)! Big day in Savannah tomorrow. Mary & Andy have never been here & we are looking forward to seeing it with them. It’s a great city!
Some marinas along the way are chosen because of their proximity to the ICW, some because they are close to “historic/entertainment areas” of a town, deep ports, etc. We chose Thunderbolt Marina because they are famous for bringing fresh, hot, Krispy Kreme donuts and a USA Today to every boat on their dock. Yum!! Caught the 10 AM bus into Savannah where we took the On & Off Olde Town Trolley around to all the sights. Oglethorpe had a great idea when he laid out the town around 22 squares. The parks & the architecture around them is exquisite. We had perfect weather, ate wonderful food at lunch and dinner at two of Savannahs many excellent restaurants and had a really enjoyable day. Hilton Head tomorrow.
It’s been great but I’ve got to get out of this donut marina!!! It is hazardous to my weight. We leave on a rising tide to slowly cruise some of the skinnier spots of the GA ICW. We pass a grounded sailboat at the Savannah River junction and TowBoat US has him hooked to a line trying to pull him off. We call the TowBoat Capt about how he wants us to pass and he tells “Good News” to pass slowly about 6 ft off his bow and “Salvage Crew” to come by throwing a wake so he can use the opportunity of the wake to lift the sailboat off the shoal. We quickly passed around a curve but shortly heard that the sailboat was once more afloat. Hope we helped. Arrived Hilton Head and Deb & Bob off “Headquarters’ caught our lines. They invited us to a Kentucky Derby Party on their boat and Deb fixed a great Shrimp & Pasta dish. I took a salad & Mary took an appetizer.
We did a Derby Pool and we put in $5 each and drew our horses. Brad & Bob drew the favored horses but Mary’s horse was a Cinderella Story and passed 13 horses to win!! How exciting! Then we found out that it was Bob & Deb’s birthday. They were literally born on the same day 9 hours apart. If we had known, we would have baked a cake!!! Hope they enjoyed their birthday as much as we did!!! Happy Birthday guys!!!!