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Cumberland Island

22 November 2015
Friday, November 20
After consulting tide charts, wind speed and distance, it has been decided that we would leave at 10:30 a.m. Judy and I decide to take advantage of our time this morning to get a walk in. It is cool enough this morning for a light jacket, but neither of us has one on. We warm up as we go. We strolled through the park like setting of the old courthouse. As the sun filters through the huge noble oaks, it looks like it is raining spanish moss. There is an interesting shop that has scones and jam making classes posted on the window. We also spot a ceramic shop. We make notes on things to do the next time we're in town. We are back with an hour to spare. I go through the boat and double check that things are secured. The wind is blowing 20 knots as we leave the dock. One of our boat neighbors offers a hand. Carl backs the boat out of the slip and, because of the wind, backs all the way out of the fairway. We stop for fuel, a pump out and ice. Time has been calculated in for the stop. It is 11:30 when we pull away. The tide calculations were important for the first part of the trip. Jekyll Creek has some serious shoaling and we absolutely could not get through at low tide. We are moving with the rising tide. We get through without a problem. We pass the restricted, "secret", submarine base. We cross St. Mary's inlet and it feels like we are going out to sea. I am sitting in the chair at the helm. We are headed into the rolling waves. The bow of the boat goes airborne and crashes down with water washing over the deck,again and again. Carl checks that I'm "o.k." staying on the helm. I am, but I need to get out of the chair to stand. He takes the wheel while I step down and brace myself between the chair and the wheel. The course takes a 120° turn and as I turn, I do not time the waves right and the boat gets caught sideways in a trough. She lays over on her side. The captain quickly steps in and takes the helm, pulling her on through the turn. Whew!! Once we were turned, we had the swells on our stern and she settled right down. We were not far from our anchorage at Cumberland Island now. Nemo anchors and we raft up to her. There is a swift current here. It is rushing swiftly between the boats. Don's connects his bridle to both bows. This helps to keep us from rotating too much. It is 5:00 when we are finished tying up. Judy has made bbq chicken sandwiches for dinner. We enjoyed dinner and tales about the day in Nemo's cockpit while we watched the sun set.
Saturday, November 21
There are about eight other boats in this anchorage. We all bobbed around all night. The sun is peeking out of the clouds this morning. Don made pancakes and Carl cooked the country sausage that we bought at Bucksport marina. After our delicious breakfast, we all piled into Nemo's dinghy and went ashore to Cumberland Island. This is a national park and truely a national treasure. There are 36,000 acres of pristine maritime forests, wild beach, dunes, freshwater lakes and saltwater marshes. The wildlife is abundent. It is one of Georgia's top birding sites with species from shore birds to wild turkeys. We looked for alligators in the salt marsh and armadillos in the palmetto underbrush. After talking with the park rangers and paying the $4 entry fee, we started our visit in the museum. There have been numerous archeological digs here. People have lived here for thousands of years. Indians, Spaniards, it was even a British territory before Revolutionary war hero Gen. Nathanael Greene was granted land here in 1783. His widow built a four story home and named it Dungeness. A hundred years later, Thomas Carnegie (the steel tycoon) and his wife built their home on the foundation of Dungeness. We explored the ruins of the mansion and it's out buildings, including greenhouse and indoor swimmming pool. We picked up ripe oranges and grapefruit off the ground. Wild horses graze on the still beautiful lawns that were once used for polo games. There are other homes remaining that were built for their children and have all been donated to the National Park Foundation. The first African Baptist Church built in 1898 and rebuilt in 1937 still stands at the other end of the island. A tiny chapel that seats about twenty, was the wedding place of John F. Kennedy, Jr. and Carolyn Bissett. There are some private residences on the island. The only way on and off is by boat. There is a campsite, bathrooms, cold showers and drinking water. We hiked to the beach. It is beautiful and unspoiled with large sand dunes. We stopped and had our snack, sitting on some driftwood on the beach. A beautiful spot. It is just starting to rain a little at 3:00 when we return to the boats. The last ferry of the day is leaving and I feel lucky to be able to stay longer in this special place. Don and Judy joined us for deep dish pizza that I made in the cast iron skillet. We played a few hands of cards before an early bedtime. After all of the exercise today, we should sleep good tonight.
Sunday November 22
It was calm and the boat was still until 4 a.m. The wind kicked up and changed direction. Carl and Don both went outside to adjust the fenders. The winds are howling in the twenties this morning and it's getting colder. The wind and the current are moving in the same direction. I can see the swiftly moving water out of the port hole in the main saloon. There are only three boats here with us today. We have more to see on the island, but will have to wait. Maybe it will calm down later. We enjoy a nice leisurely breakfast. We've been watching our friends on SeaQuell. They left Savannah yesterday and headed offshore. We checked their spot and saw that they had come inside today. I sent Becky a text. She said that it was really rough out there and they were glad to get back in. When I asked exactly where they were she said "look outside,we can see your anchorage". I looked out and there they were! Their spinaker was up and looked beautiful going by. They are headed to the anchorage that we are heading to tomorrow. We just might catch up. The sun peeked out in the afternoon, but by then we had settled in to drinking wine, eating popcorn and playing cards. Looks like we'll have to come back to Cumberland Island when we are heading north to continue our search for alligators and armadillos.

Comments
Vessel Name: Bay Breezin'
Vessel Make/Model: Hunter 410
Hailing Port: urbanna va
Crew: melissa swenson
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