Statute Mile 684 to 403
13 May 2016
We untied the lines and left the dock at Jekyll Harbor marina three hours before high tide at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday May 10. It was a beautiful, clear morning. The winds were light. As we motored towards St. Simons inlet at the end of Jekyll Island, I saw a huge sea turtle. He stuck his head up as if to say "goodbye", then dipped under the water. He must have been at least 200 pounds. As we left the channel, I counted 15 shrimp boats. They were all working with their nets hanging low in the water. As we passed near a couple of the boats, I could smell the shrimp. As usual, the weather predictions were off again. We were trying a different weather app in addition to what we already used. Started out as predicted, 1-2 foot seas with winds out of the S.S.W. at 5-10, wave height 2-3 ft with a zero percent chance of thunderstorms. As the day went on, the winds stayed the same but the waves built up, causing bigger swells of 4-6 feet and the clouds started rolling in. Off shore we saw lots of dolphin. While Carl was napping, the dolphin jumped high out of the water ahead and then turned to swim along side for about 10 minutes. I never get tired of seeing this. Sitting high in the captain's seat I had the perfect view as one came right up next to the boat. I could see him through the clear water swimming along side. Every once in a while he would surface for air and check us out. Carl saw flying fish while I was napping. Then the autopilot started acting up and by late afternoon it decided that it was done. We have had a few issues with it and knew something was up. Carl tried to troubleshoot earlier with no luck. This was an unfortunate time to loose it and made for a long night. The ever increasing swells made it hard to stay on course. By night fall there were lots of clouds. It was the edge of a front moving offshore. This made for some awesome sunset pictures. After dark the skies cleared and the stars were beautiful. There was a crescent moon that gave off a nice glow until it set about 3 a.m. It's a good thing that we both napped in the daylight hours because we were awake all night . We snacked and had some hot chocolate. As always, the sunrise was welcomed. The winds and waves had settled to make for a beautiful, serene looking, sunrise picture. I took advantage of the calm conditions and made coffee and egg sandwiches for breakfast. I kept a watch out for whales. I never saw any but I did see a shark. The winds were 10 knots all day which made for a beautiful motor sail on a reach, doing 7.5 to 8 knots. We reached the Winyah Bay inlet at 5p.m. We were surfing the waves going in and only doing 3 knots at 2900RPMs, as the tide was still coming out. It was kind of crazy water. Normally, you would time the tide to avoid this, but it is hard to time tides at both ends of a long passage. Generally, you will have to deal with a high or low at one end or the other. After passing the lighthouse, we watched a Coast Guard helicopter rescue. They picked someone up out of the water . Georgetown is 15 miles inland. We were back on the ICW before entering the harbor at Georgetown. We anchored just before dark at 8 p.m.
We traveled 180 nautical miles up the coast, offshore from St. Simons inlet to Winyah Bay inlet. That would've been 281 statute miles inside, from Jekyll Island at SM 684 to Georgetown SM 403. We've missed some beautiful places, but we've also avoided all of the shallow and winding parts of the ICW. Now, we'll take a day to rest up. Oh, and work on the autopilot.