We've spent three years cruising to the Bahamas on Pegu Club, our Bristol 29.9. Time to switch it up a bit and head to Southern California for the winter, tent camping our way across the United States.
After spending a week at Cumberland Island waiting for the weather to clear up, we finally decided that since we were in the south with summer approaching it simply wasn’t going to happen. Time to continue moving north.
Every day the forecast called for at least a 40% chance of thunderstorms, and every day we were lucky and didn’t have any. I bought a book about cruising in Georgia for the Kindle and it looks like there are SO many areas off of the ICW to explore. Unfortunately with hurricane season approaching we couldn’t really take advantage of it, but we are armed with knowledge of some new spots we’d like to see when we make our way south again in the fall.
In the meantime we mixed it up a bit. Instead of backtracking out of the anchorage at Cumberland, we continued winding up the Brickhill River until it rejoined the ICW.
Crossing St. Simons Sound near Brunswick, GA, we could still see the car carrier that had capsized and caught on fire last September. It carried 4,000 Hyundais and Kias, and is in the process of being cut into eight pieces and removed. The goal was to have it removed by hurricane season, but it looks like there is still quite a ways to go.
I’ve been wanting to spend some time exploring Cumberland Island for a while now. I like National Parks and the idea of going to one that is only accessible by boat is VERY appealing. With only 40,000 annual visitors, it’s a unique experience compared to a more popular National Park. By comparison, Acadia National Park receives 3.5 MILLION visitors each year.
Cumberland Island was owned by the Carnegie Family before becoming a National Park, and it was thisclose to being developed when Carnegie descendants sold 3,000 acres to a developer of parts of Hilton Head Island. Fortunately a number of groups joined forces to convince him to sell it to the National Park Foundation. Once you visit the island, you immediately appreciate what a loss it would have been had the development occurred.
A visit to Cumberland was high on my list of places to see before we set off in 2018 (wow – we’ve been cruising for almost two years now!), but on our first trip south we were only able to spend an afternoon because the anchorage was very exposed to a weather system that was coming in the next day. We walked around a bit but it was definitely just a tease and left me wanting more. As it happened, however, on our way north last spring we bypassed it when we hopped outside from Jacksonville, FL to Georgetown, SC, and on our way south last fall we skipped it because we were freezing and wanted to find some warm temperatures. This time, however, the stars aligned and I would not be denied a second visit.
We were poking along the ICW as we did last fall, content in knowing that we were three weeks ahead of schedule compared to last year and hoping that would be enough to keep the cold weather at bay. We had enjoyed a beautiful, leisurely trip down the Dismal Swamp, spent a few nights in our favorite small town of Belhaven, and stopped in Beaufort, NC for the first time where we waited several days for a strong weather system to pass.
Sunday dawned cold and cloudy with temperatures in the low 50’s.Knowing that Monday was going to be sunny and mid-60’s, our plan was to leave our mooring in Beaufort, head down the ICW for a few miles and anchor for the rest of the day.This would keep us from having to pay another $20 for the mooring just because we were feeling wimpy from the cold weather.Of course once we got started we figured we might as well keep going.We motored for another 20 statute miles before anchoring in Skull Creek and warming up down below with some hot chocolate.
The next day we moved on to the Herb River, which is where we had planned to anchor while we visited Savannah.We had read that marinas in Savannah itself were very expensive ($3+/foot) and the river carried a lot of debris from the strong currents.People looking to spend a bit less either anchor in the Herb River or stay at a marina in Thunderbolt or the Isle of Hope.We were already planning to spend a few nights at the Isle of Hope Marina so we could visit my Uncle Ken and Aunt Sharon, so we decided to anchor for free for a few nights first.
The anchorage was only a 20 minute dinghy ride to Thunderbolt Marine where we paid $5 to leave the dinghy for the day.From there it was a short walk to a bus that would take us into Savannah.We had been looking forward to seeing Savannah for a while, and it was a lovely sunny day with temperatures in the mid-60’s. Continue reading “Georgia: Savannah and Cumberland Island”→