14 November 2012

We are in Florida now

No blog posts for a while means that we have been having fun, traveling, or doing chores.  Tonight is miserable, so it is time to get caught up.

Since leaving Georgetown, SC we grabbed an anchorage in Whiteside Creek.  A pretty little spot in the marshes just north of Charleston.  We awoke to all sorts of sea birds around us.  There were Egrets, Pelicans and Great Blue Herons all around us.
Whiteside Creek gave us an easy run into Charleston, SC.  Time for some tourist fun.  We took advantage of the marina shuttle and caught a ride into the 'slave market' district.  Charleston is full of history, so we decided we needed a guided tour.  What better way to tour a city than horse drawn wagon.
A full hour tour around Charleston with stories of hurricanes, British settlement, civil war and the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  Charleston definitely was a key city is the shaping of this nation.  We also learned that the 'slave market' was not where the slaves were sold, even though that definitely happened in Charleston, it was an open air market were livestock was butchered on premise.  This lead to a rather powerful odour, as such the slaves were often the ones sent to do the provisioning for their owners.  Thus, the slave market.

Still wearing too much denim and fleece for our liking we decided to push still further south. The forecast was favourable for an outside (ocean) run, so after a couple days in Charleston we decided to push on.  Five in the morning we were off the dock and slowly pushing out to sea, dodging a couple of cargo vessels along the way.  Next stop the Savannah River and Hilton Head, SC.  It was such a nice day out on the ocean that I really wanted to push on, but the next inlets that I was comfortable with were all a good distance away, so we arrived in Hilton Head early mid-afternoon.  I guess I hadn't promoted Hilton Head very heavily, not 100% sure that it would be a stop for us.  Kerri was very impressed and was off shopping in no time.  Macara and I spent the afternoon in beautiful little playground.

It was a beautiful sunny, Sunday afternoon when we arrived in Hilton Head and the harbour-front area was packed.  When you fly a Canadian flag as proudly as we do, it often means conversation with other Canadians.  Before the boat was washed down, we had talked with people from Sauble Beach, Parry Sound and Hanover, all short driving distances from our hometown or home port back in Ontario.  It is a small world.

One good day at sea gave us the desire to try it again.  The forecast was similar, but the day did not turn out the same.  We left Hilton Head on a falling tide and the breeze was ever so slightly more on shore.  I excused the chop at the inlet as being due to these conditions.  A boat much larger than us did not and turned around.  We pushed south hoping to see better conditions, but we did not.  Soon, my crew were expressing their displeasure.  Being only about 10nm from the inlet I offered to turn around, 15 seconds of that proved not to be the answer.  South it was going to be.  But, now was the time for me to pull out my insurance plan.  While we have been treating our sportfish like a trawler, we do have the horsepower  to fix a lot of weather problems.  Today would be one of those days.  A short while after putting the boat up on plane, there was a lot less grumbling aboard my boat.  

Next stop... St. Simon's Island.  To tell you the truth, I never really saw the island at all.  Knot Yet was due for some maintenance.  Oil changes and fuel filter changes.  Sad, but true, that turned into a two day affair when you need to take a trip into town, in the middle of it all, when you find out you don't have anymore generator oil filters onboard.  I have got filters now, 8 of them.

A couple evenings on the dock in St. Simons introduced us to some interesting people and we were offered some good travel advice.  So, the next morning when we all left, we took a slightly different route off the ICW down a creek that brought us more alongside Cumberland Island.  As much as I like the ports along the east coast, I am really enjoying the wild life and scenery in between. The ever present dolphins at just about every inlet off the ocean and all the new birds, the different trees and on Cumberland Island, wild horses.  A sighting of wild horses surely would be a treat.

Here are some shots of the gulls that followed us from St. Simon Island south.

Our advice was to turn off the ICW and travel down the Brickhill River through the marshes and closer to Cumberland Island.  We would be sure to see horses that way.  Day 1... nothing.  We anchored as we were told and planned to dinghy to shore and find a path across the island to the seaside beaches.  The bugs were insane!  And within no time the weather started to worsen, maybe tomorrow.  

The view from our anchorage.  The following morning would have these trees littered with Wood Storks, Roseate Spoonbills and Egrets.  The light just never did any of the images justice.
Be sure to view this at full resolution
The Brickhill River is not much more than most of the creeks that we have anchored in.  The difference here is there is a 10' tide.  And I am glad I set up on low tide so that I could see all that was around me, it sure looks different a high tide.  At low tide, you are definitely down inside the banks of the river.  At high tide, the water spreads everywhere creating a big marsh making it harder to know where you should be.  Ten feet of tide creates a heck of current as it rises and falls.  Rather than force my anchor to reset every 6 hours, I set an anchor for each direction.  Add to this about 20knots of wind and you do not sleep that deeply, wondering if you're ground tackle is going to hold you for the night.

More wind and rain and our plans for exploring Cumberland Island had to be cancelled.  Regrettably, we pulled anchor and gave up on our idea of finding wild horses on the beaches.  Then a little good luck came our way.  Shortly after making way, 3 horses made their way down to the river to feed.

We are now in Fernandina Beach, FL.  Our plan was to pick up a mooring ball and move on again tomorrow.  The weather outside right now sucks!  We took a slip instead.  

The cool thing is that we are now in Florida.  We plan to spend the next month and a half in Florida.  That's worthy of a fishing license.  While picking up supplies in St. Simon I did manage to make a little side trip to a tackle shop.  Not exactly the right tools for the job, but I brought along a couple of salmon rods and they are now loaded with fresh line and I picked up a couple lures.  Soon I will be blue water fishing.  Here fishy, fishy, fishy.  Sushi anyone?


  1. Love the Wood Stork photo, Ian.... the mossy surroundings make it killer!!

    Where are you guys going to be around Christmas? May be in Florida for a week or two, would be great to hook up if possible!

  2. Ethan,

    We are likely to be in the Palm Beach area in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Come on down!