We are leaving St. Augustine this morning and continuing our journey north. Our next destination is Charleston, SC. We do not have to be there until April 9th so we have plenty of time to explore as we head north. Today we will travel into Georgia. We plan on anchoring out somewhere tonight near Cumberland Island. We have reservations on Saturday at Jekyll Island. We are looking forward to spending several days on the hook as we have been in marinas almost the entire trip to date. The dogs will get a chance to try out their new sod. Guess we will see how that goes.
Pat and Charley come down to the docks to give us the Royal send off. After taking the dogs for one last walk, we pull away at 7:30 AM. It is another beautiful day for cruising. We pass the St. Augustine inlet on our starboard and enter the Tolomato River. At 8:00 AM we past Cap’s Restaurant. We had dinner there several nights ago and it was very good. They have a dock for those that would like to come by water. For the next 10 miles we have marsh lands on both sides. The natural state of the shoreline makes for a very enjoyable cruise.
At mile 759 we cross under the Palm Valley Bridge and enter the 10-mile long Palm Valley Cut. Houses line both sides of the cut. At.11:00 AM, we cross under the McCormick Bridge and enter the Jacksonville Beach region. This area is known as “The First Coast”, because it was one of the first settlements. Ponce de Leon landed here in the 1500’s in search of the Fountain of Youth. We are listening to a whale watching boat on the VHF. They have spotted a Great White Shark between the Gulf Stream and Jacksonville Beach. Wow!! At mile 741 we cross the wide St. Johns River which leads to downtown Jacksonville. The St. Johns River stretches for almost 270 miles from its source to the Atlantic Ocean. We will have to save this side trip for another time. We see a huge dry dock facility on our starboard. The ICW now enters Sisters Creek.
We pass thru the Nassau Sound area and enter the Amelia River. Our depth sounder repeatedly sounds. On several occasions it read less than 5 ft. We were just skimming the bottom. On one occasion as our boat was feeling the effects of the bottom from the hull pressure wave, it started pulling to port. We had to fight it to get back in deeper water. Georgia has some of the shallowest areas along the entire ICW.
We will now also have to take into account 6-7 ft. tidal ranges in this area. We are traveling thru this area on a rising tide. I don’t think we would have made it thru some spots at low tide. At 2:30 we arrive at Fernandina Beach. The town looks very interesting. There is a large concrete floating dock right downtown and also anchorages off the docks.
We consider anchoring here but decide to continue on to St. Marys as it is only one hour away. We will have to save Fernandina Beach for another day. We are hoping there will be anchorages available at St. Marys. Just after passing Fernandina City Docks, we see a ginormous cargo container ship headed right towards us.
We inch over as close to shore as possible. The ship is quite impressive. We then enter Cumberland Sound with Cumberland Island off our starboard side. A few minutes later we spot a U.S. Navy Sub coming out of Kings Bay Navy Base. We have just exited the ICW for St. Marys. Our guide book says there is sometimes a delay up to an hour in this area. You are not permitted to transit the area if a nuclear sub is moving thru. We stop for several minutes and watch as it goes by. It is a strange site to see the sub barreling thru the water. We then proceed 6 miles up the St. Mary’s River to the town of St. Marys. We arrive at 4:00 PM and anchor just beyond town. There are about 4 other boats at the anchorage. Daisy and Sebastian are holding out for a dinghy ride into town.
After anchoring, we put Time Out into the water and take the dogs ashore.
They are very relieved that we did not make them use the grass onboard. I guess we will try again tomorrow. Lang’s Seafood Restaurant has a special tonight of all you can eat shrimp. Jeff is very tempted but we have already decided to eat onboard tonight. We enjoy a nice dinner on the aft deck. During dinner a lone dolphin is swimming around the boat, fishing for his dinner also I suppose.
It is a great way to end the evening.
This morning as the sun comes up the seagulls start moving about. They are all flying around the boats looking for food. After wiping the boat down, we take the dinghy into St. Marys to explore the town.
St. Marys is a beautiful seaside village blessed with many historical buildings and homes dating back to the 1800’s.
The historic district has a grove of majestic Southern live oaks. There is a wonderful family park at the river’s edge with a dock for dinghy’s to tie up. St. Marys is the departure point for the Cumberland Queen Ferry which takes visitors to Cumberland Island.
There is also a small submarine museum here in St. Marys. We weigh anchor at 11:00 AM and travel over to Cumberland Island which is only 8 miles away. We anchor just beyond the Sea Camp Ferry dock about 500 feet from the shore. There are two other sail boats at anchor here.
We quickly put Time Out in the water and go ashore. There is a ranger station at Sea Camp.
Cumberland Island is the largest and southernmost of the Georgia Sea Islands. It is approximately 18 miles long and 3 miles wide. It was declared a National Seashore Park in 1972. We look up one of the rangers here named Dennis. He just moved here in January from Chattanooga, TN where he worked at the Chickamauga Battlefield. We say hello and then get our bikes to tour the island. There is one main dirt road down the center of the island which runs for 18 miles. It is lined with palmetto and live oak trees forming a very picturesque canopy.
We ride about five miles on this bumpy road and quickly decide the beach would be much better. We cut over to the beach and ride back to Sea Camp. The beach is almost a mile wide and practically no one is here. We see several wild horses grazing on the beach.
We then ride to the stately ruins of Dungeness which is all that remain of the original estate build by Thomas and Lucy Carnegie in the late 1800’s.
Younger brother and business partner of financier Andrew Carnegie. The house burned in 1959.
There are also many hiking trails on the island as well as campsites for overnight camping. The maximum stay for campers is seven days. There are still several private home sites on the island which have been grandfathered in. There is also a Bed and Breakfast on the island, Greyfield Inn. It is owned and run by Carnegie’s granddaughter.
We take Daisy and Sebastian ashore late in the afternoon. Daisy runs like a maniac chasing seagulls.
She runs almost completely out of site before turning around and running back. She does this until we finally make her stop. I think she would have a heart attack before she would quit chasing the birds. Sebastian is content just sniffing all the strange smells on the beach.
Dinner tonight is again on board IT.
The winds picked up during the night to about 25 mph. Jeff and I were both up several times to make sure we were not dragging anchor and that the dinghy was doing ok tied behind IT. Everything was fine but neither one of us got much sleep. We got a late start this morning. Since we are staying here another day there is no rush. Jeff takes Daisy and Sebastian ashore about 9:00 AM. They will never learn to us the sod at this rate. I guess we are just too soft.
After breakfast we go ashore to do a bike ride. We plan to ride on the beach to the north end of the island (15 miles).
From there you can take the North Cut Road over to The Settlement area where the First African Baptist Church is located. We had ridden ½ way there yesterday on the main road but it was just too bumpy to continue. We arrive at the beach to find a stiff 20 knot headwind. There is a huge channel marker buoy washed up on the beach, red #10.
It probably broke free during one of the severe Atlantic storms that buffet this portion of the Georgia coast line. The strong northeast winds make for very difficult bicycling. Working as hard as we can, we are only averaging 7 mph. It would take two hours to get there at this pace. After riding three miles we decide to save the Church and North End for another trip. We decide instead to turn around and ride to the south end of the island. We are now averaging 20 mph without even pedaling. We ride to the Dungeness Ruins and cut over to visit the Ice House Museum.
This museum shows what life was like on the island back in the early 1900’s. We see many more wild horses. One even has a foal by her side.
We then come back to the boat for some lunch. We return to the Island with Daisy and Sebastian in the afternoon.
The trail to the beach goes thru the campground. The huge Live Oaks with Spanish moss line the path. Pictures and words do not do justice to how beautiful this island is.
Today Daisy does not chase the birds very far. She is still tired from yesterday’s escapade. We have the beach to ourselves.
We return to the boat and pull up the dinghy. We don’t want another sleepless night worrying about it with the winds. We will leave tomorrow morning for Jekyll Island. We could easily stay here at Cumberland Island for several more days. We would highly recommend a visit to this enchanted island. It is a very special place which we would like to come back and visit.
This morning we will be leaving Cumberland Island for a 25 mile trip up to Jekyll Island. The winds have died down and it is flat calm this morning. With this the bugs have come out in full force. The no-seeums are everywhere. You can not walk outside without being eaten up. I guess the high winds over the last few days were a blessing in disguise. We decide not to take the dogs ashore. We are hopeful they will take advantage of the sod on the front deck. They look longingly at the shore.
As we are entering Cumberland Sound we hear Irish Eyes on the VHF. They are about a mile behind us and are just coming into Cumberland Island. We chat with them for a few minutes and give them some information on Cumberland Island.
Once in Cumberland Sound we pass Kings Bay Submarine Base.
The channel is heavily guarded with patrol boats. The United States Navy maintains an extensive nuclear submarine base here. Security has been greatly increased since 9/11. We see a sub at the entrance alongside the docks.
For the next 15 miles the ICW traverses thru a marsh area with Cumberland Island off our starboard side.
Just before reaching St. Andrews Sound, we pass the Brickhill River entrance. This river takes you to the Plum Orchard Plantation on Cumberland Island. The Park Service offers a tour of this mansion on the 2nd and 4th Sunday of each month. Our guide book says that you can anchor directly abeam of this mansion. This is now on our list of things to do when we return.
We have picked a good day for crossing St. Andrews Sound. Our guide book says “this is one of the most dreaded sections of the entire Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway from Norfolk to Miami”. In order to avoid shoals, the boater has to go out into the inlet channel before turning back into the sheltered waters of the ICW. This passage can be quite daunting when the tide and winds oppose each other. Today we have an easy passage as the winds are almost zero.
After crossing St. Andrews Sound, we enter Jekyll Creek. We radio the marina and are advised to look for the guy with the red shirt on the docks and he will direct us to our slip. We are on the face dock so I think we should have an easy docking. Boy am I wrong! The dock master is directing us to a tiny space between two other boats. I don’t think we can fit. Jeff says no problem and inches her in the slip. Once between the two boats, we have only about two feet in front and behind.
Our anchor pulpit is actually overhanging the catamaran in front of us. Jeff did a good job docking. Now I can worry for the next two days as to how we are going to get out of here.
It turns out that the boat in front of us belongs to Tom and Mary whom we met in St. Augustine. They just sold their house and started their cruising several weeks ago. We take the dogs ashore as they are still holding out for land. They did sniff the sod on the front deck during our trip today. Maybe a little progress was made.
We decide to put the bikes ashore and do a quick tour of Jekyll Island this afternoon. The island has about 20 miles of bike paths. We ride up to the historic district which is also home to the Jekyll Island Club Hotel. It is quite an impressive facility.
We meet a couple on a tandem bicycle who just finished the southern Trans America bike route across the U.S. They started in California and finished today at Jekyll Island, a total of over 3000 miles. We then ride over to the beach before heading back to the boat. Jekyll Island is a Cumberland Island which has been invaded by people and developed. It is connected to the mainland by a huge bridge.
As we come back to the boat, a large cruise ship is pulling into the dock.
They also have to fit into a tiny space. We have dinner at the marina restaurant, Sea Jay’s. They have an all you can eat Low Country Boil for $15.95. I think they lost money on Jeff. It was very good.
Tomorrow we will spend the day exploring Jekyll Island by bicycle.
After taking the dogs for their early morning walk, we head out on the bicycles. We decide to ride around the entire island. Jekyll Island is one of the smallest of the Golden Isles. It is only 9 miles long and 1.5 miles wide and is easily covered by bicycle. There are bike paths that run the entire length of the island and also cut thru the island at several places. Our route takes us to the north end of the island. We tour the Horton House Historic Site and the Dubignon Cemetery on this end.
Major William Horton, one of James Oglethorpe’s most trusted British officers, was the first English resident of Jekyll Island. Christopher Poulain DuBignon aquired Jekyll Island in the late 1700’s. His family maintained its home on Jekyll Island for over 100 years until the Civil War. In 1886 Jekyll Island was bought by the Jekyll Island Club. The members of this club read like a who’s who of the late 19th century with members such as Morgan, Vanderbilt, Pulitzer, and Macy. This club was know as the “richest, the most exclusive, and the most inaccessible club in the world” from 1886 to 1942. The club lost much of its popularity between the world wars. The state of Georgia purchased the island in 1947.
After traversing thru the marsh area,
the bike path winds its way along the beach. We make a stop at Driftwood Beach.
Here the beach has eroded right up to the forest and massive tree trunks and root systems are found all along the beach. The island has done a wonderful job with the bike trails. We ride a total of 21 miles almost all on bike paths.
In the afternoon we walk two miles into the Historic district with the dogs. Here there are many cottages built for the Jekyll Island Club along
with the original hunting lodge which is now a very exclusive hotel. The cottages are in the process of being restored to their original grander.
There is also a museum which gives a good history of the area. The dogs are very patient while we tour this area and also make a stop at the local ice cream store.
The dogs are very popular with the other tourist and get their picture taken several times. As we walk the dogs back to the boat along the bike path we spot an alligator in one of the ponds.
He seems to be used to people and does not budge as we take his picture. There are many people out ridding their bicycles along this path.
This afternoon we pack up the bicycles in anticipation of an early morning departure. We need to travel this next section of the ICW during high tide as the water gets very skinny. The tidal range for this area is 7 feet. High tide tomorrow is at 9:00 AM so we plan on leaving around 7:30AM.
We have dinner aboard.
We are up early this morning for our departure. We discuss our departure from the dock and plan our strategy. Jeff decides to leave a stern spring line on so he can pivot the stern out away from the dock. This will keep us from going forward. We have only 3 feet in front and behind us. No room for error. Wouldn’t you know there is no one around on the docks to help us. Jeff manages to get her off the dock without touching anything while I tend to the spring line. We have 6 inches between us and the sail boat behind as we back out. Boy, am I glad that is over. I did not sleep well last night worrying about how we were going to get out of this tight space.
We pull away exactly at 7:30 as planned. Shortly after leaving the docks, we can see the stately Jekyll Island Hotel off in the distance.
The north entrance to Jekyll Creek is very shallow. There are range markers for us to line up with. We are only an hour from high tide here and in one place we are only reading 7 ft. of depth. You would not want to traverse this section at low tide. As we exit Jekyll Creek, we enter St. Simmon Sound and see the town of Brunswick off to our port. We next pass St. Simons Island to our starboard. We hear Tapestry on the VHF. Bill and Stacy now own a 58 ft. Krogen. They previously owned a 48 ft. Krogen North Sea. It is the boat that sold us on the Krogen brand. We hail them on the VHF and learn they are just a few miles in front of us. Maybe we will run into each other somewhere along the way. We now enter the Mackay River.
At 11:00 AM we enter the Mud River. There are range markers to guide us in. We are 4 ft. above low tide right now and show 10 feet on the depth sounder. This area is very shallow at low tide and we want to get thru here before that occurs. We should have no problems today. Harmony, another looper, is just in front of us. Since leaving Jekyll Island we have been traveling thru marsh lands the entire day. We have seen very few other boats.
At 12:00 PM we exit the Mud River and enter the Doboy Sound. We decide to anchor on the Duplin River just north of here. We travel one mile upstream to our anchorage. We anchor in 15 feet between Sapelo and Little Sapelo Island. We have the anchorage to ourselves. Today is a short travel day of only 35 miles. There is a beach ashore. Jeff feels sorry for the dogs and takes them ashore in the dinghy.
So much for the sod. Once ashore the three of them sink in Georgia mud. The dogs are filthy when they return. We hose them off on the back deck. Jeff says no more going ashore here with the dogs.
Sapelo Island is the fourth largest barrier island in the state of Georgia comprising 16,500 acres. It has a very interesting history to it. It was purchased in the 1800’s by Thomas Spalding. He built a home near the southern end called South End House. We can see a large home just thru the marsh and wonder if it is the South End House. Spalding was one of the first planters in Georgia to use the practice of crop rotation. Sapelo Island was purchased in 1911 by Howard Coffin, the founder of Hudson Motors. During his ownership such famous people as Herbert Hoover, Calvin Coolidge, and Charles Lindberg visited the South End House. The island was sold to R.J. Reynolds, Jr. in 1932. In the 1950’s Reynolds opened a summer camp for boys on the island. After Reynolds death, the state of Georgia purchased the island. It is now home to the University of Georgia Marine Institute. The South End House is the institute’s headquarters as well as a vacation home for Georgia’s governors. Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter have frequented the islands home. Although the island is open to the public, no private vessels are allowed to land at the ferry landing. To visit the island, one must take the ferry from Darien to the island. What a shame. We would have liked to be able to go ashore.
Jeff sets up the grill on the front deck. We have grilled steaks for dinner as well as fresh St. Augustine Shrimp. After dinner, we go for a sunset cruise in Time Out. We travel up the Duplin River to the Barn Creek. It is very scenic winding our way thru the marsh. We find an empty dock and the dogs get one last chance to go ashore. We get attacked by the bugs when we stop. We have a full moon tonight.
We do not take the dogs ashore this morning. We put their leashes on them and walk them around the front deck. They refuse to use the sod and are still holding out on us. I am glad no one is around to watch us parading around on the front deck. I am sure it would be quite a sight, us walking around in a circle on the bow telling the dogs to “hurry up”.
We pull up the anchor at 8:45 AM and head back out Duplin River. We pass the Ferry Docks at the entrance to the river. There are several large boats at the docks.
A sign says no private boat dockage. We re-enter Doboy Sound for a short distance before turning into Old Teakettle Creek. We next enter the Creighton Narrows. The banks along this section of the river are heavily wooded. The landscape seems strange after being in marsh for so long. We see many sea birds in this section enjoying the early morning sun. We next enter the Front River before crossing the open waters of Sapelo Sound. There is a good channel to the open sea at this inlet.
We take the dogs for another walk about 11:00 AM. We have both good and bad news about the sod. The good news is that Sebastian did get some use out of the sod today. The bad news is that he did not use it for its intended purpose. He decided that it would make a nice place to take a nap. At least he is using it for something.
We next pass the island of St. Catherines. Since 1974 this island has been owned by the New York Zoological Society. They use it as a sanctuary for rare and endangered species. There are such exotic species as gray zebras, sable antelopes, and hartebeast roaming the fields that were once used for cotton. Public access is not allowed on this island. We have been scanning the shores but have not seen any of the animals on the island.
At 2:30 we turn off the ICW into Bear River. We then take the left fork which is Cane Patch Creek. We travel about a mile up this creek to our anchorage. We have three dolphins fishing around us as we anchor. No one else is around. There is no beach here to take the dogs ashore. We take them once again out to their patch of sod. They just sit on the front deck sunning themselves. Today was another short day of only 42 miles.
We are anchored just off Ossabow Island. In the 1700’s the plantation was used to plant indigo. During the early 1900’s it was used as a hunting preserve. In the 1970’s several artistic and environmental-research communities were formed on the island. The state of Georgia eventually took over management of the island. It is now a Heritage Preserve to be used only for “natural, scientific and cultural purposes based on environmentally sound practices”. You must have special permission to visit the island.
We had an enjoyable evening at anchor last night. The Cane Patch Creek is a very nice anchorage. There was no boat traffic on this branch. It was amazing to watch as the tide went out. At high tide our depth sounder read 13ft and at low, 7 feet. The channel narrowed significantly at low tide due to the slope of the banks. At high tide the river gives the illusion of a very wide avenue. It quickly changes once low tide arrives.
Jeff takes the dogs for a walk about 6:30 AM on the front deck. It has now been almost 36 hours since we last took them ashore. We have success! After a few minutes Sebastian goes over to the grass and uses it for its intended purpose. Daisy is still holding out. Sebastian gets lots of praise and treats. Jeff makes blueberry muffins for breakfast. The birds enjoy them just as much as we do.
Just before pulling up the anchor, Daisy uses the grass also. Wow, two successes in one day! We give her lots of praise and a treat.
We exit Cane Patch Creek at 9:30 AM and enter Buckhead Creek. The ICW next takes us into a stretch of waterway called The Florida Passage. We pass thru Hell’s Gate at 10:00AM with no problems. Our guide book had warned of shoaling in this area. We are at high tide and have plenty of depth. After entering the Vernon River, we spot many wild pigs grazing in the fields to our starboard. At 11:30 AM we are in the Skidaway Narrows and cross under the Skidaway Bridge. We do not need an opening for this bridge as the clearance is 28 ft. We do have to lower our VHF antennas.The Ospreys have made us of almost every day marker for making huge nest.
We see the moms sitting diligently in each of these wild tangles of sticks. They stare at us at eye level as we pass by. It is amazing to be able to look right into the nest. At 2:00 PM we enter the Elba Island Cut which leads to the Savannah River. We traverse the Savannah River just briefly before entering Fields Cut. The Savannah River is the border between Georgia and South Carolina. To reach Savannah you would travel 6 miles up the Savannah River. There is very limited overnight dockage in Savannah and much commercial traffic on the river. Since we have visited Savannah in the past, we decide to bypass this stop.
Entering Fields Cut the current tries to push us out the Savannah River. The current is running about 4 knots out to sea and we also have a 15mph wind. This combination makes for a very tricky entrance into Fields Cut. We had to feather up into the current while exiting into the side channel. This made for a few minutes of white knuckles on my part as I could see our boat being pushed backwards from the entrance to our channel. Jeff does a good job of navigating IT into the cut. Just before exiting Fields Cut we touch bottom for a few seconds. We are now only two hours from low tide and the water is getting skinny again. We bypass two creeks which were possible anchorages and proceed on toward Bull Creek. There is a front coming thru this afternoon and we want to make sure our anchorage has protection from the high winds which are forecasted. We pass Daufuskie Island on our starboard. We see the cruise ship American Glory at the docks.
This is the same cruise ship that was at Jekyll Island while we were there. Once past Daufuskie Island, we turn into Bull Creek. We travel around the first bend and set anchor. This should offer some protection from the winds.
Once at anchor, the winds pick up to over 25 mph. We take the dogs back out on the front deck. Even though they have both peed this morning neither has done #2. It has been almost 48 hours for Daisy. They just gaze out at the shore. I am sure they are wishing to be over there.
We have lots of boat traffic on this creek. We are not sure where everyone is going as the chart shows the creek ending several miles up. We even have two tour boats bring a tour group up the creek this evening. After the front passes, the winds die down. With this the bugs are back in full force. The marsh land is very pretty but it sure does have the bugs.
We take Daisy and Sebastian for a walk one last time before going to bed. Daisy finally does #1 and #2. Sebastian does #1. Now I think we are getting somewhere. They get lots of treats and praise. They are both very proud of themselves. Good job dogs!
We spent yesterday at anchor catching up on chores and relaxed with some free time. We enjoyed the day of rest and not traveling. Jeff set up the stationary trainer for our bicycle and we were both able to get in a good workout. We watched as boats paraded up and down the ICW just outside of Bull Creek. We can see the tops of boats thru the marsh as they go up and down the ICW. We see the Hilton Head Light House off in the distance. This part of the waterway is very heavily traveled. Even Bull Creek where we were anchored has many boats coming and going. There are two tour boats which come down this creek each evening.
I think they are both from Hilton Head and are dolphin tour boats. The dolphins are riding the wake of one boat as they go by. All of the tourists are up on the bow taking pictures. They are getting their moneys’ worth. We have seen the dolphins playing in these creeks each day. It is amazing to me that the dolphins come into these rivers. Daisy got a chance to see one of the dolphins swimming by the boat. She was quite perplexed and did not know what to make of the strange creature.
We put Time Out into the water yesterday and explored the creek. There is a landing several miles upstream. We have seen many boats coming and going from there. The boats appear to have Mexicans onboard. We think they are going to work over in Hilton Head and returning here at night. We give the dogs a break from the sod and take them to shore here.
They are very happy. Daisy runs and plays with excitement. Even though they have used the sod, they hold out for as long as possible. They constantly gaze over at the shore wishing they were there. They much prefer going to shore over using the sod on the boat but at least we know they can use the sod when necessary.
Today we are traveling to Beaufort, SC which is only 35 miles north of here. It should be a fairly easy day of cruising. Sebastian brings his blanket out of the closet this morning. It is a nippy 48 degrees. He wants to know why we left Florida. The sun is out in full force so it should be another good day for cruising.
We pull up the anchor at 8:00 AM. We retrace our steps out into the Cooper River. Soon after this we enter the Calibouge Sound. The winds pick up to a stiff 22 mph breeze with gust up to 26mph. The sound looks like an angry ocean today with 2 to 3 ft. seas. The short choppy wind driven waves break over the bow and splatter the windshield with salt spray. We next pass thru the bustling resort of Hilton Head Island with the many townhouses and marinas lining the waterway.
We enter the Port Royal Sound at 10:00 AM. We again encounter wind gust of 25-30 mph with seas 2-4 feet. We cross over into the Port Royal Shipping Channel. Our markers have now reversed in this waterway. The red markers are now on our starboard side for those returning from the sea.
On the ICW we have had the reds on our port side as the red is on your right as you are returning south. You have to pay attention to your waterway and charts to make sure you are in the charted channel. Once out of the shipping channel the markers revert to the reds being on our port side. Parris Island the Marine Corp Base is on our port side. We are now in the Beaufort River.
As we approach downtown Beaufort, we see No Wake signs.
We have encountered these many times along the ICW. However this time they really mean it. The sign says No Wake $1025.00 Fine or 30 days in jail. We make sure we are at idle speed. We see the marina up ahead. There is only one other boat on the end dock. We call the marina and they tell us a starboard tie just behind the grey trawler. We have an easy docking. The trawler in front of us is huge. We later learn that it used to be owned by Billy Joel. The captain said it is decorated as an Irish pub inside.
We spend the afternoon cleaning the boat as it really got sprayed with salt water on our crossing today. As we are washing the boat, two mallard ducks are walking down the dock.
Daisy is beside herself. She can not believe that these ducks are just marching right by her and she can’t get off the boat to herd them.
We walk into town in the afternoon. There are many people downtown. The town has many shops and restaurants which we will have to explore over the next few days. We walk thru some of the neighborhoods enjoying the southern charm of these old homes. On the way back to the boat we spot an interesting local restaurant named Nippy’s. It turns out that they have an all you can eat oyster bake tonight for $8.00.
That was music to Jeff’s ears. It was an easy decision as to where we would be eating dinner. They even allow dogs in the outside patio. Jeff enjoys two large buckets of oysters. The dogs even get to share in the fun. They both enjoy munching on the shells.
I hope we don’t see the oysters again like we did the the star fish.
Nippy’s seems to be very popular with the locals. We have a leisurely walk thru town on the way back to the boat.
We have enjoyed the last several days at the City Marina in the heart of Beaufort’s downtown historical district. The marina is right on the ICW just south of Lady’s Island Swing Bridge. We are docked on the outside finger pier and have a good view of the Beaufort River.
The marina has been full of boats each night. We have enjoyed watching the boats come in each afternoon and leave early in the mornings. There are several other Loopers here also.
It has taken us several days to learn the correct pronunciation for Beaufort. Beaufort, SC is pronounced Bew-Fert where as Beaufort, NC it is pronounced Bow-Fort. The town folks will quickly correct you if you get the two mixed up. On Saturday morning we went for an early morning bike ride. It was so cold and windy, 38degrees and 25 mph winds, we quickly turned around and went for breakfast at Blackstone’s Café instead. Jeff had a typical southern breakfast of shrimp and grits and pancakes. I had a wonderful shrimp omelet. We borrowed the courtesy car and made a quick trip to the local grocery store to replenish our supplies. We then made a stop at Barbra Jeans for some of their wonderful crab cakes and she-crab soup. We brought these back to the boat to cook later.
Saturday afternoon we enjoyed a walk through town. The Bay Street shopping district has a great assortment of gift shops, restaurants, and art galleries. We then enjoyed a leisurely stroll thru some of the neighborhoods. The town is filled with charming southern antebellum homes all with live oak trees festooned with Spanish moss in the yards. The movies Big Chill and Prince of Tides were filmed here in Beaufort. We found a park in one of the neighborhoods.
Daisy and Sebastian enjoyed playing here.
We enjoy our Barbra Jean’s she-crab soup, shrimp salad, and fresh bagels for dinner. Afterwards we have some homemade key lime pie.
Sebastian gets some unexpected lap time from Abbey, a little girl on the sailboat next door. You just never know where there might be a good lap.
We have a very nice Easter service at the St. Helena Episcopal Church.
The church was built in 1724. The adjacent cemetery contains gravesites from the Civil War forward. During the Civil War, the church was used as a hospital by Federal troops. The church was also used by the British during the Revolution to stable horses.
We enjoy a wonderful Easter brunch at the Beaufort Inn. This bed and breakfast is housed in a 1907 home.
The food was fantastic and we both ate way too much. We enjoyed the afternoon walking through the historic home district and admiring the old southern homes. Many of the homes were spared by Sherman during the Civil War because Beaufort was used as a hospital for Federal troops. Beaufort is a very lovely town and one that we would like to come back to. The warm friendly southern atmosphere and the charm of the old homes make for a very pleasant atmosphere.
We cast away from the dock at 7:30. As we pass by the town waterfront we see the cruise ship, American Glory, at dock. I guess she dropped off the passengers from last week’s trip in Charleston yesterday and has started another week’s trip today with Beaufort as her first stop. As we round the bend, we have another glimpse of the antebellum homes, this time from the waterfront.
It is still in the chilly 40’s this morning. Sebastian is asleep in the pilot house all huddled up in his blanket. We have a Krogen 42’ traveling just in front of us. At 8:00 AM we pass a hug dock with a barge holding bridge building equipment. We have to slow for a no wake zone around this. The Beaufort River transitions into Brickyard Creek before we enter the massive Coosaw River.
At 9:30 we approach the Ashepoo-Coosaw Cutoff. There is one boat ahead of us that has already entered the cutoff. They radio and say they have 7ft. by hugging the green marker. The Krogen 42’, Lowe Key, wants us to go ahead of him.
He will follow our route. We draw 5ft. and both of these boats only dray 3.5 feet. It is low tide so we have to be very careful thru here. We have a set of range markers to guide us out the north end of the cut.
We safely exit the cut and enter the Ashepoo River. We next enter the South Edisto River. This brings us to Watts Cut which then takes us into the North Edisto River. There is quite a bit of boat traffic today.
At 12:45 we pass the Maybanks Shipyard. There is quite a bit of activity going on here. We see one U.S. Army landing craft tied alongside the pier and another one up on dry dock.
It appears to be some sort of repair yard.
We next enter the Stono River. This brings us to the Elliott Cut which connects to the Ashley River. This is a strange man made cut with houses on both sides. It has a very narrow entrance and I double check the charts to make sure we are going the correct way. Once on the Ashley River, we quickly spot the Charleston City Marina which will be our home for the next several weeks.
There is a very long face pier which is called the mega dock. We are instructed to dock at #230 on the outside. There are numbers all along the pier on the concrete pilings. Three dock hands are there to help us tie up. The mega dock is so long the dock boys use golf carts to ride up and down the pier. It is probably 2000 feet long with boats tied on both sides. We have an easy docking as the pier is almost empty today. We will enjoy exploring Charleston over the next few days