FLORIDA TO NIAGARA
691.9 Miles of 2,200
844.6 Gallons of Diesel
0 Locks of 36
691.9 Miles of 2,200
844.6 Gallons of Diesel
0 Locks of 36
The reset button has been pushed. The day started out with low winds and high tide. What more could a boater ask for? The trip past Wilmington Port was eventful again as we passed a massive Maersk container ship bound to the ocean with its goods. Each container is the size of a transport truck, just to give a relational size. She towers over the other ships in the port.
Now that we are back on course Scott contacts a camera guy regarding a lens for the camera to get us by. He has none. So the search is on for a replacement lens. Apparently the problem with the lens is a well known one by the forums and this fella. Canon has messed up on this one and it must be sent back for repair directly.
The trek up the New River is uneventful. Its good depth allows us to pass quickly with the slow down for marinas and structure. We pass several trawlers and sails along the way heading in the same direction. The rain has past as well with today being full sun and very few clouds. A welcome treat after 3 days of rain and the odd thunderstorm.
Passing through Snow’s Cut was easy. It’s narrow channel reminds us of the channels up north where the shore is just out of reach but the channel is wide enough to get through. Not much drama today. Depths are great, weather is great and we are enjoying the journey. We knew about the swing bridge at Surf City being opened only on the hour but we didn’t really believe it was true. So we arrived about 20 minutes too early and had to wait in the channel and go for a cruise back the way we came to waste some time. There is current around the basin by the bridge so the channel before the bridge is much easier with a bit of wind and the current. I make some lunch while we wait.
After that we stop in at New River Marina for the cheapest diesel yet. $1.74 per gallon is the cheapest we have paid. The docks aren’t as bad as suggested. Yes you tie to pillars but that isn’t so bad. It’s the big 40 ft boat that need to slow down while passing by on the ICW. We were rocked pretty badly by one of those boats we have been passing along today’s route. What moronic Captain who drives a boat with a massive wake keeps his speed up passing a marina? Four guys at the marina came running to our boat as soon as they saw that he wasn’t going to slow down. I managed the fender at our widest part of the boat keeping it between the boat and the pillar. The boat must have went up and down 3 feet in that wake. One guy almost fell off the dock trying to keep the boat off. I’m calling these Captains Sea Donkeys these days because the name fits, don’t you think?
Now we make our way to a favourite anchorage, Mile Hammock. It’s about 1.5 miles from New River Marina in a guaranteed 12 foot depth anchorage. The military owns the land and uses this basin for military maneuvers . A boat can be asked to leave day or night but this being the long weekend and the situations in the world we’re guessing it will be fine. There ended up being 9 other boats here with us. No getting to shore here. It’s strictly off limits. I put out Bruce, our trusty beaver. He’s been with us now for about 4 years. Aiden fixed his lantern the last trip and replaced his battery. He works very well and guards the back deck every night. He’s part of the family.
We will spend the rest of the afternoon enjoying the tranquility of this lagoon, researching for a lens, and sipping some bevies. That’s not a bad reset button to push.
The day started out well. We wer up early to get going after sitting for a couple days and ready for the adventure again. The winds were strong. Expectations e\were that they were to pick up. Just outside North Myrtle is an infamous area know as The Rock Pile. I think the Floridians must have named it because it has rocks. The channel is about 2-3 miles long, stright and about 12 foot depth. It’s no biggie even at low tide. Apparently they haven’t seen the North Channel where rocks are a matter of which one you are going to ding your prop on. Lockwood’s Foley has been dredged and is now a straight line. The channel used to go just about to shore due to shoaling at the Inlet. It was 12 feet at 2 hours before low tide. The cruise was an easy one.
We were thinking of staying at the free dock at Provisions in Southport. A quick lunch or dinner restaurant that offers the dock overnight for free just for eating there. We decided to push on past Cape Fear. With the winds coming in the waves were about 6 feet on the Cape. We were going with the wind which makes a huge difference in the comfort and crashing feeling you get if you have to hit those sized waves head on. We passed trawlers and sails. I bet they were wishing they were us, no matter how much fuel consumption we use, as we would get around Cape Fear in about 45 minutes where it will take them at least 2 – 3 hours to get around. Those boats go at 5-10 mph and we do 28 mph. Plan this part of your journey accordingly because if the wind is strong you will be tossed around for a long time in big waves.
After leaving the big bend at Cape Fear we were heading north. I missed the turn to the ICW and Scott who usually reviews the plans didn’t have the time with all the repairs. In all fairness I did have a nice anchor spot all picked out. By the time I realized what had happened we were 12 miles up to Wilmington. a 15 mile cruise. With these winds we decided not to anchor and headed to the City Marina. The winds were way over 40 mph so this was a good choice. It would have been nice to be on the ICW and at a marina but apparently Wilmington was a side trip for us. Oh Well.
On the way today our camera died. Scott has been eyeing a new one that Canon has been promising to bring out for over 6 months with delay after delay. He wasn’t sure that he wanted the next model up because it was more than he needed. After much discussion, a few clicks of the mouse, a big sale and perks, we were in an uber cab heading to buy the new camera. I’ll never see him now. Scott just could not do the rest of this trip without a camera. He does love his photography.
The City Marina doesn’t have much to offer the transient boater but it does have power and water and is a great spot with a town nearby and a city available if needed. We managed to grab the wifi from the USS North Carolina across the water. The USS North Carolina is a battleship that was decommissioned and brought here in 1961. We jumped in the dingy to go and tour her but there are no docking facilities available and with this wind there is no chance of bringing her up to the rock shoreline. So we head back to the boat with very dark clouds that have been rolling in over the past hour and dropping buckets of water every 10 minutes.
As the weather clears into the evening we head to the town where we find a small, well equipped convenience store, bakery, breweries, and shops all along Front Street. It’s a cute town with a big city attitude. I’m glad we made it here. After a boat cooked meal we are heading back up for a flight of brew at the local brewery.
After an hour of “playing” with the new toy we have found out that the lens itself has also got issues. Now he’s disappointed because he cannot use the new camera properly. We only have a wide angle camera on board for the remainder of the journey. Mmmmmm…..
We have talked about staying another night here in Myrtle to install the GFI, fix the anchor visual ties (we use coloured zip ties to designate anchor lengths up to 200 ft), and get in some tourist shopping. It’s Atlantic Bike Weekend here this coming long weekend where 200,000 bikers descend upon Myrtle Beach and area. It’s mostly crotch rockets as they call them with the Harleys and other street bikes mixed in.
Today will be a bit of a work day. The ropes on the dingy davit have been coated in salt water and the mechanisms to drop “Low Voltage” have been stiff. The rain has helped to clean some of that but Scott is going to lube up the pulleys. Along with the anchor grid ties and fixing the GFI that went as well. But first play is in order.
We head across the channel to Barefoot Landing. Another marina directly across from this marina. It’s confusing because the one we stay at is Barefoot Marina and the one across the way is Barefoot Landing. They are not affiliated. By far Barefoot is the best marina going near Myrtle. There is a long dock where the Barefoot Princess takes tourists on a cruise down the ICW. Lots of room for other boats as well. We take Low Voltage and dock her for some shopping in the touristy boardwalk area of Barefoot Landing. It’s a large shopping mall with lagoons, alligators and snakes, boardwalks and tons of shopping and restaurants. Scott picks up some board shorts at Ron Jon’s Surf Shop and I grab some sandals which I forgot at home. It’s an overcast morning so the sun isn’t intense yet and wandering through is cooler. At lunch we stop in at a cute restaurant along one of the lagoons and watch the turtles and 3 foot carp come visit for some food. It was a lazy morning before we head back to chores.
After those mentioned chores we hit the pool. The sun is out and temps are running in the 80’s. The pool proves to be a nice reprieve from the heat which we are still climatizing to. The before dinner swim and hot tub was a welcome exercise break as well. Talking about the going north from here we plan our next few nights at anchor spots. Being this is the Memorial Day Weekend the marinas and waterways will be busy so that will mean slower travel.
The sun had left us and the clouds moved in. The winds picked up as expected so we headed back to the boat for those indoor chores. Scott updated the blog and I start dinner. It’s a dinner and movie date night as the rain falls down on us again. It’s great though because the salty boat keeps getting washed with little effort from us. All the dock lines are clean and the davit is ready.
Tomorrow we are looking at Wilmington, NC. It will be a longer run if we do make it. If not I have a lovely free dock looked at at Southport, NC some 30 miles away.
We decided to run early this morning to beat the impending massive rains coming this way. They are due by the afternoon. I think we were up and out before the shrimp and fishing boats this morning. We passed them in Georgetown Harbour and made our way to the ICW only 5 minutes away.
The course for the day seems like a nice ride. We were against the tide however, as it is just coming down, the ebb is still in our favour. We enter Waccamaw River where we are pleased to find deep water of over 20 feet. It’s a meandering river with little development so the trees are stunning. We pass several fishing boats and early ICW travelers. This river is so familiar. It has the dark waters reminiscent of Northern Ontario with high standing deciduous trees dotted with the odd palm. The tide seems extra high this morning as trees and low branches are in the water. It has been stated that some areas received over 2 inches of rain overnight and smaller rivers have flooded. Today there is an expectation that in the next couple days over 5 inches will fall.
As the travel down, the river we see more development and more small recreational boats. We passed our first tow and barge since leaving the panhandle of Florida. We plan to stay at Barefoot Marina in Myrtle Beach tonight. I’m loving this river a little too much and dreaming of an anchor spot along her many ox bows (small inlets along the rivers). Several folks have done just that as we pass many anchored travelers. We were a little surprised to come around a bend and see a Schooner banked and marooned. We are guessing it was put there by the small resort on the other bank. However, there is a little motorboat tied to her and a fellow is inside. Maybe a liveaboard in a unique ship and setting. Either way it is a very cute sight to see.
As we get closer to Myrtle Beach the houses become very distinctive. Some large homes, mansions actually, are on the high shores. Some with Spanish influence, some with very bright colours and some tiny next to those estate homes. It is obvious the city awaits us. There are several miles that we go slow past the boathouses, boats and structure along the shores as it narrows. Still very wide and deep but our wake is a bit too large to go fast. Closer to our marina the depths do dip to 12-15 feet on the river.
We settle into Barefoot Marina where we are tied down as the rain starts. Ken joins us stating that he and his wife did the loop a couple years ago. He offers some great advice of the waters north. It was nice to meet someone that has done this portion of the loop with so much knowledge and places to rest when needed. Ken offers to take Scott to West Marine to pick up some supplies including the inverter.
Today the sun was not out and the wind was low. The cloud cover is thick so temps are in the high 70’s today, but its morning. I’m sure with the up to 30 mph gusts expected and the rain things will change to high humidity and seemingly higher temps. Upon Scott’s return, inverter in hand, it turns out we have dinner plans. A nice drive around the city and area and dinner with Ken and his wife, Lois. In the meantime we decide to have a dip in the pool available here. It’s the largest salt water pool in South Carolina but the weather isn’t cooperating. The winds picked up and dark clouds were upon us. We did manage to make it to the hot tub just prior to it shutting down with lightening.
Ken and Lois picked us up at the marina entrance and we were off for the tour. Seeing the golf courses, downtown, the beach, and the home of the Masters Mini Putt course. Who knew there was such a following for mini putt? We had dinner at Flynn’s Irish Pub where the food was amazing and the prices were great. The company with our new Gold Looper friends, Ken and Lois, was exceptional. We cannot thank you both enough for the great hospitality, tour and indispensable knowledge of the north loop experience on the Atlantic.
Dewees Island was so much fun. Great shelling, sun, beach and a great anchorage. The only issue was that the wind picked up through the night and the tide runs fast here. Scott was up several times through the night to check the anchor. Not much protection from wind other than the east. We would have loved to stay another night.
We set our sights on Georgetown, SC. The tide was descending as we traveled. There were less homes on the banks of the ICW and significantly more fishing boats and commercial shrimp and fishing boats. I don’t remember passing even 1 recreational boat unless it was a sail or trawler moving north. The rains are threatening as well. Overcast skies with low hanging clouds were an indicator that today rain was coming.
With the inverter not working Scott was baking in the Captain’s seat. We can open the canvas but the chore to close them quickly and possibility of rain warranted not doing so. I use a wet hand towel and put it in the fridge and then put it around his neck to keep him cool. Our boat is not a great one for traveling distance. Searays are made for day tripping and then back to the marina for pampering. It is not set up for the distances, anchoring, and overall running that we use her for, but, she is so pretty.
A navigational issue for those boaters following is that the channel/canal cut prior to Georgetown is shallow. Much more shallow than charts and user comments. Shoaling is a problem. We ran at mid tide and sometimes saw depths of 7.5 feet overall. With a 3.5 foot draft that left 4 feet under our belly. Very unnerving when you don’t know what is lurking below. It is mostly on the last half south side. You will go slow and we recommend at least a mid to high tide depending on your draft. Remember that South Carolina doesn’t use federal monies on the ICW for dredging. At least that is the rumour. Shoaling is a problem. They focus on the open inlets to the ocean to get those majestic shrimp boats out for the desired catch. They remind me of a pirate ship.
Georgetown SC is a cute town. Very historic being the 3rd oldest city in South Carolina and where industry was the focal point for a very long time. I wouldn’t say the waterfront is the most picturesque we’ve seen. It’s more of a fishing town mixed with trying to impress the newcomer with the harbour. The harbour itself has many liveaboards and derelict boats. We couldn’t find a good swing area so we went in front of the old steel factory. Quiet and not so pretty but plenty of swing room and only a 5 minute run to the town dock.
We walked through the town and had our homemade ice cream The homes have that southern charm with the grand pillars. The town offers history with buildings dating back to the mid 1700’s , artisan shops, boutique shopping, restaurants, waterfront harbour walk, and nightlife. It’s a great stop. The only thing to mention is that the waters here are disgusting in this little harbour. It has a yellow overtone with an oily bottom. When the anchor comes up it is covered in a black, oily tar. I suppose it is from the centuries of industrialization that has occurred here in this harbour.
The rain has now come and we are expecting a lot overnight with thunderstorms. So glad the boat is getting washed!
We were up with the sun this morning traveling for the first time on low tide. Our goal is to anchor at an anchorage beside Dewees Island and find that illusive beach day. Leaving the river was an easy out at low tide with the ICW only 5 minutes away. It was interesting to see such a tide swing of 5.5 feet when traveling. Docks and boats are on the hard shore ground waiting for the swing up. It’s a hot, sunny day and our inverter quit. The inverter converts our electric fan to keep Scott cool from the morning east sun while driving north. Drats!
We traveled though some beautiful sights with the vast marshlands now in our rear view mirror. We traveled through Elliot’s Cut which is more like a ditch. The current is strong here and many Sunday boaters are out for the day. It’s a no wake zone anyway and gorgeous homes are here just as we enter Charleston, South Carolina. Charleston is right on the ICW and worth a stop. Not for us as our work schedule is still the priority. Next time round! Charleston has the grand southern homes on the shore with their massive Colonial pillars. They stand majestically amongst other buildings so their massive size is understated.
The UCW channel after Charleston more like a canal with homes on both sides. It is shallow. We were passing through many areas at 6.5 feet at low tide but the majority was 9-10 feet total water height. We were looking at our navigation, depth gauge and our trusty nav alerts to get through. We passed a 50 foot trawler boat that probably had at least an extra foot of draft than us and they made it through. Can’t imagine the conversations going on in that boat tat that time.
We made it to St. Helena’s Sound which is quite small compared to the many open Sounds we have passed through. Our anchorage is directly beside Dewees Island. This island has no cars, a ferry to take locals to and from their homes to several areas. The folks use golf carts to get around the island. We met a nice couple that told us that most people on the island are very eco friendly. There is a staff of 23 that keeps the island going for the residents. Most residents are permanent and not cottagers. This is even a bit too rustic for our taste.
The anchorage is just off the ferry dock and the beach is a 5 minute dingy ride. Today was a low mileage day as we prepped for some time off from driving. The beach on this island is so pristine that we found more intact large shells and conchs on the beach. We found 2 beautiful shells that were very large but upon picking them up we saw they were still occupied so we left them. They had conch in each of them. The beach has so many shoals that we were able to stand in the middle of them way off shore. It is still low tide and just rising. We watch the tide roll in all day and those shoals we stood on disappear.
The anchorage is a great spot and the tide does create some current. The winds are 10 mph out of the SW and the temps are comfortable enough tonight that we may not have to put on the generator for air conditioning. Up until tonight the nights are not falling much below 80F.
At this point we are a bit burnt, showered from the day and finally happy with the exercise we had on the beach. We are ready to go again but know that from this point there is not much opportunity for beach as the ICW starts to turn more inland.
We can’t make these names up! Tooboodoo Creek I’m sure there is a story!
We need a beach day! All work and no play makes for a very boring adventure. Scott started to look at anchor spots and marinas close to the ocean where we could dingy to a beach and enjoy some sun, fun and exercise. We decide on an area near Isle of Palms in South Caroline past Charleston. First we have to there.
We aren’t much into the marina scene so it is tough to decide which anchorage to stay at or which marina we can get our provisions. If you are following us we for advice on great places to stop we sure can tell you all about some great anchorages but when it comes to the marinas or city adventurers that will have to wait until our next time around when we have time to do more stopping.
We left later than usual again at 10:30 from Morningstar Marina to catch the tide of 7 feet when needed. The first thing we noticed was there was much less marshlands, more homes, more boat traffic, and more depth, even at low tide. The sounds are much larger too. The channel meanders through large open spans of water but the boater must follow a winding path through it. Port Royal Sound is very wide with open water and good markers. Be sure to check your winds.
Two cautionary spans of water.
One being the Ashepoo Coosaw cut after Beaufort heading north. Do not attempt this river at anything but mid to high tide. The charts are off in depth as well as Active Captain, Navionics, Waterway Guide. This river we saw depths for large stretches at 8 -9 feet at high tide.
The second is Dawho River. We saw 8-10 feet at almost high tide with a 5.5 tide swing. Do not attempt on anything but a mid to high tide. The north entrance we saw 10 ft depths at high tide.
We have anchored in Toogoodoo Creek prior to Charleston, South Carolina. There is really nothing to do in this anchorage so we played with the camera a bit. Tomorrow we head to Isle of Palms to an anchor spot in search of our illusive beach. The weather is supposed to change by the beginning of the week so we will have to plan accordingly. For now we know a quick thunderstorm for Sunday is a possibility but we’ll be safe and sound in an anchorage by then. The rest of the week is shaping up for more rain but low winds.
Scott checked the sea strainers in the engine and he found several minnows and a live crayfish. We have seen dolphins here, lots of birds and today I was lucky enough to see a very large stingray as we passed through the open waters of one of the sounds. Hurricane Matthew damage is still visible.
Today we know we are going to Savannah, Georgia. Actually a small town outside of Savannah called Thunderbolt. We chose there because the docks in Savannah are either full for the weekend or the damage to the docks from Hurricane Matthew have closed them until the fall. Call ahead and make reservations with the Hyatt, the Westin or one other. All the city docks are gone and closed.
We decided to leave our anchorage at tide rising which meant us waiting until 11:00. We don’t usually run that late in the day but we are approaching 7 foot tides. Running yesterday at low tide was unnerving in the marshlands so we thought better be safe today. It paid off as we ran through the various rivers north.
The first sound we had to pass through was St. Catherine’s Sound. We passed through with no problems. We plan our driving path each night before we go at this point. We don’t know what to expect on the way each day. There are low water areas, high tide changes and slow no wake zones. So we figure out 2-3 spots to stop for each next day.
As we travel to the next big open sound of Sapelo which was another easy pass. It is nice not having too much boating drama. We are hoping to get to Hell Gate on Obbawasa Sound at high tide. That is our main goal today. The winds were calm all day so the open waters of the sounds made crossing quite easy. A big factor is being aware of where you must travel. The buoys are easily spotted but it would be easy to miss one and go aground.
The drama for the day was when I was in the galley making lunch when all of a sudden Scott stops from a good clip instantly and the boat lurches to a stop. I go upstairs to find that a pod of about 15 dolphins with their young are in the middle of the channel and Scott was trying to avoid them by going slightly off channel. The depth changed so drastically that he pulled back on the throttle so that the dolphins would have a better opportunity to move with their young as we idled by.
We finally travel to Obbawasa Sound to find Hell Gate. As we travel across the sound we pass sailboat after sailboat who also waited for the high tide of 7 feet to pass through. Follow the buoys and stay in the channel and all is good. It’s narrow but easily done in the high tide. We read about 9-12 feet total depth. Do not attempt this area without mid to high tide.
We settle into Morningstar Marina in Thunderbolt. We decide to walk to the grocery store about 1 mile away and grab provisions then take Uber back. Uber cost $5.00 one way. The marina is very busy being the weekend. We are put on the end of the fuel dock with power and water. The services are laundry, shower, restrooms. Wifi is available close to the office but not at a slip. No pool as advertised so we are a bit disappointed. The laundry is free and there is 10 cent off per gallon and $25.00 off our overnight fee with BoatUS.
Scott took some pictures of high and low tide while at the marina. There is a 7 feet swing in tide here so the visual is very impressive.
Jacksonville Free dock was an easy turn around and out this morning. We had planned out 3 different anchor spots heading north through Georgia mainly due to the fact that we didn’t know the terrain and how fast we would be able to get along. We did leave Jacksonville as the tide was almost at its lowest. The free dock is on Sister’s Creek. Depths were around 6 feet at low tide and attention to gauges was very important. We did pass several large trawlers with more draft than us going south so they must have had a nerve racking time transiting.
I apologize in advance for this notation in our blog. It will be mostly about traversing this area for the boaters to read. The area is very different than anything we have traveled thus far.
We still see the effects of Hurricane Matthew along the route as this area from St. Augustine to Savannah are the hardest hit by the storm last November.
Heading into the marshlands of north Florida we did see very shallow depths with only about 5 feet under our belly at times. Heading towards Fernandino Beach area on the Amelia River was not a terrible run with a 3.5 foot draft however there were times when we did see less than 7 feet depths on the depth gauge.
Here we left Florida behind and said hello to Georgia.
We passed by Cumberland Inlet and the Island which would have been a great stop to see the history on the island. There are still wild horses that live on the island from when the Spanish settlers released them over 200 years ago. No appearances by the horses for us though. Also a Naval Nuclear Submarine base is here. We didn’t ee any Coast Guard Boats or security so the subs must be deployed. The dock for the sub is massive. There is a picture below and to show reference the building on the end is a storey structure. We were able to open up the throttle a bit through this area and added some distance to the day.After passing St. Mary’s Inlet (an inlet is access to the ocean) area there was significant depth changes. By this time the tide was coming in so the waters were rising. Paying attention to the depth gauge is always warranted but it is more often in these waters. The marshlands open up to vast areas.
At St. Andrew’s Sound the area opens up however a large shoal is in the middle. The boater must head towards the ocean and then come back in again. In our 44 ft Searay she handles the larger waves of about 3 feet very well. The rollers from the ocean are very normal and are more the nuisance than the wave heights. We made it literally around The Sound where the sand on the shore is very white and a lighthouse stands on the top of a cliff.
I would suggest if you need to stop at this point Jekyl Island is the place to do so. A great anchor spot near the marina is available as well as a calm less busy marina awaits you to take in the history of the island. We pushed on though knowing we’ll be back another time. The tides are with us at this time of the day.
Jekyl Creek past the marina should only be attempted at mid to high tide. Also be conscious of your time and look at when you will meet Mud River farther north where you need the high water. We saw 5 foot depths at times and moved slowly toward St Simons Sound. Jekyl Creek meanders through some marshland and unobstructed views of waterways and seagrass.
Now heading north and passing St Simon’s Sound and St Simon’s Island on the Mackay River the tide has given us several feet of water. The tides fluctuate about 5 feet here. We are able to run fairly quickly watching depths and buoys and open water. We know that Mud River has some of the most shallow portions on the ICW and must be transited at a rising to high tide. We decide to push on through this area to keep the high water.
Mud River is very shallow with depths around 9-10 feet at tide rising. We run this stretch a couple hours before high tide. No problems to report at all. It’s tight and attention is warranted.
Our anchorage for the night is just north of Doboy Sound in Duplin River. It’s a beautiful area. Passing the ferry travel approx. .5 miles to a nice anchorage. A nice deep, protected area with lots of bugs.
We drove 91 miles today in 5.5 hours. A good haul through the swamp, I mean, marsh!
We were lucky enough to have an America’s Great Loop Cruiser’s Association (AGLCA) fellow member in the next slip. We met Jacquelyn on the vessel “Elske” and chatted about moving north. They are from Fort Myers here in Florida and heading to Chesapeake Bay for their end destination this year. Next summer the Trent Severn and the north country are on their destination list. We exchanged boat cards (business cards with our names, boat and contact info). Hopefully we will meet up again sometime on our travels. Leaving the St. Augustine Marina we decided to fuel up with diesel not knowing what is available north of here due to the hurricane in November. The marina is a difficult one to maneuver in and out of due to wind and close quarters.
We set out on a hot breezy day. We fit nicely under the Bridge of Lions in St.Augustine. There was some slower driving areas along our route today but they had beautiful homes and boathouses to see. Also, we have noticed that there are fewer dolphins and pelicans as we head north. The buoys are in place now since the dredging has been done. In some places there are more buoys and deeper water So that’s a bonus.
We have set our sights on Jacksonville, FL as a stopover. They have a free dock available for 72 hours. Prior to Jacksonville we approach St. John’s Inlet where we notice currents have picked up. Not a lot for us as we have traveled the Niagara River but for those not used to it it might be unnerving. Upon approaching St. John’s inlet to the ocean we see some large homes and a few more boats. A Coast Guard boat is patrolling as well. The winds have started to pick up by this point.
It was a non eventful boating day and we found the free dock on the ICW. For those that wish to stop here it is NOT the dock right after the causeway with the boat ramp. This dock only has about a 7.5 ft high tide clearance. So at low tide you’ll only have about 3.5 feet under you. If you go further north along the ICW about 2 minutes there is a small inlet where a substantial dock awaits you. The depth of the water is approx. 17 ft at high tide. The tide fluctuates normally around 3 feet here so there is lots of water under your belly. Keep the slow speed manatee zone to your starboard on your way in. We went in about 6 pillars and had lots of depth. The area around is great for dogs but that is about it. This used to be a marina that the city purchased way back and now offers restrooms, walking paths that lead to no where and a great dock. We are thankful for it in these 20 mph easterlies.
We don’t have much to do after wandering around so we work on the next few nights that will be someplace around Jekyl Island, in Georgia.