Layover in Jekyll Island

Jekyll Island, GA
Position:31 02.690N, 081 25.366W
Posted by Bill

On the 10th, we departed Beaufort and cruised into Georgia, anchoring in Turner Creek at position 32 00.900N, 080 59.363W. We debated on several alternatives to position ourselves for the first of 3 major shoal areas in Georgia, Hell Gate. Neither of us had anchored in this creek and we heard mixed reviews about it’s viability as a good stop over. We were pleasantly surprised. The creek is very narrow, but the holding was excellent, and there were several shopping and eating options within a short walk of the anchorage. You have to pay a fee to bring your dinghy ashore at the local marinas, but it is worth it. We checked out the hardware store and the Publix grocery store, and then found a dive bar right on the water that was tucked away behind the surrounding commercial real estate. You really had to know that it was there, and after one look, you first thought…I think I’ll steer clear of this place. It was fantastic! No need for happy hour, the drinks were incredibly cheap, and strong! Plus free popcorn!! The place was packed with locals. One guy asked us “How did you find this place? No one but locals every comes here.” We told him we were anchored 150 feet off the back of the place, and he was very welcoming. This was a major find, and we had a great time!!!! A view of the anchorage:

The next day we moved on to the Crescent River to stage for the next shoal area, Little Mud River. We faced a major current for the first several hours and we were worried that we would not pass Hell Gate with enough tide to keep us off the bottom, but we made it without incident. As soon as we slowed the boat to put the anchor down in the Crescent River, the no-see-ums swarmed like a plague. If you have never had to deal with them you are lucky. We ducked down below and missed a great evening and sunset because of those pests!! You can barely see them and they bite like mosquitoes. The bite itches something fierce…more than mosquitoes. We anchored in position 31 29.334N, 081 19.703W.

Yesterday we upped anchor a little later than first light because we needed to time the tide through Little Mud River and target Jekyll Creek for later in the day…both major shoal areas. We had the current with us most of the day and actually had to put the boat in neutral for several hours…still drifting at 3 to 5 miles per hour. The currents in Georgia are crazy, and the tides are 8 to 9 feet! A cold front was moving through and the wind was gusting over 35 knots for most of the day. We moved through several open water areas called sounds that provided little protection from the wind, and coupled with lower temperatures (in the low 60s), the day was horribly miserable. We have had more than a month of great weather and it made it more difficult to deal with the mess that Mother Nature dealt to us on this day. I had 3 sweatshirt/fleeces and foul weather gear on, including ski gloves, and I was shivering cold while driving the boat. The wind and current made it very challenging to steer the boat, especially through the shoal areas. We had originally planned to anchor in the Jekyll Creek area, but when we got there and tried to anchor, we changed our plan. There were about 7 or 8 boats in the anchorage struggling to keep from dragging, and the sea state and wind really made us think twice. We called the marina at Jekyll and took the last 2 spots on the face dock. We were so thankful to be able to tie up to a slip. Afterwards, we watched the boats in the anchorage struggle all night, and one power boat dragged into a sailboat. Another sailboat dragged about 300 yards overnight and was sitting just off our port beam (left side) when we awoke this morning. It was crazy and we were glad we weren’t in the anchorage!!!! Today’s forecast was more of the same, and we have had our asses kicked in the next sound on the southern route, so we stayed an extra day and explored Jekyll Island. We have always wanted to check it out but never have. The marina had a free golf cart so we drove around and checked it out. Jekyll was home of the Millionaires Club back in the late 1800s, Jekyll Island became an exclusive hunting club for families with names like Rockefeller, Morgan, Vanderbilt, Pulitzer, and Baker. They established a millionaires club and built a “Disneyland” type atmosphere for the members to enjoy. When German submarines were discovered off shore in the mid 1940s, they freaked out and donated the island to the state of Georgia. The once private retreat is now part of The Jekyll Island Club National Historic Landmark District, one of the largest preservation projects in the southeast. Here are some pictures of the historic area with the millionaire’s mansions:
Some of these are “cottages” of Rockefeller, Goodyear, Vanderbilt, Flagler, etc… You can go inside some of them and some are now museums, but we didn’t really check that out. It is a cool island and we are glad we stayed another day to see it. As it usually turns out…fate was involved. This morning about 7:30, the shore power went out, just as I was making coffee. At first I thought it was a problem with our boat because other people had power on the dock. Through my troubleshooting, I found that we only had 60 volts coming from the shore power connection, clearly a problem with the marina, but I also noticed that we had some burn marks on the receptical where the shore power goes into the side of the boat…not good! Last summer I had to replace the air conditioning receptical for the same reason, so I swapped out that receptical for the burned one. Now I will have to replace the other before we use air conditioning or heat. These types of problems are the leading cause of fire on a boat, so I am glad I found it before we had a problem. It turned out that a fuse had blown in the marina, and that was the real problem, but had I not gone through the troubleshooting process, we may have had a major problem, and somewhere other than a dock, where the problem is easier to deal with. Now if I could only fix the problem I have with our newly installed wind generator…but that is the subject of another post!! Tomorrow we get back on the “road” again, pushing into Florida!

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