The forecast for the next few days, or maybe a week, doesn't seem very conducive for travelling. But, as the most recent sleet storm just passed overhead we are safe and toasty below decks still at Lady's Island Marina, Beaufort, SC.
The picture above is from one of our many weather sources we use, Passage Weather, http://www.passageweather.com/ It shows what the GFS weather model believes the wind speed and direction are going to be around 1400 Sunday afternoon. Not always accurate but, when it is aligned with other models, including the reliable out the porthole observation model, it looks spot on to us!
Reading Chris Parkers, Caribbean Weather Center (https://www.mwxc.com/) forecast last night for the Southeast US, he says,
"SUNSET SUN7: 985mb non-Tropical LO with Hurricane (65k+ sustained) wind 33N/74W N@GALE likely even in NC's ICW, stronger offshore / SC backs NNW and begins moderating / GA backs WNW with moderation."
The good news is the Super Bowl get together is in the Cruisers' lounge and Marti Gras is Tuesday. Until then...
Fair Winds & Quiet Anchorages,
Wendy & Jeff
Yesterday (2/2), as we prepared to get underway we were treated to a beautiful morning sunrise. But wait, what about that old sailors limerick of "Red Sky in the Morning...Sailors Take Warning". We knew the front was approaching but it was anticipated to arrive Wednesday. We checked the forecast again, all looked good and we were underway at 0708.
While Jeff was below filling out the log and cleaning up from handling the muddy anchor chain, he noticed Wendy turning on the radar. Their eyes met and one word rang out, "FOG"! How could that be when it was clear just minutes ago?
As Jeff blew fog signals on our air horn and the radar & chart plotter acted as our "Red Tipped White Cane", we slowed. We hoped that we could keep moving some so we could catch the correct tide for Port Royal Sound. Then, magically, as fast as it appeared the fog lifted.
We struggled a bit against the current until we turned towards Beaufort. Then, flying along at almost 6 knots we headed for our next obstacle, Lady's Island Swing Bridge. This bridge carries a great deal of car traffic so it has a restricted opening schedule. We have noticed, over the years, that the schedule tends to change either without notice or the whim of the bridge tender.
We arrived about 10 minutes before its 1300 opening so we turned into the current, idling ahead, and waited. As we passed through the open bridge we hung a tight right turn and entered Factory Creek. After some tight maneuvering we docked, at 1328, at Lady's Island Marina, http://www.ladysislandmarina.com/
A favorite stop of ours and over the years we have seen many changes. Besides new signage and a fresh coat of paint, this visits' surprise also include a cruisers lounge. In the lounge are chairs, tables, microwave, and "The Garden". Yup, a 6' tall hydroponic tower, http://www.towergarden.com/ lit with grow lights, filled with Lettuce, Kale, Swiss Chard, and more.
We are looking foreword to our visit here which has the possibility of being an extended stay as a week of unpredictable weather is ahead.
Fair Wends & Quiet Anchorages,
Jeff & Wendy
After yesterdays visitor we half expected to see our pet on deck this morning. Fortunately neither he, or any telltale signs of his visit, we're around.
We pulled our 60# CQR anchor out of the hard muddy bottom and were underway at 0724. We slipped past Isle of Hope & Thunderbolt making 5 knots on low RPM's with the tide with us. As we approached the Causton Bluff Bascule Bridge the tide shifted against us. We were now under the tidal influence of the Savannah River.
At 1153 we crossed into South Carolina in the stern wake of an 800+ foot container ship. It was making its way to the Port of Savannah and crossed the ICW just as we poked into the river. The ship had been invisible behind the tree lined bluffs that surround the river. Thankfully, we had been watching the ships progress with our AIS and adjusted our speed to stay our of the way.
At 1402, we dropped anchor in Bull Creek. This favorite and well protected anchorage is across from Daufuskie Island. It was shown to us many years ago by friends Jim & Jeanne on Aurora.
Tomorrow, should be our last good traveling day until next week. We plan to stop at Lady's Island Marina to weather out the next cold front.
Fair Winds & Quiet Anchorages,
Jeff & Wendy
We have a new pet!
This morning at 0700, while bringing up the anchor a curious pelican arrived. Most likely looking for a hand out he (or she) swam back & forth at the bow watching us work.
Later, after crossing Sapelo Sound, and while on St. Catherine'sSound, guess who showed up? Yup, our buddy was chasing us. He landed just astern, wagged his tail, and gave us the "I want a fish" look. Then, he was gone.
Thirty minutes later here he comes our Young Brown Pelican, again. This time he must have felt bold and he landed on the lifelines. When Jeff tried to "shoo" him off he just walked his way along the lines.
Finally, after crossing two sounds & the third trouble spot in Ga, Hells Gate, we anchored at 1649 in the Vernon River. Shortly after anchoring guess who did a fly by? This time he liked the idea that we were stopped.
He came aboard like he owned the place, which didn't last long! After finding out there is NO FREE LUNCH aboard Calypso, he left.
Fair Winds & Quiet Anchorages,
Wendy & Jeff
We were up early this chilly morning to leave Brunswick Landing Marina (BLM) by 0700. The weather gods have smiled on us again to give us several days of rain free, sunny, calm weather. So, with the words of Larry the "weather guesser" planted firmly in our minds we are off.
Our stay at BLM has been great! We were surprised to get a wonderful fairwell send off at last nights cruisers get together. Its hard to believe that in all our trips back & forth on the ICW we never stopped here before, especially when so many of the cruisers we know, have. It was fun to hear that Captain Karl & Donna spent a week here, almost in the same slip aboard Heaven Sent. They ducked in to dodge a storm just as we did.
The underway went smoothly and we had the tide in our favor most of the day. We needed to get through the Little Mud River at 1/2 tide or better. This is the second of three trouble (aka Shoal) areas we will transit in Georgia. Our timing couldn't have been better as high tide was at 1302 and we entered the Little Mud at 1230.
With the recent rain the area has had most of the rivers & creeks here have been at or near flood stage for weeks. So, we thought, we shouldn't find any shoal areas, right! Well, even with the benefit of this extra water & high tide we still crossed a 7.5' area at the north end of the river. If we had been here, even at 1/2 tide, Calypso's 5' keel would have stuck in the mud, hard!
We stopped and anchored in the New Teakettle River at 1414. Although we could have pressed on to get the most of this four day weather window, we are well staged to cross both Sapelo & St. Catherine sounds tomorrow.
Oh, what does Larry, a 30 year Marine Corp Weather Forecaster say?
How do you know when a weatherman is lying, his lips are moving...;)
Fair winds & Quiet Anchorages,
Jeff & Wendy
Life moves at its own slow pace at the Brunswick Landing Marina (http://www.brunswicklandingmarina.com/)and it's hard to believe that we have been here over a week. The facilities and staff at this very well laid out, cruiser friendly, hurricane hole make it hard to leave. It could also be the $1.49/gallon diesel, or the $1.50/foot transient dockage that includes free wifi, free laundry, and free happy hour three times a week, Brilliant! There are also cruisers parties, yoga, Spanish lessons, movie nights, and more. There is something for everyone here.
As today's temperature hangs in the mid-sixties & Jeff finishes washing down topside, it's hard to believe that only a few days ago it was 28 degrees, here. As we huddled under a blanket with the heater going enjoying the warmth of a cup of tea we wondered if we left St. Augustine too early. Maybe, but then again there was snow in Gainesville, Fl. We still remember when we lived in Jacksonville many years ago and it snowed one Easter Morning. We are prepared for more cold weather as we head north again, possibly as early as this weekend. It is an El Nino year and it is still January!
So, we are thankful for this break in the weather and do some exploring. Immediately it is easy to see that "Old Town" Brunswick is very similar to "Old Town" Savannah. The reason lies with General James Oglethorpe who was the colonies founder. In 1771, the City of Brunswick was laid out according to the "Oglethorpe Plan". This plan as it's known is designed to feature the towns 14 squares in a grid like plan. These squares, both large and small, are all over Old Town and created permanent, park-like common areas every few blocks. Well, if that verbiage sounds like it came from a historical marker, it did, but it summarizes the layout of the town perfectly.
The waterfront property where the marina stands today has its own historical significance. In 1789, long before tug boats and steam engines, President George Washington designated the Port of Brunswick one of five original ports of entry for America. During World War II the port and accompanying shipyard employed 16,000 workers and produced ninety-nine Liberty Ships. A Liberty Ship Memorial seems all that is left however, as you walk along the seawall at low tide you can still see the remains from the old wharfs half buried in the mud. Today the port is not as busy as you might think but car carriers and container ships still transit St. Simons Sound requiring a sharp lookout or at least AIS.
The property where a shipyard once stood has been transformed into the Mary Ross Waterfront Park. Three times a week the Old Town Farmers Market hosts craftsmen and farmers selling the fruit of their efforts.
Walking around Old Town we found a contrast of thriving small shops and cafe's combined with empty buildings, some with renovation in progress. With all this going on you don't have to go far to find the smells of a good meal. For us we were drawn into the Island Jerk Shack. Here, for $6, Wendy got their signature dish of Jerk Chicken. Jeff had the Curry Goat and both were served with plantains, steamed cabbage, and peas & rice. No need for dinner that night!
On Sunday, with banks and government buildings closed, this area is a ghost town but it gave us a great opportunity to take a self-guided walking tour after church. We started at the Old City Hall building, circa 1889. This massive building has a great deal of detail including gargoyles & angels, appropriate for a City Hall Building.
We explored the older historic residential area and stumbled across the Lovers' Tree. According to local legend, this enormous 900 year old oak served as a meeting place for those who would meet and kiss their true love under its branches.
Fair Winds and Quiet Anchorages,
Jeff & Wendy