Posts Tagged With: Georgia

Seasons Greetings

Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!

29 Season

Summary of week:

To Jax

After spending a long weekend in Port Royal, the crew set out for their final push to Jacksonville.  They travelled four days and arrived in Jacksonville on Friday.

  1. On Tuesday the crew stopped in Herb Creek after a call from the crew of Monterey.
  2. Wednesday, the crew made a long day where they anchored in the Crescent River.
  3. Thursday, they made another long day and anchored off Cumberland Island.
  4. Jacksonville was an easy reach on Friday.

Click on the link to read the day-to-day travel log.  This includes weather report, sea conditions, captain’s log, and a summary of the day’s experience.

At the Box Office

This week’s video shows Still Waters II cruising south thru South Carolina, Georgia, and arriving in Florida. On the way she has dolphins swim in her bow wake.  Enjoy!

 

To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site.  The library now contains 47 videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop.

 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

About the time the crew crossed the Savannah River and entered Georgia, the phone rang.  The skipper answered the call and found Rob on the other end of the line.  Rob and Glenda hail from Canada, and crew the Monterey.  Our crew last saw Rob and Glenda back in Jacksonville in May.  Turned out that Monterey was just south of Still Waters II.  The two crews agreed to pull into Herb Creek and anchor for the night.

Still Waters II arrived in the creek first and found a nice wide spot to drop the anchor.  The skipper noticed Monterey pull into the creek, so he radioed Rob and discussed rafting up.

Still Waters II and Monterey rafted in Herb Creek.

17.5

After the boats were rafted, the crews spent the evening talking and catching up on the last few months.

The skipper, Rob, and Glenda on the sundeck of Still Waters II

17.4

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Monterey weighing anchor and pulling away.

17.3

Waving goodbye to Monterey

17.1 Leaving Herb Creek

After leaving the anchorage, the crew spent most of the day making way thru the endless Georgia salt marsh.

Hi tide in salt marsh

18 Hi Tide

At the end of the day the crew pulled into the Crescent River and dropped the anchor for the night.

Salt marsh glows golden at sunset

20 Anchor in Crescent Creek

View from anchorage in Crescent River

20.1

Thursday, November 30, 2017

The weather has started to warm and the winds have fallen off which has combined to cause some very nice cruising days.  However, seemed as though the crew travelled most of the day at low tide.

Glassy smooth water 

21 smooth

Travelling at low tide

22 Low Tide

The crew did witness some interesting things on the way south.  The pelicans dive bombing the fish entertained the crew for hours.

22 Pelican22.122.2

The crew cruised by this interesting solar sailor with an electric motor.

24 Solar Sailor

And when they anchored off Cumberland Island, this herd of wild horses came out to graze.

25 Cumberland Island Horses

Friday, December 1, 2017

After weighing anchor, the crew cruised down the end of Cumberland Island and saw a few more wild horses.  Then they crossed over into the state of Florida and cruised down Amelia Island..

Wild Horse on southern end of Cumberland Island

25.1

Overhead view of Amelia Island with Atlantic Ocean above the beach.

28 Amelia Island

After crossing the St Johns River, the crew made a few more miles and pulled into the Palm Cove Marina to end the 2017 cruising season.

Next Week –   

Still Waters II will stay at Palm Cove Marina for at least a month.  The crew will transform into CLOD’s (Cruisers Living On Dirt).  They will travel to Texas to visit family and friends.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Hope to see you back on board as virtual crew members in 2018 when the crew will head for the Bahamas.

Loop On – The water goes on forever and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

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A Crazy Two Weeks

Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventures!

Eric here with the latest travels of Still Waters II.  This update will also include the road trip to OKC where the crew got caught in a traffic jam that resulted in an overnight stay on I22.

Lastly, since my last update, Jay S. has joined on as a virtual crew member.  Welcome aboard and enjoy the cruise Jay!

69 St Simons Sound

Dolphin off the bow of boat

Summary of week:

The crew departed Jekyll Island and made a two-day run to the Isle of Hope Marina in the suburbs of Savannah.  The crew then took a road trip to Oklahoma City to watch the Women’s College World Series.   On the return trip to the boat they picked up a granddaughter who will cruise with them for a couple of weeks.  On Saturday, they picked up some friends from the Savannah airport and made an afternoon cruise to downtown Savannah.

70 St Simons Sound

 Sunday, May 28, 2017

The crew departed Jekyll Island and headed further north along the ICW.  It is only about 100 miles to Savannah from here so the crew plans to split the trip into about a 55-mile run and a 45-mile run.

There is very little between Jekyll Island and Savannah but miles and miles of Georgia salt marsh.  The crew saw very few other boaters out on the water.

71 STM 665 Mackay River, GA

Lots of Salt Marsh in the Low Country

The crew did follow a conversation over the radio between a recreational boater and the Coast Guard.  The boater ran out of gas and was looking for the Coast Guard to deliver some fuel.  The Coast Guard only helps boaters in distress, such as a boat actually sinking.  The Coast Guard asks tons of questions on their one-size-fits-all checklist and then tells the ‘not in distress’ per Coast Guard standards boater to call a commercial tow company such as Boat US or Sea Tow for help.

79 STM 635

Crossing the St Simmons Sound

After a good day of cruising the crew pulled up in the Wahoo River to anchor.  This was the first anchor stop since the boat repairs.  When they went to deploy the anchor, ………, well nothing happened.  The skipper checked under the helm for any loose wires, found one, plugged the wire back in, and still no anchor power.  The skipper then jumped down in the engine room and found the anchor switch turned off.  Turned the switch to ‘on’ and the anchor windlass began to work.  Imagine that.

80 STM 630 Anchored in Wahoo River

Anchored in Wahoo River

This was a nice place to anchor except the huge flies that decided to buzz the boat.  The flies got so bad that the crew had to retreat from the sundeck and go inside the boat.  Unfortunately, when the sun went down the wind died down also.  This was one hot night with temperatures only falling to 72 just before daybreak.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Another beautiful warm day to cruise.  The good days far outnumber the bad days, but the brain only seems to remember the bad days where there was some kind of ordeal to overcome.  Luckily our crew has not had many bad days on the water.

83 STM 610 Bear River

STM 610, more salt marsh

Again, there were not many folks on the water until the crew approached the marina on the outskirts of Savannah.  Then the boating traffic significantly picked up.

The Coast Guard had their hands full today though.  They dealt with another boater who ran out of fuel and a boater who ran hard aground.  Once again, the Coast Guard asked all their questions and then suggested the boaters call a commercial tow service.

86 STM 600 Green Island

Skipper spotted this wild hog out in the marsh

With more people on the water there were many folks using Channel 16 to just chat which is a big no-no.  The crew is in the Charleston Sector for Coast Guard response.  The Charleston Sector has a very short fuse when it comes to this inappropriate radio use.

The Coast Guard was constantly broadcasting a message that basically said “Channel 16 is for emergency and hailing purposes only.  Boaters using channel 16 should switch to a working channel.  Boaters using channel 16 for routine communications disrupts the Coast Guards ability to receive emergency calls.  This is Charleston Sector monitoring and recording Channel 16. Over”

90 STM 693

People enjoying Memorial Day

It seemed like someone would get on the radio and misuse channel 16 every few minutes or so.  This would cause the Coast Guard to parrot their above message, yet again.

The skipper thought about, but did not act on this thought.  Make an announcement on Channel 16 following the Coast Guard parrot message such as, “the Coast Guard repeating this long message every 5 minutes prevents the Coast Guard from receiving emergency messages. Over”

89 STM 593 Skidaway Narrows Bridge

Skidaway Bridge traffic jam

The crew just continued to monitor channel 16 as they motored on to the marina.  The crew safely docked and secured the boat at the Isle of Hope Marina to end a wonderful uneventful Memorial Day cruise.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The crew rented a car and started towards Oklahoma City.  The drive was going fine until 2215, about 30 miles south of Memphis.  All of a sudden there was nothing but red brake lights as the traffic came to a halt.  After about 30 minutes, the traffic in the opposite direction was also stopped.  After an hour, a medical helicopter landed, then left after another 30 minutes.

The skipper thought that the traffic would start moving after the helicopter took off, but an hour later there was still no movement on the highway.  As 0100 came and went motorists began making themselves comfortable for the night in their cars.  The truck drivers all disappeared from their cabs and made themselves comfortable in their sleeper cabins.

At 0500, the skipper woke up so he decided to take the mile stroll to the blinking lights to get a firsthand look at what was going on.  When he arrived at the road block, he found three police vehicles blocking all the traffic lanes and shoulder.  He also noticed the smell of asphalt.  On closer inspection, he noticed that the road crew had cut about a twenty-yard-wide section out of the road, shoulder-to-shoulder.  The road crew had laid new asphalt and were now in the process of rolling and compacting the new road surface.

The skipper walked back to the car and within twenty minutes he noticed the blinking lights were all off.  He then realized that some vehicles were actually moving up ahead.  Only problem now was that most of the folks were all still sleeping in their vehicles.  The skipper managed to back out between a few cars and an 18-wheeler and get over on the shoulder.  He then followed a Fed Ex truck up and out of the maze of cars on the highway.  The Fed Ex truck was also blowing his horn as he passed the sleeping motorists and fellow truck drivers.

All-in-all this was one of the most bizarre nights ever on a highway.

 Thursday, June 1 thru Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The crew spent most of the time watching the softball games to determine the College Division 1 Champion.  The 2017 champs turned out to be the University of Oklahoma.

The crew also spent quality time with their softball family.

IMG_4467

Softball in OKC

Wednesday, June 7 thru Friday June 9, 2017

The crew made a trip south to go pick up one of their granddaughters from Bryan/College Station and then headed east back to the boat.

Just west of Baton Rouge, the crew once again ran smack dab up on an all stop traffic accident.  An 18-Wheeler had gone off the road and was laying on its side in the trees.  This time the crew managed a whole six miles in two hours before clearing the accident scene and getting back up to cruising speed.

This resulted in a 0200 arrival back at the Isle of Hope Marina.  Friday was spent making the boat ready for the next leg of the journey north.

Saturday, June 10, 2016, 2017

The skipper was scrambling a bit on Saturday morning to make final arrangements for the day’s activities.  He needed to go to the Savannah International Airport to pick up two friends who were scheduled to land at 1045 a.m.  He also needed to return the rental car to Enterprise before the office closed at noon.

After returning the rental car, he used the marina loaner car to make the run to the airport.  The friends plane was on time and he managed to arrive at the airport within ten minutes of the guests getting their bags at baggage claim.  The skipper and guests returned to the marina where they put their luggage on the sundeck.  The Admiral had a large lunch spread waiting for them so they took the time to eat lunch before shoving off the dock.

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Kelly and Kim  in Savannah

The run was enjoyable as the crew and three guests made the three-hour run to downtown Savannah by boat.  Upon arrival in the Savannah River, the crew met a large commercial ship that was making 12 knots.  The large ship overtook Still Waters II in no time.

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Then a dinner riverboat arrived up ahead as the crew continued to push towards Savannah.  They cruised by Old Fort Jackson and then over to the Waving Girl Monument before crossing the River and docking at The Westin Savannah Harbor Marina.  Two of the guests are staying at the Westin while Kim attends the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) Emergency Preparedness Conference.

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Skipper, Kelly, Kim, Tim, and Emma

When the crew and guests were about to board the water taxi to cross the river to find a restaurant to eat at, Kelly noticed Tim E. also waiting in line for the taxi.  The skipper went up to Tim to say hello and before you know it Tim had invited himself to dinner with the group of five.  Well, maybe it was actually the other way around, the skipper invited the group of five to join Tim.  Either way, it was great fun spending time with Tim.

 

 

 

 

 

 Next Week

The crew plans to leave Savannah on Monday and hope to make Myrtle Beach at Barefoot Landing by the weekend.  The skipper said something about an Elk Burger with his name on it at Fuddruckers’s.

Loop On – The water goes on forever and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

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Georgia On My Mind

Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!

I would like to welcome Tomwintexas@….. aboard as a virtual crew member.  Welcome aboard Tom!  Hope you enjoy the adventure.

IMG_0003, near Kings Bay

We may need to get one of these to carry all the virtual crew members.  Cruise ship on ICW near Kings Bay, Georgia

 

Since leaving Jacksonville on Thursday, our crew has found themselves in the midst of a mighty big windstorm.  Seems there is a low pressure area out in the Atlantic that has caused 20 mph north-north east winds hammering the southern seaboard.  This has caused some rough water as the crew has crossed the sounds of Georgia.  In fact, crossing one sound, the crew encountered the biggest waves to date on this adventure.  But more on that later.

Some virtual crew members have asked if there is a way to follow the route more accurately on a map.  I am proud to let you know that there is an app for that.  Not really sure what an app is but the skipper informs me that you will know.  When I was a captain and cruising we did not have all this fancy electronic gizmo’s.  My how times have changed.

IMTA award-winning Avenza PDF Maps iOS App - iPhone and iPad - Get the App. Get the Map.

But back to the app.  In nautical lingo we call them charts not maps.  Go to your app store and search for Avenza PDF Maps.  Download the free app.  Within the app there is a store.  You can go to the in app store and download free charts of the areas the crew is passing thru by putting the chart number in the search window.  Even has a pretty magenta line that shows the travel path through the water.  On travel days, the skipper updates the 2016 travel map link.  The skipper will provide you the chart numbers along with a short summary of the day’s cruise in the travel map link.

Now to catch up on the wanderings of our crew.

IMG_0008, horse on Cumberland Island.JPG

Wild Horse grazing on Cumberland Island

 

As I already mentioned the crew left Jacksonville on Thursday, April 14, 2016.  They did get about an hour late start because the dry cleaners, who promised they would return the items in need of cleaning by Wednesday, failed to return all items.  The cleaners said the late items would arrive Thursday morning.  The Admiral went to pick them up and the items still were missing in action.  The owner made another promise that they will mail the items to the Admiral once the articles arrive.

Once the Admiral returned empty handed, the crew shoved off at 0955 to head to Fernandina Beach.  The trip from Ortega to the Atlantic ICW is about 26 miles.  It was low tide when they left Ortega, so the water was, well, low which made for a slow go in the misty morning.  The water is only 5-7 feet deep in the marked channel until you get to the St Johns River.  With the misty rain it was hard to find and see the markers.

Once the crew found the Fuller-Warren Bridge they had to idle speed thru the 5 Jacksonville downtown Bridges.  Finally, at 1106, the crew passed under the last bridge and could set some speed on the engines.

Downtown JAX

Goodbye Jax

 

 

The crew found their first ICW marker at flashing red 88 at about mile 740 and made a turn to port up Sisters Creek.  As a reminder, the mile markers count down the mileage to Norfolk, Virginia.  So the crew is 740 miles from their destination for this first leg of the journey through Florida and Georgia.

The skipper has started using a crowd sourced program called ‘Active Captain’.  He was not sure how it worked and had trouble getting it to run on the iPad so he did not use the program during the 2015 adventure.  However, Greg has since taught him how to use the program and the skipper has it running on a small android tablet.  While running the program, the ‘Active Captain’ talks to you and warns the skipper when there is a known hazard ahead.

Entrance Fernandina Harbor Marina

Anchors aweigh on 2016 adventure

 

So about 1330, while still in Sisters Creek, the ‘Active Captain’ voice came on and warned of a shoaling hazard in the middle of the channel between green 73 and red 74.  The skipper picked up the tablet and reviewed a few of the comments and noticed that as boaters approached green 73 that the depth went to 5 feet at low tide.  As the crew actually got within 50 yards of green 73 the depth began to change and eventually got to 4.5 feet before returning to 13 feet.  The skipper said he really likes this new set up with ‘Active Captain’.  Thanks Greg for taking the time to show the skipper how to be safer on the water.

At 1600 the crew docked at Fernandina Harbor Marina.  Luckily the dock master put them inside the breakwater just opposite a couple of large 58 foot boats on the outside of the breakwater.  The two boats blocked the wind and the breakwater stopped the wave action.  Those two big boats on the outside were not so lucky.  They rocked and rolled all night in the high winds and waves.

The crew could only stay one night in Fernandina so they made the best of the situation.  First stop was the Fudge Factory for desert and then to the Marina Seafood Restaurant for supper.

Old Bar

Fernandina

 

The Marina Seafood Restaurant Building has a rich history.  Major William B.C. Duryee completed the building in the mid 1880’s.  The building was the first US Customs House in the United States.  The Customs House occupied the building into the early 1900’s.

The building then housed the oldest newspaper (the Florida Mirror) in the state of Florida.  The restaurant also began to share the building with the newspaper in the early 1900’s.  The restaurant was also the first Five Star Restaurant in Northeast Florida.  The skipper reports that the food was delicious.

Friday April 15, 2016

The crew departed from the marina at 0900 with strong winds and worsening conditions projected.  Winds were around 20 mph with gusts 25-30.  At 0935 the crew crossed into Georgia as they crossed the Cumberland Sound.  This section of Georgia Coast is a series of small islands.  In between each Island is an inlet and sound.

Around noon ‘Active Captain’ warned of shoaling ahead at mile 704.  The skipper reviewed the comments and determined that they needed to steer wide of the red markers and favor the green markers as they rounded the approaching curve.  With the boat at green 63, the Admiral targeted green 59A and then moved further to the green side of the channel.  Even with these precautions, the depth sounder began to show 7, 6, 5 and then 4 feet of water.  The props were churning the mud up bad so the skipper took the helm and backed her up.  He moved the boat further outside the green line and still found 4 foot water.  He backed out again, scooted over some more and still could not get past the shoal.  The crew decided to back up to 10 feet of water, drop anchor and wait for the rising tide to give them some more depth.

7-53-54[1]

After dropping the anchor, a big Cat approached and radioed the crew to see if they needed help.  The crew explained their dilemma and the Cat captain responded that he knew the way and said, “follow me.”  The skipper watched as the big Cat continued past green 63 following the shore line.  When the Cat had green 59A off his port side about 9 o’clock he made a hard turn to port and motored past the shoal in 13 feet of water.

Our skipper pulled anchor and executed the same maneuver and also cleared the shoal.  The skipper also updated ‘Active Captain’ to give other boaters more info how to get past this tricky curve at low tide.

While in the Cumberland River a south bound Captain hailed the skipper on the radio and asked if they were headed to Jekyll Sound.  The skipper answered in the affirmative.  The captain of the south bound vessel mentioned that they had just crossed and it was very rough.  He cautioned going into the sound into the wind.  The skipper thanked him for the warning and pressed on.  As the crew got closer to Jekyll Sound the waves began to build.  They were growing to 3 footers and making for an interesting ride.

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Click on the pic above to take a two minute ride on Still Waters II as she enters Jekyll Sound and rides 2-3 foot waves.  The waves continue to build and get larger as the video runs.

The skipper increased speed to get the vessel up on top of the waves to smooth out the ride.  As the south bound captain had warned, the sound was very bad.  The worst our skipper has seen on this adventure.  The bow of Still Waters II is 7 feet out of the water.  It is not a pretty picture when the waves are as high as the bow of the boat.  But Still Waters II has proved her sea going strength and handled the waves much better than the crew.  With a little persistence all was better at 1443 as the crew finally made it to mile 685 and into a narrow creek.

IMG_0018

Still Waters II at anchor in Frederica River

 

At about 1611, the crew took a small side trip up the Frederica River.  The crew dropped anchor across from Fort Frederica National Monument at 1657 and were glad to get some rest.

Saturday April 16, 2016

At 0900 the crew launched the dinghy and tried to get to the dinghy dock at the Fort.  Unfortunately, the current was strong and working with the wind to push the dinghy the wrong direction.  The dinghy finally made it close to shore where the skipper then headed her into the wind and current.  The Admiral took over steering the dinghy while the captain assisted the little motor by paddling.  The crew finally reached the dinghy dock and took a walk around the grounds of the National Monument.  Interesting place.

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The Fort was established by the British on lands claimed by the Spanish.  Then the British claimed that the lands south of the Fort but north of the Spanish Fort at St Augustine were disputed lands.  As expected, the Spanish disputed these claims and went to war to reclaim their land.  The short of it is the Spanish lost and the British took control of what we now call Georgia.

There was also a small town that was started to support the Fort.  John Wesley actually visited and preached at the town and Fort.  But the most interesting character was a crazy lady described below.

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After spending the morning at the Fort, the crew headed back to the mother ship.  The current was still headed in the direction of Still Waters II so the crew just drifted down to her.  Once they got beside her the skipper tried to grab the railings, but the speed of the dingy just about pulled him out of the dingy.  Plan B was quickly devised and the crew turned the dinghy behind the mother ship and managed to fight the current to get back on the stern swim platform.

IMG_0046

The remains of Fort Frederica

 

 

After the dinghy was secured, the crew pulled anchor and went 23 miles north to anchor in the Crescent River.  The crew had anchored here back on November 3, 2015 and found the same peaceful surroundings.

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Sunset on the Crescent River

 

Sunday April 17, 2016

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Tight squeeze between the red and green markers on a Sunday afternoon.

 

The winds started out strong but began to weaken as the day went on.  The cloudy skies also began to break up and the sun finally showed itself for the first time since leaving Jacksonville.  By early afternoon, the skies were clear and the wind was down to a more manageable 15 mph.  The crew had an easy day of cruising and pulled into the Isle of Hope Marina (ICW mile 590) on the edge of Savannah.

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Sunset at Isle of Hope

 

The marina was very nice.  Had loaner cars and bicycles.  The crew used a car and made a Wal-Mart run to restock on a few items.

 

Monday April 18, 2016

Finally, calm seas and sunshine.  Weather report was for only 5-10 mph winds today with a high in the low 70’s.   The crew only planned a short 26 mile cruise today to Hilton Head Island.  They decided to take on fuel before leaving the marina.  However, the fuel dock was full of boats tied up for the night.  About 0930, the fuel dock cleared and the crew maneuvered over to get fuel.

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Big yachts getting worked on at Thunderbolt Marina

 

After fueling, the next 10 miles were a slow go at mostly idle speed due to the number of marinas in the area.  At 1140, the crew crossed the Savannah River and entered South Carolina.

At 1214, the first of many Coast Guard radio calls went out about a 38 year old male who was missing.  Seems he went out kayaking last night and still had not returned.  The Coast Guard was asking people in the area of the Savannah River to keep an eye out and report any sightings of a blue kayak.  Grim reminder that this is not all fun and games.

IMG_0076

Entering Harbor Town Yacht Basin

 

The crew pulled into Harbor Town at the Yacht Basin.  The plan is to spend two nights here and explore Hilton Head Island and prepare for the second leg of this journey through South Carolina in route to Norfolk, Virginia.

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Passage South to Jacksonville

Hello fellow adventurers and virtual crew members!

Eric here reporting on the southbound voyage of Still Waters II.  The crew has travelled 400 miles over the last 6 days and now have pulled into Ortega Landing Marina in Jacksonville, Florida.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

This turned out to be a beautiful sunny day to cruise 67 miles over eight hours.  About mid-day the crew turned into the Osprey Marina to take on fuel.  After a full day of cruising, the crew dropped anchor in the South Santee River (STM 420) for a good night’s rest.

STM 390, Waccamaw River

STM 390, Waccamaw River

Boat Name of the Day – On a 36 foot Carver motor yacht, “My Chelle’

Sunday, November 1, 2015

The crew put in a long day on the water and cruised 85 miles over ten hours.  The crew passed back through Charleston and reminisced docking on the Mega Dock.  As they passed the Marina there were several Mega Yachts on the Mega Dock.

STM 470, People enjoying Charleston Harbor

STM 470, People enjoying Charleston Harbor

There were also four small sailboats circling a motorboat. Looked to be kids learning to sail with a coach in the motorboat giving instructions.

STM 500, South Edisto River

STM 500, South Edisto River

The crew dropped anchor in the South Edisto River (STM 505).

Boat Name of the Day – On a small tug boat, ‘Miss Alignment’

Skipper hopes the owner of the tug also owns a tire store.

Monday, November 2, 2015

The crew was met by a Bald Eagle as they left the anchor spot to get back on the AICW.  They cruised 68 miles over eight hours.  They passed through the town of Beaufort, S. Carolina.

Crew getting the Eagle Eye

Crew getting the Eagle Eye

At the end of the day they were greeted by another Bald Eagle who observed them anchor in the Wright River.  (STM 573)

Bald Eagle eating fish

Bald Eagle eating fish

Boat Name of the Day – No good names today

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

As they were leaving the anchor location the crew was greeted by the third Bald Eagle.

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The crew put in 67 gloomy miles over eight hours.  The sun never broke through the clouds and there was a thick mist that just hung in the air all day.

Following the herd south

Following the herd south

On a brighter note, the mate spotted a big log in the water.  Upon further inspection the log turned out to be a Georgia Manatee.  First one spotted on the southern voyage.

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The dolphins have also started showing back up at most of the inlets that the crew crossed.  The crew always enjoys spotting the dolphins.

The crew dropped anchor in the Crescent River (643).  Only about 100 miles to go to Jacksonville.

Boat Name of the Day – Still no good names today

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The crew was greeted by another Bald Eagle as they weighed anchor and proceeded south.

While cruising through some shallow water the boat started to churn up some fish so the birds settled in behind the wake for a free lunch.  This is a video sequence at the end of the feeding frenzy.  Click on pic to watch the birds.

The crew put in another 67 mile day with little to report on.  They dropped anchor in the Cumberland Sound (710) with about another dozen boats.

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Boat Name of the Day – still no good boat names

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The crew was greeted by restricted visibility due to a heavy fog that was sitting on the Sound.  A couple of boats left the anchorage in the heavy fog.  Our crew waited an additional hour but conditions did not improve much.

Foggy, Foggy Morning

Foggy, Foggy Morning

Per the Coast Guard Navigational Rules, every vessel is supposed to have a ‘Look Out” while navigating the waterways to spot vessels and help avoid collisions.  Normally the helmsmen is also the Look Out.  The mate stayed in the fly bridge and acted as the Look Out while the skipper was keeping an eye out for the navigational aids.  The fog finally started to burn off and was finally gone by 0900.

The crew arrived at the St Johns River at 1124 and made a right turn to head down river to the marina.  The marina is located off the St Johns River on the Ortega River, 26 miles downstream.

Downtown Jacksonville

Downtown Jacksonville

The crew passed downtown Jacksonville and then arrived at a closed railroad bridge that was advertised to be normally open.  The skipper hailed the Bridge Tender and requested a bridge opening.  The Bridge Tender informed the skipper that a southbound train was headed for the bridge and that he would open the bridge after the train crossed.

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So the crew actually got to watch a train cross over one of these railroad bridges.  Another first for the crew.

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The crew then passed through the Fuller-Warren Bridge and headed into the Ortega Landing Marina.  The Coast Guard had an active rescue in progress so they were all over channel 16 on the radio talking with the Captain in distress.  That made hailing the Marina impossible.  While trying to call on the phone, the battery decided to play dead.  The crew had their dock and slip assignment already (B38) so they just went on in to dock.  The skipper found the B dock and then idled down to slip 38.  The fit was tight and the wind and current were strong.  The skipper started to back into the slip and managed to get her backed in, but with no dock hand on the pier the plan was to have the mate jump over to the pier and tie them up.  However, the wind was blowing them off the pier and the skipper could not get the boat over close enough for a safe leap. Luckily a few boaters came down and assisted getting the vessel tied down.

Winter resting spot, B38

Winter resting spot, B38

Ortega Landing will be where the crew winters for 2015/2016.  They have signed a three month slip lease that will expire the first of February with options to extend the stay.

However, they will spend next week cruising with new mystery guests who will arrive on Saturday and fly back to Granbury, Texas on Friday.

Boat name of the Day – ea harp, owners are both music majors, the man graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary.

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Run to Charleston

Hello fellow adventurers and virtual crew members! Eric here reporting on the latest movements of Still Waters II.

Almost as good as the skipper makes

Almost as good as the skipper makes

Our crew departed Savannah, GA on Sunday August 2 at 0950 and made way towards Beaufort, S.C.  The Savannah River is the border between Georgia and South Carolina, so it did not take long for the crew to venture into their third state.  This passage to Beaufort included 2 sounds, 2 bridges, and 48 more miles of rivers bordered by mud and sea grass.

On Monday, August 3, our crew pushed north to the historic town of Charleston, SC.  It was only last November that our crew came to Charleston for a one day seminar on the Great Loop, still with a J.O.B. and no boat.  My how things have changed in the last 6-8 months.  The run to Charleston was 66 miles of rivers interrupted by 5 bridge crossings.

Run to Beaufort Prior to departure, our skipper jumped on the free water taxi and took the round trip on the Savannah River, 3 stops to get back to the beginning.  This allowed the skipper to get some shots of Still Waters II tied up along the river front.

Docked in Savannah

Docked in Savannah

Other than the rain that dogged the crew most of the morning, the trip was uneventful. This coastal area of South Carolina is referred to as the ‘low country’.  A couple of characteristics of the area is the pungent odor which hangs in the air due to the marsh mud that is exposed at low tide.  The second is the endless expanse of marsh grass.  As the crew has moved north, the marsh is beginning to be broken with large live oak trees with huge canopies and hanging Spanish moss.

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Rivers are a little bigger here than back home in Texas

Endless marsh grass

Endless marsh grass

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Starting to see more trees as we move further north

Upon arrival at Beaufort, our crew decided to swing from a mooring ball for the night.  They picked T-3, moved in, the mate snagged the line, and the line was not what they were expecting.  As Gomer Pyle used to say, “Surprise, Surprise, Surprise.” One consistent thing about boating is everything seems to be different. No universal standards.  The skipper quickly looked around the mooring field to see how other boats were tied on while the mate tried to keep the strange mooring line in hand.  The skipper developed a strategy and the mate executed without problems. There is a day dock beside the marina that is free to use, so after a few minutes of rest and allowing time for the marina to dock a few boats that all arrived at the same time, the crew motored over to the day dock and went ashore.

Still Waters II at the day dock

Still Waters II at the day dock

They walked down the little town, looked at some historic homes, and did some window shopping.  They roll up the welcome mat early on a Sunday evening.  They wandered down to the water front park and found a large porch swing and took in the sites.  After a bit, they noticed the weather was changing for the worse and more rain was headed their way, so they got back on board the boat and motored back to the mooring ball for the evening. Run to Charleston Just outside the marina where the crew moored, there is a swing bridge that does not operate from 0700 to 0900 to allow people with a J.O.B. to get to work on time without interruption from the boaters.  The first opening is at 0900, so the crew followed a sailboat through the bridge at the first opening. IMG_0231 Still Waters II followed the sailboat for half a day.  After 35 miles, the sailboat made a U-turn and headed back to Beaufort.  Our crew pressed on to Charleston. The only real excitement came near the end of the trip when they entered Elliot Cut at idle speed.  With the engines in neutral, they were making 9.3 knots just carried by the current though the narrow cut.  With engines in idle, it made control of the vessel a little tricky as they floated towards Charleston. Thanks to Geoff’s training, our skipper was able to steer through bumping the engines rather than being a wheel weanie.  When they popped out into the Ashley River, the marina was right there.  All they had to do was find there docking assignment. They were put on the Mega Dock, so named because of some of the mega yachts tied up here in Charleston.  Makes Still Waters II look like a canoe. Shore Excursions Provisioning seams to always be harder than it should.  The crew needed a few items from the grocery store, so our skipper found a Piggly Wiggly only 2 miles away.  As luck would have it, a condo development is being erected smack dab on top of the old Piggly Wiggly.  A check of the map app, showed a Publix’s only 2 miles further down the road.  So off in search of the new shop.  Upon arrival, the goods were procured and the trip back on the bicycle was started.  Somehow, the 4 mile round trip turned into a 10 mile trip with 4 large bridge crossings.  Good thing the mate sat this trip out.  She would not have been impressed. image The mate took time to go walk down historic Charleston.  She loves the old houses and churches.  She wandered around for several hours in the historic section.  She reported that the young girls were buying loads of stuff at some stores called “Forever 21” and “H&M.” image Last bit of news today is a report of a little boat maintenance by the skipper.  He had been warned of this nasty job and was not looking forward to its eventual completion.  That’s right, time to change out the duckbill check valves.  These little rubber parts just so happen to be in the sewer line from the head to the holding tank.  It just does not get any nastier than that.  A couple of hours latter, the duckbills were changed out and the skipper was in need of a shower. A little history that our skipper must have forgotten. The H.L. Hunley was the very first submarine to sink a warship.  Happened back on February 17, 1864 during the war of northern aggression.  Within the hour she also sank here in the Charleston Harbor killing her 8 crew members. image Interesting enough, but more intriguing is that this was her third sinking.  She initially sank August 29, 1863 during sea trials, killing 5 crew members.  She sank again on October 15, 1863, killing all 8 crew members, including Horace Hunley. image She was found in 1995 and has been raised again in 2000 and is currently in a pool of water as restoration is in progress. Run deep, run silent. The crew hopes to get some good pictures of Ft Sumter tomorrow as they motor north to Georgetown.

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Run to Savannah

Hello fellow adventurers and virtual crew members!

Eric here reporting on the latest movements of Still Waters II.   She and the crew made their way to Savannah, Georgia.  This is the third time to visit the historic city, but the first time to arrive by boat. The journey took two days, including the crew’s first anchoring overnight before arriving in Savannah on Friday, July 31.

Brunswick to Wahoo River to Anchor

Big water in a sound

Big water in a sound

This leg of the journey was 53 miles, 3 sounds, 2 bridges, and many miles of winding Georgia rivers.  Thursday, July 30, saw our crew depart the dock at 0930 and make their way back under the Sydnie Lanier Bridge.

After crossing under the bridge, the crew found themselves in the first of three sounds for the day.  St Simons Sound afforded another lighthouse viewing and look at the Atlantic Ocean.  After crossing the sound, they entered Mackay River for 12 miles.

Lighthouse at St Simons Sound

Lighthouse at St Simons Sound

The river brought them to Buttermilk Sound and then 4 miles up the Little Mud River, 2 miles up the North River, 7 miles up Old Teakettle River, 3 miles in the Creighton Narrows, and finally a mile in the Front River.

Lighthouse at Buttermilk Sound

Lighthouse at Buttermilk Sound

The Front River led them to their third sound of the day, Sapelo Sound.  After crossing the sound is was just a few miles up the Wahoo River to find a place to anchor.  The waterway guide suggested a stand of pine trees on the north shore.

Little orange dot is anchor spot

Little orange dot is anchor spot

The skipper did not sleep well during the night as he had one eye open keeping an eye on the anchor while trying to rest.

Wahoo River to Savannah

With a long 62 miles ahead of them, the crew pulled the anchor and got underway at 0848.  Friday was much the same with many miles of rivers, 3 bridges, and 1 sound.

One interesting spot was at mile 604.  A narrow passage named Hells Gate is known for shoaling problems.  When our crew past over the area, the tide was out and the water was extremely narrow and shallow.  The depth gauge registered a measly 4 feet of water (remember her draft is 3 foot 9 inches), but no bottom was touched and the crew was headed to Savannah.

Another interesting spot on this journey was a little spot called Isle of Hope.  Nice homes in the area and lots of people out enjoying the water.

There were several miles of no wake zones in the Isle of Hope and Thunderbolt which led to some much slower travel than anticipated.  The crew made the final turn onto the Savannah River about 1610, called the marina, and the only dock hand was about to leave for the day.  The marina asked if they would need help docking.  Hello, yes this crew needs help docking, they need all the help they can get.

They arrived at the dock at 1630, and had Still Waters II safely tied up before 1645, and only marginally delayed the dock hand going home.  She is docked along river road with Joe’s Crab Shack off of the bow, and Spanky’s off the stern.

Friday night was hopping with tourist up and down the river front..  About 2300, a young couple thought they would trespass the dock, board the boat, walk across the sundeck, go forward to the bow, and take a few pictures.  Claudia was startled, and when the couple realized the crew was onboard, they jumped off the boat and ran back up the dock and then disappeared into the crowd.  Another sleepless night for the skipper.

The crew spent most of Saturday working small jobs on the boat and taking in the sites of Savannah.  Then they spent a little time geocaching around the Waving Girl sculpture.

One of Savannah’s favorite stories involves the life of Florence Martus (1868 – 1943), who was known well by Savannahians and sailors of the sea as the Waving Girl. The daughter of a sergeant stationed at Fort Pulaski, Florence later moved to a cottage along the river near the entrance of the harbor with her brother George, the Cockspur Island Lighthouse keeper.

As the story goes, life at the remote cottage was lonely for Florence whose closest companion was her devoted collie. At an early age, she developed a close affinity with the passing ships and welcomed each one with a wave of her handkerchief. Sailors began returning her greeting by waving back or with a blast of the ship’s horn. Eventually Florence started greeting the ships arriving in the dark by waving a lantern.

Florence Martus continued her waving tradition for 44 years and it is estimated that she welcomed more than 50,000 ships during her lifetime. There is a lot of unsubstantiated speculation about Florence having fallen in love with a sailor who never returned to Savannah. The facts, however, about why she started and continued the waving tradition for so many years remain a mystery.

In any event, Florence Martus grew into a Savannah legend, known far and wide. On September 27, 1943, the SS Florence Martus, a Liberty ship, was christened in her honor.

The Waving Girl Statue by renowned sculptor Felix De Weldon, the sculptor of the United States Marine Corps Memorial in Arlington, Virginia (also known as the Iwo Jima Memorial,) depicts Florence with her loyal collie.

The Waving Girl Statue is located on the  eastern end of River Street, overlooking the Savannah River from the bluff.

Sunday, our crew will be headed to Charleston, with a stop in Beaufort, South Carolina. The mate has her eyes set on shopping in Charleston.  Seems she needs to get ready for a mystery guest who will be arriving at the end of next week.

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Run to Brunswick, GA

Hello fellow adventurers and virtual crew members!

Eric here reporting on the latest movements of Still Waters II.  With a week long lay over in St. Augustine, she is on the move to Brunswick, Georgia.  Our crew is fond of Georgia after spending two years living in Atlanta from 2011 to 2013.  They are eager to get back to the ‘Peach State.’

To navigate the 88 miles to Brunswick, they plan a three day cruise with stops in Palm Cove Marina located in Jackson Beach, Fernandina Harbor Marina on Amelia Island, and then on to Brunswick.

Voyage to Palm Cove

The crew departed the dock at 1000 and then immediately went under the Lions Bridge.  The bridge claims a height of 25 feet, the cruising guide said 22 feet, and the water level marker said 21 when she slid under due to tides.  Seems the bridge tender was a little nervous though because she stepped outside and watched the vessel pass under.  With an air clearance of 17 feet 6 inches, there was plenty of room to spare.

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A right turn towards the St Augustine inlet gave a pretty view of the Atlantic Ocean off of the bow.  But with the strong currents, there was little site seeing for the skipper as he negotiated the navigational aids in the inlet.

Next obstacle was the Villano Beach Bridge as they left the inlet but entered the headwaters of the Tolomato River.  They stayed in the river for about 16 miles when they then entered the Palm Valley Cut.

One of two boat barns

One of two boat barns

Lift to move boat in and out of the water

Lift to move boat in and out of the water

The waterway guide mentioned strong currents at this bridge that tend to push your boat sideways.  This was a spot on warning.  To compound problems passing through this bridge, there also just happened to be a young lady fishing in a kayak in the middle of the bridge.  She began to paddle out of the way as the crew approached.  As luck would have it, she caught a fish on one of her poles and the fish made a run directly under Still Waters II.  Not sure what pound line was on the pole, but the boat snagged her line and pulled the kayak towards Still Waters II before the line finally broke.  Our skipper does not need these kinds of special challenges while crossing under bridges.

The  rest of the voyage proved uneventful as they motored the cut and admired the homes lining the east side.  After passing under the final bridge of the day, our crew arrived at the Palm Cove Marina and docked at C-Dock on the T head at 1445.

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After taking a short break and cooling off, our crew took a swim in the pool and then headed to Publix to buy a few groceries since the store was only a half mile down the road.  They then finished off the day by listening to a pod cast of a 12 Stone Church sermon.

Voyage to Fernandina

The crew was up and about making ready for the trip to Fernandina.  They left the dock at 1000 and headed north in very calm and glass like water.  The 5 miles along Pablo Creek, before crossing the St John’s River, were eerily calm.  Oh, and did I mention that the chart plotter stopped working just as they got ready to cross the St John’s River.

The skipper had his paper charts out already, but one could tell he was more than a little stressed with the chart plotter incident.  He quickly called Claudia to the helm as he went below to get a different chip for the chart plotter.  Hmmmmm, that one did not seem to work either.  Oh well, guess the crew will just cross on the paper charts.

With a big tug coming to meet them, they moved further to the west in the river.  Problem is they were looking for a right turn up Sisters Creek.  They missed the turn, but quickly recovered when they found red marker 26 which was north of the creek.  They made a U-turn and found Sister Creek on the second try.  After passing under the Sister Creek Bridge, Claudia took the helm again as our skipper found the chart plotter smarts book and tried to trouble shoot the plotter problem.

He called it troubleshooting, I call it Easter egg hunting.  But it seems if you push enough buttons and flip enough pages in the smarts book, the chart plotter will respond and come back to life.

Sister Creek ran for about 5 miles and the joined Sawpit Creek which ran for another 5 miles to the Nassau Sound.

A ‘sound’ refers to a narrow sea or ocean channel between two bodies of land.  In this area, and all the way to Virginia, the crew will cross many sounds.  With the chart plotter working, this crossing was a piece of cake.

On the North East side of the sound, our crew found the navigational aids and entered into the South Amelia River.  They navigated to Kingsley Creek and then into the Amelia River.  At the transition from the South Amelia River to the Kingsley Creek, the waterway guides warn of shoaling.  Well our skipper found some shallow water.  The depth sounder was consistently showing 7 feet of water when suddenly the depth went to 3 feet.  The skipper immediately took the throttles to neutral and there was a small thud sound as the props hit the mud bottom.  Claudia was down below fixing lunch and came up to see what that sound was. They slowly started hunting for some deeper water and found some to starboard.

I overheard the skipper tell his mate that it is days like today that make you understand why the crew has ‘docktails’ once they safely reach port.  You need a shot of something to calm the nerves.

View of downtown Fernandina

View of downtown Fernandina

After reaching Fernandina, the crew went ashore to see the sites. The first stop was the visitor center at the end of the pier.  The lady working the desk had just gotten back from the DFW area visiting her grandkids.  After talking Texas for a few minutes, she gave the crew the skinny on Fernandina, and the crew set off exploring.

The skipper is nicknaming this the fish & chips, fudge, and cream loop.  He seems to be trying to find the best in each category.  To find the best though you have to sample all in each area.  And yes there was both a fudge and ice cream store in town.  The name of the joint is Fantastic Fudge and they have been in business here since 1988.

Sitting outside Fantastic Fudge

Sitting outside Fantastic Fudge

Our crew made the stop at Fantastic Fudge on the way back to the boat.  Seems the mate purchased a drop leaf table for the dining room and the skipper is carrying the table back to the boat.  He claimed he needed to stop to get some energy to make the trip all the way back to the boat.  Likely story, and he is sticking to it.  And yes, the fudge and ice cream were great.

The sun is setting on the Florida adventure

The sun is setting on the Florida adventure

 

Voyage to Brunswick

With a little further to travel today, our crew was up and leaving the dock at 0905.  They have Georgia on the mind.  By 0928, they were entering the Cumberland Sound and into Georgia waters.

The sound played a few mental tricks with our crew though.  They had been warned of this back in their training, but this was the first time they actually saw these strange markers.

Up until now, as they travel north, they have kept red markers to port and green markers to starboard.  The red markers also have a yellow triangle, and the green markers have had a yellow square.  The triangle and square denote the marker as an ICW marker.

Today, as they were crossing the Cumberland Sound, they were actually in a channel from the Atlantic Ocean, so the markers were in the red right returning mode.  Red markers to starboard and green markers to port.

Wild horse left by the Spanish on Cumberland Island

Wild horse left by the Spanish on Cumberland Island

However, the yellow markings stayed the same, so now the green markers had yellow triangles and the red markers had yellow squares.

Tricky marker

Tricky marker

Very tricky and confusing for our skipper.  With a little help from the mate, they managed to cross with no issues.

Interesting place for a channel marker

Interesting place for a channel marker

The next obstacle was crossing the Jekyl Sound.  The markers here took an interesting set of twist and turns as the ICW made its way north.

By days end, the crew entered passed through Jekyl Creek, which was very narrow and shallow.  Five miles of five feet of water makes for a weary skipper.

Narrow and shallow Jekyl Creek

Narrow and shallow Jekyl Creek

After exiting the creek it was an easy cruise over to the Marina for docking.  Once docked, they discovered their electric cord did not reach, so they got to practice docking again and moved over one slip.

Time to take a day of rest before moving on to Savannah.

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