All conditions were good for the day, May 8, 2013. Lisa took Why Knot off of the dock and out of the marina. This is important because one of the things I am trying to do more of is getting Lisa to be the skipper in more kinds of situations. I admit it. I am a boat-driving pig. I really enjoy it. Lisa does great with open water and channels, but she does not have much experience in marinas and with close maneuvering. I am purposefully looking at every opportunity for her to gain more of that kind of experience.
The cruise up to Jacksonville was uneventful. The most notable thing was how often we made comments like, “Oh, I remember that,” or “Oh, that’s new.” Our plans were to make a one night stop just north of the St. John River (which last year looked monstrously big, this year not so much) and then head up to Jekyll Harbor Marina on Thursday. As I often do I planned a primary and back up mooring. The backup location was a nice size anchorage area just north of the Sisters Creek drawbridge on the ICW just north of the St. John. The primary location was a brand spanking new free dock on an inlet on the north side of the Joe King recreation area, again just north of the drawbridge. Non-boating readers may not quite understand the significance of this, but the boaters will. A free dock to tie up to is a big deal. And this dock was awesome. It was definitely not here last year and it is a long, floating concrete beauty. It does not have any electricity but it does have running water and good depth. So…any boaters going up or down needing a place to stop, this will do the job nicely.
Note to mariners – We came in at low tide and had no problems other than the strong tidal current. It could be tricky. My recommendation is to approach the inlet from the south and don’t get too cozy with the sign at the opening. Cheat a bit to the south shore. There was plenty of room to maneuver but the closer you keep things to the dock the better off you’ll be. Sailboaters – don’t go too far up the inlet to turn around. We had 12’ under us at the dock at low tide.
Our cruise plans to get up to Norfolk goes something like this: Jekyll Harbor Marina for two nights, to see a sea turtle sanctuary there and to set us up to pass the infamous Jekyll Creek (high tide passage only), then four nights anchoring out, then Charleston, South Carolina, next Georgetown (a fueling stop also), then Barefoot Landing Marina in North Mrytle Beach, South Carolina. That’s as far as my detailed plans go. But from there we enter North Carolina with Oriental and the Alligator River Marina as stops. From there we will either cross Albermarle Sound to head up to Coinjock and Norfolk or explore the barrier islands of North Carolina first – still to be decided.