Fernandina Beach, FL
Position:30 40.264N, 81 28.143W
Posted by Bill
On the 13th, we left our anchorage at sun up and motored through the next major shoal area; Hell Gate. No issues. We caught the tidal current very favorably and made great time, overshot our intended anchorage and ended up anchoring in the Darien River; position: 31 23.015N, 081 20.175W. It was a great anchorage in the middle of nowhere.
Yesterday, we left the Darien River at sunrise:
Our stretch goal was to try and make it to Fernandina Beach FL, but we really needed the tidal current to help us. It was a real stretch. We made it through the last two bad shoal areas with plenty of water beneath us and we were moving great…until we came out of Jekyll Creek and rounded the tip of Jekyll Island into St Andrew Sound. Winds were forecasted to be out of the north at 10 to 15 knots, and it was pretty windy inside the ICW, but when we came out into the sound we got hit with 25 knots, 5 foot seas and a 4 second wave period! Caught by surprise, the boat was getting tossed all over the place, and stuff was flying around in the cockpit and down below in the cabin. We had to go way out into the sound to get around a shoal area. The picture below shows our intended path with a magenta line. We were going from top to bottom and the wind was coming in the direction of the big red arrow:
It was a long slog through a washing machine. After 30 minutes or so of getting slammed, I cut the shoal area short (it was high tide and I took a calculated risk), which put us on a course with the waves behind us. That helped significantly, but it was a good hour and a half before we got back into more protected waters. It was a good lesson to make sure you are always ready for bad seas and winds, even in the ICW. This area is atypical of the usually protected waters of the ICW, but from now on…we will secure the boat better.
The tidal current helped us and we made it into Fernandina Beach before 4:00 PM! Glad we are out of Georgia! We will probably stay another day here and then work our way to St Augustine where we intend to wait out the next weather system that is coming Tuesday through Thursday.