Fernandina Beach, FL Tuesday, June 26th
We left St. Augustine yesterday and had a great 64NM trip to the coastal city of Fernandina Beach. The Fernandina Beach City Marina was devastated from hurricanes and storms. More than half of the marina was unusable at mid tide. The dock master put us in the commercial area since we required 50 amp power rather than 30 amp. The marina had a very confused freshwater alligator that followed a manatee in several months ago and just decided to stay. Not a bad spot considering fisherman clean the catch right there and provide a constant food source. This is the area that really changed in scenery to transition more to the marshland, a preview of what the next 140NM will look like. We purposely made this leg longer to position us for the very challenging St. Andrews Sound. Winds and weather will be the determining factor for a go-no go condition in the morning.
The above reminded us of Star Wars!!!
Blue Horizon at dock with sunset settling in.
Fernandina Beach, FL to St. Simons, GA Wednesday, June 27th
We woke up to a beautiful day so it was a relatively easy decision to transit the 36NM waters into Georgia. The route calls for you to go Northwest into the Atlantic Ocean and then a sharp turn to the Northeast in between red marker 32 and green marker 31. These markers are hard to see until you are within a half mile. Amy was vigilant on the binoculars and watching the depth. The other piece of this is that this area goes very quickly from 54ft to 8ft. If you cut the corner too sharp the water becomes less than 3ft and we will run aground. The other option is to traverse inside the sound as many boaters recommend saying its much easier. I made the decision to follow the charted path.
The trip starts with a beautiful view of Cumberland Island National Seashore. We were hoping to see the wild horses as I did when I made this run many years ago on Coastal Pirate 1 – but no luck. This is such a beautiful area we said we will definitely be back.
As we approached the markers we were certain this was our turn …BUT we only saw the red marker – no green marker. I made the decision this had to be the right spot and we made the turn back slowing the boat to a snails pace and watching the depth gauge click up very quickly. After a few rather tense moments, we were back in the safety of deep water and we did a few celebratory high fives! About a mile later, we passed a Coast Guard vessel and Amy started laughing. She told me to look closely… The boat was transporting…. You guessed it…. Green Marker 31! Mystery solved.
Once docked at St. Simons, we unloaded the bikes and rode to the beautiful downtown area and over to the lighthouse. While walking around town, we experienced a true Jimmy Buffett moment… Amy blew out a flip flop! With a crisis such as this, we decided to eat at the marina restaurant instead of going to the downtown areas. It was a good thing we did, as we were walking back to the boat at dusk it was apparent we were going to get a really bad storm. NOAA weather described it as a severe thunderstorm unleashing 60mph winds. I was so thankful we decided to tie up to a slip rather than anchoring out.