Mandolin-at-Large

Vessel Name: Mandolin
Vessel Make/Model: Bayfield
Hailing Port: Rock Creek, MD
Crew: Tod and Anne Herrick
About: Retired from human service occupations now living a human exisistance!
12 December 2017 | Amelia Island
12 December 2017 | Fernandina Beach
10 December 2017 | St. Simon's Island
08 December 2017 | St. Simons Island, GA
06 December 2017 | Wahoo River
04 December 2017 | Vernon River
03 December 2017 | Vernon River, south of Savannah
02 December 2017 | South of Hilton Head
29 November 2017 | Beaufort, SC
28 November 2017 | Morgan Island, SC
27 November 2017 | South of Charleston
26 November 2017 | Price Creek
22 November 2017 | Pawleys Island, SC
21 November 2017 | Waccamaw River
20 November 2017 | Little River Inlet
20 November 2017 | Holden Beach
17 November 2017 | Southport
16 November 2017 | Southport
13 November 2017 | Wrightsville Beach
Recent Blog Posts
12 December 2017 | Amelia Island

A Wind is gonna blow...

Today there was wind! So much wind we couldn't get off the boat! The current kept us facing one way and the wind veered us another to the point that we were almost broadside to the wind! Then there were the waves. Not a whole lot of fetch but strong enough. The winds were 20k gusting to 30k but they [...]

12 December 2017 | Fernandina Beach

South of the Border

We enjoyed our time at St. Simon's Island. The island is very pretty with classically styled homes, not the 6,000sq.ft. showpieces in Bald Head Island or Myrtle Beach. The streets were lined with mature live oaks with Spanish Moss throughout. The village section was nice with a public pier that went [...]

10 December 2017 | St. Simon's Island

Timing is Everything when you Partay!

We ducked in to Morningstar Marina to get out of the cold rain for that major cold front that slammed it's way down the east coast. That was a good plan. What made it better was that we unknowingly choose the weekend of their Christmas party which is open to their customers, regular and transient. So [...]

08 December 2017 | St. Simons Island, GA

A Dark and Stormy Night

It's a dark and stormy night out there! That means that there must be some dark and stormy's in here and I trust there will!

07 December 2017 | St. Simon's

It's a hoary night (and day) or you promised it was going to be warm!

It blew like stink last night. We had ducked in to the Wahoo River and found it to be an amazing Anchorage! The anchor stuck instantly as if it were in cement and we were secure in our cozy spot. Two other sailboats end up joining us, both single handers from what we could see. They waved a cheery hello [...]

06 December 2017 | Wahoo River

We are a bunch of Wahoos!

We left this morning about 8am. It was cloudy and dreary out but no fog! The fog was so strong yesterday that we had to stay put. I think that the whole flight wing of pelicans were grounded as well as we didn't see many. There is an army air Base near the town of Montgomery, Ga and those flight crews [...]

A Wind is gonna blow...

12 December 2017 | Amelia Island
Tod / sunny and warm
Today there was wind! So much wind we couldn't get off the boat! The current kept us facing one way and the wind veered us another to the point that we were almost broadside to the wind! Then there were the waves. Not a whole lot of fetch but strong enough. The winds were 20k gusting to 30k but they felt stronger. The best part of today? It was 71 degrees and sunny! Yeah!

So we hung around and did some planning. We have 11 days to get to St. Augustine which is only 63 miles away. That's 2 easy days. We talked about renting bikes for several days to explore Amelia island; there is a fort at the North end and lots of bike trails. Maybe we will come across a gator or two? Good way to get to what is perported to be Florida's best ocean tiki bar!

Another thing to do is to backtrack a little into Georgia and anchor off Cumberland Island and dinghy in to walk the nature preserve. Very pretty island with feral horses initially brought there by Carnegie. That is weather dependent and we might have a bit of unsettled weather next week. But, hey, we have options!

So life is good!

South of the Border

12 December 2017 | Fernandina Beach
Tod / sunny and warm
We enjoyed our time at St. Simon's Island. The island is very pretty with classically styled homes, not the 6,000sq.ft. showpieces in Bald Head Island or Myrtle Beach. The streets were lined with mature live oaks with Spanish Moss throughout. The village section was nice with a public pier that went way out into the inlet and a pretty little lighthouse.

Morningstar Marina took good care our us; muffins and the paper each morning, a free courtesy car to shop with and friendly, compitent staff. While their Marina suffered some damage from the hurricanes, they were functioning quite well.

We decided to take the ICW route to Fernandina Beach as going outside would add 10 miles. Both inlets were very usable but we felt rushed to get to Florida due to coming weather. So we transited Jekyll Creek shortly after low tide and boy did it get low! At one point I saw 4.6' and the boat felt a bit sluggish. More power and we plowed our way through the soft mud. But we made it without having to stop and wait. Our route next took us through St. Andrews Sound and around Cumberland Island, which is a wildlife management area with wild horses. As inviting as it looked, we were not allowed to stop and explore but it's a beautiful place!

Back in the low country, traversing the reeds as you wind around in a lazy River you next come upon the US Navy sub service base. The picture on this blog is of the degaussing facility where they demagnetize the subs. You pass close by but if there was a sub present you would be under escort.

It was then a short distance to Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach where we picked up a mooring ball. The marina suffered catastrophic damage to is fuel dock during Matthew and it is unsafe but the mooring balls are ok and some of their docks. They are slowly repairing the damage. Very slowly.

We dinghied in to shore to pay our money for the night. Our dinghy motor, which hasn't given me a luck of trouble on this trip, decided to fight me. It was a massive fight but I won and now it runs in submission. Hah!

We had a drink and a yucky smoked fish dip appetizer as we watched the sun go down from the empty bar. We then dinghied back and cooked up some pasta for dinner. It wasn't long before we got the rack.

It was a beautiful night with the factories all lot up and lights from the surrounding area. There is a constant but not intrusive rumble from the paper Mills and the trains hooted occasionally. It was not unpleasant; we slept well.

Timing is Everything when you Partay!

10 December 2017 | St. Simon's Island
Tod / sunny and cold
We ducked in to Morningstar Marina to get out of the cold rain for that major cold front that slammed it's way down the east coast. That was a good plan. What made it better was that we unknowingly choose the weekend of their Christmas party which is open to their customers, regular and transient. So there we were in this open courtyard with cold wind whistling through surrounded by gas heaters and a big gas grill.

The marina served up a ton of roasted Georgia oysters which were fabulous! Nice and sweet! They kept shoveling the roasted oysters on the shucking tables as we stood around opening them up and devouring them. Everyone was to busy to talk!
Then there was the buffet of barbecued pork, chicken, corn potatoes and shrimp, plus all the fixings. There were kegs of beer, free flowing bottles of wine and a raffle where they gave away fuel cards, Marina bling, Yeti coolers, and the proceeds of the raffle! It was a first rate party and, despite the cold temps, was well attended. It was a fun event and we stayed until the end, talking to other cruisers and locals alike.

We slept well last night. We plan on another night here as the temps are supposed to do down into the 30's before heading further south tomorrow. We need to grocery shop and I'd like to see a bit of the island.

A Dark and Stormy Night

08 December 2017 | St. Simons Island, GA
Tod / Storming
It's a dark and stormy night out there! That means that there must be some dark and stormy's in here and I trust there will!

We had a cozy night last night. The wind howled and waves slapped. It was hard to tell which was having more of an effect on the boat; the strong current or the winds! Despite all of that, our anchor did a mighty job of holding us in place!

Anne made up her salmon soup and it was the best! We snuggled up and watched the movie Pain and Gain, a very silly movie but all a true story! It's proof that the stupid do get caught and end up in jail. It was hard to believe that people would do what they did but sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. We kept threatening to turn it off but we were captivated by it like what else are they going to do! It was one of those videos you get for $3.95 at Walmart. The real people were portrayed against the actors in the end. Wow.

We fell into our bunks scratching our heads from the movie... This morning came cloudy, rainy and raw. We got going slowly, ate a nice breakfast and then made our way around Lanier Island to our marina where we had a reservation for the night. Lanier was a poet who lived locally and was renown for his work. The island was named after him, the large modern design bridge over the Brunswick River was named after him, The highway into Brunswick as well. Either he was really great or there was no one else notable in the area... I guess I need to do some research.

It is storming up a tempest outside. We are happy to be tied up in a marina with our heater plugged in. Thunderstorms are predicted for this evening and it doesn't look pleasant. On the positive side, we took our first showers in about a week so that's good! A shave and some fresh clothes makes one feel human again.

We discovered a boat we had followed down the ICW in South Carolina at the marina. They were the ones with the 65' mast who had to avoid the bridges at high tide. Especially the one that is marked 65' but is really 63' (check the ledger boards). They still have their mast so it must be working for them. Too nerve wracking for me! They told us they sold their condo in Annapolis and are living the dream, heading down to Ft. Pierce. That's a very nice marina and local so they should be happy until they get wanterlust again.

I've been hearing more good reports from the Keys. Places are being rebuilt and derelict boats are being hauled out. Speaking about hurricane damage; Morningstar Golden Isle (where we are now) suffered a bit of damage evidenced by closed off docks and damaged piers. A marina we looked into staying at in St. Augustine has lost half its docks. They are still selling fuel but they could no longer take transients for more than one day at a time. Bummer. We do had a mooring ball reserved for a week at the town dock so we are all set. The weather seems to moderate after this week.

So we will be at this marina for 3 nights. We will take care of grocery shopping and refill a propane bottle. Then when the weather improves a bit, maybe we will tour St. Simons Island and dream about warm weather. At least it's not snowing...

It's a hoary night (and day) or you promised it was going to be warm!

07 December 2017 | St. Simon's
Tod / Rain
It blew like stink last night. We had ducked in to the Wahoo River and found it to be an amazing Anchorage! The anchor stuck instantly as if it were in cement and we were secure in our cozy spot. Two other sailboats end up joining us, both single handers from what we could see. They waved a cheery hello as they passed in search of a spot to drop the hook.

Anne experimented with a pork tenderloin for dinner and she was a bit disappointed with the result but I thought it was good. Just not up to her high standards.

One of the boats anchored in the creek saw a beached runabout and was concerned for their safety. They contacted the Coast Guard who tried to hail them without success. I wasn't able to see any boat as they were around a bend.

Other excitement was a conversation between a 46' sailboat somewhere off Blackbeard Island which was in shallow water, grounding with each wave trough and had no clue where deep water was or what the tidal state was. They contacted the Coast Guard for "local knowledge" which they couldn't provide. The CG offered to contact a tower which was agreed to. However, there were no towboatus boats in the area and with the sailboats bilge alarm sounding, the CG sent one of their assets to tow them to safety and check out the boat. They were tired to Thunderbolt Marine. Interesting.

We had a good night despite the rain and howling winds. We didn't move from our spot at all! The winds has subsided a bit the next morning so we decided to move on despite a deteriorating forecast. We got an early start and transited two bad spots at high tide to maintain our record of only one grounding this trip. So here we are at anchor north of Lanier Island, gateway to St. Simon's Island. We made excellent time and beat the increased winds but not the rain.

Tomorrow, we have reserved a slip at the marina so we can shop to refill our depleted larder and hopefully tour the island. At least we can plug in for heat as temps are predicted to fall into the 30's.

Anne just wants to know when the warmth will come. Hopefully soon enough!

We are a bunch of Wahoos!

06 December 2017 | Wahoo River
Tod / Rain
We left this morning about 8am. It was cloudy and dreary out but no fog! The fog was so strong yesterday that we had to stay put. I think that the whole flight wing of pelicans were grounded as well as we didn't see many. There is an army air Base near the town of Montgomery, Ga and those flight crews were NOT grounded! Their Jets and helicopter could constantly be heard.

The fog cleared by 1:30 which made it to late to pass Hell Gate since there wouldn't be enough water when we got there. Oh well, the Anchorage was pleasant and the other boats were stuck as well.

As I said, we shoved off around 8am heading for Hell Gate. We arrived at high tide and there was plenty of water then. However, with simple math, you can see that the number of soundings at 11 ft. indicated that with a 9' tide we can not pass at low tide! Good planning wins again!

It was an uneventful transit down the waterway. It was good to see that creeping areas of shoal are marked with floating aids. We came across the CG Cutter Anvil installing a new pole for a red mark that had been destroyed. They guided us around their work area and we were on our way. We came across another CG work crew heading for a site near where we anchored for the night.

We decided to go up the Wahoo River to anchor for the night. Yes, this makes for a shortened day but we don't want to get to the next problem area at low tide and failing light. So here we are. The rain has started but we are securely anchored for the night on a little side river with some trees in the direction expected for any wind.
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