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The Lady Lady
Amelia Island Fernandina Beach FL
Jim & Dede Rain & Windy
12/12/2011

Well well well, we are in Sunny Florida!! Well we are in Florida but it's NOT sunny! It is overcast and raining--Ho yea and the wind is blowing a gale -20-30 knots'! Our trip across from Cumberland Island was enjoyable and very short --only 10 miles. So when we arrived here on Saturday morning we had all day to bike around and visit the town. It was sunny but cool (as usual) about 65 degrees. We made it across to the beach on the Atlantic, rode up and down the old town streets with Victorian era style homes. The weather began to turn a little nasty -sprinkles and building wind. They almost cancelled the Christmas Parade -but the rain held off and the town came to life with school band and dancing schools parading along with fire trucks and police cars blazing horns and sirens announcing Santa's arrival. We enjoyed the show -both on the street and sidewalks--did a bit of shopping -drank coffee ate pastries and ice cream etc etc.... . . Sunday morning the weather had gone downhill even more and my questioning about going to church or getting underway were answered with the Lord sending a 30 kt 'breeze' to say 'church guys'!! So church we did -by chance the service we attended at St Peters included breakfast!! He does take care of us!!
The weather did not improve and we opted to stay another day. My bike developed two flat tires so off I went on Dede's bike to Wal-Mart for a patch kit. Bought some stuff called "Slime' that patches the tire and adds air!! In only three hours I had both bikes up and running--so we did a little more touring of the town--and a lot more shopping. Today -Monday -the weather has not gotten any better so we are still here--bikes ready for riding -but the rain is coming down in buckets and the wind is still 20 out of the NE.. Too nasty to even go down the dock -however seeing as we are here and the boat needs work to lay here up before Thursday -we took the day to 'clean and store' for our winter layup. We expect that in the next three day we will somehow get the last 47 miles of our journey down to Jacksonville in time to tie up and catch a 7:05 pm flight home!!!! IF we get going tomorrow all is well--if we get going on Wednesday it's close---If we go on Thursday morning we will need to be underway at dawn and pray for a fair wind and tide.. However the weather forecast IS for the wind and rain to abate tonight -slow clearing Tues/Wed/ Thurs and then and typical Florida weather 68-75 bright and sunny 5-10 Kt s sw winds through to Christmas! Please note we leave Florida just in time to avoid getting a sunburn!!

Dede's take is a bit different than mine:
Well, this is morning #4...and weather is finally clearing-at least enough so we can get underway. (10-15 cloudy srill coolk and damp) Amelia Island is Florida's Golden Isle which the French visited, the Spanish developed, the English named and the Americans "tamed.: It is the only US location to have been under eight different flags - French, Spanish, English, Spanish, Patriots, Green Cross of Florida, Mexican Rebel Flag, United States, and Confederate and back to the US! As we approached Amelia Isle, the Spanish influence is immediately obvious in its' architecture. Fernandina's historic district retains the evidence of the greatest period of prosperity. In the early 20th century the shrimping industry was found here, in the 30s, two pulp mills arrived, w/the trains going back and forth near the waterfront. The Omni Armelia Island Plantation and the Ritz-Carlton have tried to restore it as a resort. The small town reminds me of Wickford: with 3 full days of rain, cold and nasty winds, we got a chance to stroll it frequently!! Some of the commerce buildings look run-down; and the "historic" home section (we did a walking tour) are not as grandeur as the others we visited in SC and GA. As has been our experience, we visited some of the very old churches: the Episcopal Church from the early 1800s, w/their gorgeous pipe organ. I was invited to view their sacasatry windows - called the "cherub" windows, There design is one of multiple cherub faces, in a bright yellow/mustard color; their significance is the representation of the devastation of the yellow fever plaque! We also visited the Methodist Church-again, early 1800s-and were treated to the ringing of the Christmas Hand Bells. We are underway this morning to Jacksonville - where we plan to leave our boat and head home for the holidays. My bathing suits have NOT been worn, and my shorts have seen the "light of day" but twice! Friends have told us, to experience warm weather; the untold rule is to be in Vero Beach by Thanksgiving!! Would have LOVED warmer weather MORE of the time, but I would not have missed our experiences w/the places and people for all the money!! What an incredible journey! Stay tuned for our "lay-up" in Ortega River Yacht Club, Jacksonville...

The Dungenss Estate
Photo by Jim & Dede
12/09/2011, Cumberland Island

Just had to post this one

12/10/2011 | Donna
so, this is not a restored home?
Paradise -unspoiled
Dede
12/09/2011, Cumberland Natiuonal Park Island

Jim did a nice job relaying our experience but he failed to tell you about MY missing a red buoy and heading for a 4-foot shoal!! I insisted I simply was making a wide arc turn at the corner going from red to red; however, he is insisting that I missed the buoy altogether!! Since the jury is out on that one, we won't mention anymore except that we arr'd in Cumberland Island River safely!! For thousands of years people have lived on Cumberland Island, but never in such numbers as to permanently alter the character of the landscape. Spanish soldiers and missionaries were here in the mid-1500's. No signs remain of the forts built to protect British interests. Revolutionary war hero Gen. Nathaniel Greene purchased land here in 1783; his widowed wife constructed a 4-story tabby home she named "Dungeness" in the 1890's. The settlement was established for black workers at the north end of the island. The 1st African Baptist church was established in 1893, is still standing, and was the site of the wedding of John Kennedy Jr and Carolyn Bessette. The steel magnates...the Carnegie family...began building on the island. For decades, housing developments, marinas, etc, etc., were attempting to be planned, but in 1971, the Carnegie family (who now owned most of the island) donated their land to the National Park Foundation. Therefore, the island remains very much unspoiled and natural. The few remaining land owners have contracts that will ultimately transfer their property to the Foundation. In Mrs. Carnegie's will, she specified that her horses, upon her death, were to remain on the island and roam free!! Hence, there are presently over 200 horses running free, along w/wild hogs, turkey vulchers, wild turkeys, deer, and today we saw an armadillo!! Jim and I tried to bike the island yesterday, but the "roads" are sand and difficult. Today, we took an 8-hour tour w/the park ranger...well worth it, and every minute was filled w/sights and stories! This is the last of Georgia's barrier islands, and has no man-made or tidal bridges linking it to the mainland. The only access to the island is by boat...and what an experience it has been for us to visit!! Tomorrow we are off for ??Amelia Island, Florida!!...Stay tuned...

Jekyll to Cumberland
Jim
12/09/2011

Photo crossing St Andrew Souind (Cumberland River Ahead)
Timing the trip from Jekyll Island was a tough call-from several sources of advice we had conflicting inputs. Some said always go into Cumberland's winding shallow channel at mid tide rising so when you run aground you can wait to float off. Others advised going at dead low tide so you could see the shallow banks on the side -and if you went aground you would soon float off. Well both sound very good but the time of the tide did not cooperate. Low tide was at noon on Wednesday Dec 7th. We really didn't want to miss the day waiting for the tide--so I opted to get going two hours after the 5:30 am high tide! I also had to decide about running directly out into the main channel which has direct ocean exposure or taking the inside creek route. Well with the tide choice made the logic was ocean channel -it all worked perfect. The only major issue was a miss charted set of buoys that you had to follow -that on the chart lead directly through a swamp marsh island. I attempted to use common sense and stay in the deep water on the chart and ignore the obviously miss placed buoys. After several depth sounder readings of 5'4' (aground in mud) I opted to follow the buoys that on the chart seemed to go across the island--in reality it was the new channel and the water there was deep 20 some feet. WE made it around the rest of the creeks and rivers to the Cumberland Island anchorage and dropped anchor in 20' feet of water at 11 am. Off to visit the island==Dede's turn.

Jekyll Island & Strom
Jim & Dede
12/07/2011

What d delightful island! Yesterday we left St Simon to go up to Brunswick for fuel and a short visit, then head over to Jekyll Island. We timed our departure to allow us to arrive in the creek just after low tide so we could ride the flood current and if we grounded (the creek is known to be very shoaled --everyone grounds some place) we could wait a few minutes and the incoming tide would lift us off (8 foot of tide can get you off a high and dry grounding). As we departed Morningstar Marina at 10 am it was warm and sunny---when we went 5 miles south toward St Simon Sound the fog came rolling in like a cotton ball. Haven't seen that kind of fog since Long Island in September. With zero visibility it did not seem real prudent to head up a VERY busy shipping channel into Brunswick -just to look around. Brunswick is the largest car import port for MB and KIA cars in the East Coast--ie, three or four car carriers a day!!! With that sort of traffic we opted to heads directly to Jekyll Creek. We were only making 2-3 knots in the fog so our timing to get into the ditch was still pretty good. We avoided any collisions with shipping and arrived in Jekyll Creek just as the fog lifted. Had a safe trip down to Jekyll Harbor Marina and tied up at 1 pm. Stay tuned for Dede's take: Jekyll Island: The island's present day prominence as a beloved vacation destination was prefaced by an era of unrivaled status and prestige. Beginning in 1886 and continuing for over four gilded decades, the island was an exclusive domain of the renowned Jekyll Island Club...the winter retreat for some of America's most elite families. Club members included men such as JP Morgan, Joseph Pulitzer, Wm Vanderbilt and Marshall Field to name a few - they built their "winter cottages" like the mansions in Newport. The Club was where they met every nite for dinner, having brought chefs from NY to cook. History was made on Jekyll Island - in 1910 the framework for the Federal Reserve Act was drafted in the clubhouse, and in 1915 the 1st transcontinental phone call was placed from the island by Theodore Vail, the then president of AT&T!! (it has been said that, when these club members were together, 1/6 of all the money in the world was together!!)..
We enjoyed 2 days on this beautiful, small island. We, obviously, did the "touristy" trolley tour - well worth it!!, and visited the Rockefellers "cottage." We went to Faith Chapel, an interdenominational chapel completed for the club members. There were carved animal heads on the interior roof trusses and gargoyles on the exterior steeple. The chapel also has a magnificent signed Tiffany stained glass window!! We took advantage of the beautiful restaurants for our meals (superb!!). We biked about 10-miles arnd the island...pretty much the best way to see everything. A nasty storm came in this afternoon - winds gusting up to 50kts and temperature dropped from 80 to 50 degrees - a new cold front for the next few days!! We arrived back at Lady just after the rain associated with the storm had subsided. We still got wet riding bikes back. Lady was not riding well with such a strong wind on her starboard beam. Fortunately two of Gods little blessings came together. We tied up with the port shroud about a foot ahead of the 20' steel piling and Dede placed a extra fender between the gunwale and the piling. The gusting wind and steady 25 kt wind had the port beam pinned to the dock -fenders compressed hard against the dock and Dede's well placed fender between the gunwale and that piling. Without that fender we would have done some serious damage. If we had not sprung the boat exactly as we did we would have lost the mast! The boat was VERY uncomfortable for me (Dede)w/those winds so I chose to ride most of it out in the marina's restaurant sipping on coke!! As has been our experience, we met a great man who is here teaching w/the customs department. Spent evening exchanging tales, and exchanging numbers!! Southerners are REALLY hospitable!!
Back aboard, wind has quieted down SOME, see the photo above-and we hope to set sail tomorrow am for Cumberland Island. Stay tuned...

12/09/2011 | Jim Schweikart
Hope to see some Christmas decorations on your boat soon. Decorating your boat is serious in Florida.
Typical Anchorage in Georga ICW
Jim edited by Dede
12/05/2011

Got underway from the beautiful anchorage pictured above at Ft Frederica on St Simon Island. We have discussed many such beautiful creeks -but this is the first one we had the dingy down so I could take pictures. WE then wandered down stream to the St Simon's Morningstar Marina for the day. Off loaded the bikes and spent from 11:00 until 17:00 (5pm) looking and seeing the island. Did a bit of shopping and dining on Main Street -I took a nap on a park bench by the sound and Dede did a little more shopping!! Tomorrow probably head up stream into Brunswick SC to visit--not sure if that will be the evening's anchorage yet--depends on time of arrival and what we discover!

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