Sunday, December 29, 2013

Weathering the storm

This morning found us anchored at Wallys Leg (map), a tributary of the Mackay River, which itself is part of the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW).  Yesterday was a long day, and that was the first decent spot to stop after the challenging Little Mud River and Altemaha River sections of the waterway.  We were ready to stop in the middle of those sections, but they really need to be run at close to high tide and rising, so we pushed on with favorable conditions rather than have to wait a full 24 hours to tackle them today.

The reason it felt like such a long day is that Louise has come down with a full-blown cold that, along with the meds she's taking for it, is knocking her out.  Navigating the challenging sections takes both of us -- me with my eyes on the water and hands on the controls, and her with the latest version of the charts displayed on the PC.  By the time we dropped the hook, she was wrung out, and, of course, we anchored in a downpour, so she was soaked when we were done.

The anchorage was empty and very picturesque.  It felt very remote, but in reality it is smack in between St. Simons Island and Brunswick, Georgia.  We had 4G connections on both my Sprint cell phone and our T-Mobile iPad.  That gave us good weather radar information for the rip-roaring thunderstorm that blew through last night.  Fortunately, our anchor holds extremely well in the Georgia mud, and we did not budge despite 30-knot winds and over a knot of current.

This morning over breakfast we discussed our options for today, and with the ocean forecast tomorrow still looking good with 2-4' seas, we opted to make today a short day and stage in St. Simons Sound for an outside run tomorrow, rather than wait for high tide this afternoon to negotiate tricky Jekyll Creek.  Running all the way into Brunswick for a visit to the old town, our other option today, did not make much sense with Louise too under-the-weather to enjoy it.

With only a single squeaky section ahead of us this morning, and otherwise deep water all the way to the sound, we were able to get started on a falling tide, giving us a favorable current all the way here, and putting us here in the sound at slack tide to find a good spot.  That spot turns out to be just at the north end of Jekyll Island, just south of the fancy Jekyll Island fishing pier, which we had visited when we spent a couple of nights on the island back in 2011 (map).

Jekyll fishing pier, with St. Simons in the background

It's a bit rolly here, as it is wide open to the sound and not far from the ship channel.  But it is not uncomfortable for us, with a deep keel and 100,000 pounds of boat.  I suspect many boaters would find it untenable, which is probably why it is not marked as an anchorage in any of our guides.   Other than that it is a beautiful spot, with a view of Brunswick's modern Lanier Bridge in the distance (photo above), as well as the south end of St. Simons and, of course, the north end of Jekyll.

When next we come back this way, I should like to stop and see Brunswick and St. Simons.  We have no need to wend our way down the creek to the lone marina on Jekyll Island, as we more or less experienced all the island has to offer when we stayed in the campground there.

Since arriving here this afternoon, tomorrow's ocean forecast has deteriorated, with 3-5' seas now forecast.  We will make the decision in the morning whether to make an outside run -- St. Simons is a big ship channel, all-weather inlet, as are the two options for coming back inside south of here, so it will really depend on how we feel about sea state outside.  If we opt to forego it, we'll probably head to a marina near here, as we will most likely need a pumpout.

If we do make it outside, and seas are tolerable, we will probably run all the way to Jacksonville Entrance.  That will give us favorable current not only going out but also coming back in, and is an easy day's run.  As much as I'd like to see Cumberland Island and perhaps stop in St. Mary's, we want to be settled in to Stuart, Florida by around the 24th, and, besides, I'd rather be in Jacksonville for New Years.


  1. I've been learning lots and enjoying your new lifestyle after years of lurking for your excellent boondocking info. Hope Louise gets to feeling better real soon.

  2. Sean -- If you can't go outside tomorrow, there are two marinas on Jekyll along the waterway. The first is at the Jekyll Island Club and offers the advantage of dinner at the hotel. The second is after you go under the Jekyll Island Causeway Bridge and is a sweet little place with ship store, restaurant, etc. I much prefer the second spot, but it depends on what you want. Fair winds, and Happy New Year!


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