Onward to Florida
06 December 2008 | Wright River SC to Fernandina Beach FL
124 miles at 6 knots/hr should put us in Fernandina Florida in roughly 21 hours, at 5 knots we figured about 24 hours going through the cut, down the Savannah River.
We raised anchor at 10:30 and slowly wound our way out of the River amongst the shallows, crab pots, birds that were fishing and porpoises that were competing with the birds for the fish. It was an amazing morning watching the porpoises jumping, diving and snatching fish away from the various seabirds. It was like watching an action movie of acrobatics in the water, all around us, as they swam under us and next to us. Wayne could have reached over the side and touched the beautiful creatures several times. Their speed in the water is amazing. Watching their graceful movements, then watching the pelicans diving head first into the water made me feel sorry for the pelicans. Splash! Head first, with wings flapping... Pelicans must get headaches (and wingaches) from smacking into the water. They always seem to come up looking disoriented, groggy maybe... What a way to make a living - especially if you come up with an empty bill. It made for an interesting and entertaining departure from S. Carolina this morning.
We had the tide and current running against us as we went through Fields Cut to the Savannah River and out to the Atlantic. Our engine speed read 6 knots but our course over ground read 4 to 5 depending on our position in the current and the flow of the rivers and creeks as we crossed them. We had an escort of dolphins following the fishing boats, and us, and one poor boat was covered birds trying to swarm them for their shrimp. It looked like a dark cloud surrounding the boat only it was a cloud of birds.
The ocean was very benign as we started out with waves 1 ft or less and winds less than 5 knots. It was kind of strange to think that we were out over 4 - 5 miles off shore and yet had a depth of 25 ft. We could anchor here on the continental shelf if need be. I couldn't believe how calm it was, specially knowing that it was going to build during the night as a weak cold front was approaching to be pushing off shore sometime after midnight. I love the rhythmic swaying of the ocean swell when it's like this. It's like the water is breathing in and out as we rise up and down. It lulls you into a false sense of well-being. It's a very gray day out. The water and sky seem to merge into the same gray color pallet to the southeast making it difficult to distinguish where sky and ocean merge. A thin band of dark to the northwest breaks up the gray, letting me know that Georgia is there - to the northwest, buried in the gray mist. There's a line of shrimp boats or long line fishing boats with their nets heading NE as we head SW that adds splashes of color to the gray tones that surround us. A white hull stands out with green nets here. Next a blue hulled vessel, then another white with green trim. Time to turn on the radar to make sure it works tonight.
Wayne's next to me napping as I watch the boats. He'll probably have the first night watch so we'll catch naps as we can. I watch another sailboat that's heading eastward and wonder where it's heading. It's sprinkling out now and the sailboat I was watching is harder and smaller to see, barely visible as it disappears into the gray on the horizon. At 4pm the ocean is still benign. Looking at the swells and waves reminds me of blue/gray silk fluttering about. Very pretty - molten, flowing silk...beautiful.