Sunday, March 27, 2011


Georgia is a beautiful state.  The intercoastal waterway is full of wildlife and marshes with many twists and turns throughout.  We did not have too many problems with depths, although at one point we dredged through 3 feet of water while taking an alternate route due to severe weather.  This is the tightest route we've been in and during it's widest point around 40 feet, it was rather hard to even turn around if need be.  So we plowed our way through for a short time.  There were many 'sounds' that we made our way through without a hitch and enjoyed the short detour of twisting turning waterways and liked the fresh wind straight-a-ways they gave us. 

The winds persisted one day and we decided to find safe harbor at the Jekyll Island Harbor Marina on Jekyll Island.  The wind was fierce and about blew the kids off the boat.  Funny part was that it was still so hot out! 

 We really do bike everywhere we go!  I took this picture while Ryann and I were biking behind them. The terrain was fun and all part of the adventure. It seems a lot of people bike throughout the island as bikes were not permitted on the main roads. 
 I'm not using my zoom in this photo and we're not at a zoo. This is purely an alligator in the wild, at a swamp that we happen to be biking past on our way to town.  It was an unreal feeling to be so close to him. 
 The downtown district was full of very old historic buildings.  Over a hundred years ago the nations top money moguls made Jekyll Island their cottage paradise.  Rockefellers, Goodyears, Morgans, Pultizers and many others invested money into this first condo ever built.      
 This is the clubhouse built for $45,000 for all of the families to congregate to. Still in working condition and used today as a hotel with pool, full amenities and croquet.
 The chapel was centrally located and a must see!
 I'm not zooming in on this photo. The deer are actually really close and obviously use to being around humans. 
 These two alligators moved fairly slow, but didn't seem to mind that we were near. 
 Jack from Sunset II is 73 years old and has the Great Loop on his bucket list!  He is navigating a majority of his loop alone on this 43 foot trawler. We saw him earlier in Key Largo, but had a chance to cruise with him during our time in Georgia.  One day he biked over 17 miles without a hitch. We only hope to be so healthy and energetic at his age.
 My mom, Yvonne, asked me to post a picture of our skinny (narrow) waters.  This picture does not due it justice for the marshlands and areas we experienced.  Most of the intercoastal waters in Georgia are surrounded by marsh land which made for a great anchorage one night.  We were completely protected from winds and although the current was strong and tide over 8.5 feet, it was a peaceful night.

Anchoring is so simple and enjoyable.  You put a hook down and enjoy.  When you enter a marina, it's very busy as you need to get into your slip, attach many lines and fenders to get settled, pull out electrical attachments, meet the other boaters, check in, etc.  Don't get me wrong, we love marinas too, but there's something so simple as anchoring that makes this trip interesting. We will continue to stay at marinas and anchor for the rest of our voyage.
 Cows in the middle of an island next to a 'sound' strange to see.  The next day we saw wild boar which we had heard were popular in Georgia. 
 The "Graveyard" of old stumps and logs as we were told were out on the point of St. Catherines Sound of the Atlantic beach area.  It was a 4.5 mile dinghy ride from our Walburg Creek anchorage and a fun adventure early in the morning.  The weather was warm although it looks cold with our coats on, but it was the 'no-see-um bugs" that we were trying to repel.  They were rather thick and annoying! 
 The roots of this tree were far larger than the girls.
 It was unbelievable to find an island right off the sound that was LOADED with horseshoe crabs.  We walked around the entire island and saw over 400 live horseshoe crabs.  NEVER have we seen such a site and most were on their backs.
 Their size was like nothing we've seen before. 
 Look at all of the trails left behind.  

It was hard to capture the pure quantity we observed. The island went on and on just thick with them. 

 The beach was so serene, peaceful and untouched.
 Jellyfish next to Craig's foot.

 See the trail they leave down the beach?  They make a unique sound and move their bodies in an 'up-and-down' way. 
 We couldn't believe how large they were.
 Mating on shore is very common for horseshoe crabs. 
 Ryanns hole fist was smaller than this egg we found on the beach. 
 We are currently at the Isle of Hope Marina in Savannah where we will spend a few nights re-grouping and finding a replacement part for our generator problem.  We took the courtesy car into the downtown area and had dinner and walked the shopping area with live music and a lot going on for a Saturday night.  
 We were here two years ago on the RV trip and the kids played at the same boat here.  Jaxon doesn't remember much of the past trip as he was only two at the time! 
 Ryann ran so fast to find the U.S.
 The kids were rather excited to be in a car again! 
Savannah was a beautiful town. These beautiful trees took precedence over the path of a road.
 As the gate states...."Hickory Dickory Dock"!  This town is just charming!
 Fort Pulaski was one of the largest and by far our favorite fort up to this point.  Built in 1829 on Cockspur Island it took 18 years to build with 25 million bricks.
 Each and every detail was in tact and so impressive to see.
 A view from the ramparts.
 The fort eventually became a prion and they'd used the prisoners as shields during battles. 

 The wheels stood over 8.5 feet tall and used to transport large cannons and artillery around.  They claim this is the last remaining of its time.
The southeast wall was the primary target of the Union forces as they tried to dismantle the fort during the Civil War during the 30 hour battle.  Their goal was for the shells to hit the powder room and level the entire fort. It was a turning point in the battle and the Confederates surrendered after a lot of damage was done. 
 This is an actual cannon ball in the fort wall from the battle. 
 To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War the children had the opportunity to earn this special badge of honor.  They are now a Junior Civil War Historian for the National Park Service since they have attended more than three of the participating parks. 
 As we left the fort a horrific storm came across Savannah.  We experienced large hail, rain and winds. So much that we pulled alongside the road with everyone else to watch it pass by. It pelted the car so intensely. 
Off to South Carolina now and moving forward through our Great Loop adventure! 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Fernandina Beach

Following are a few photos from Jacksonville that I forgot to post. Maxwell House Coffee plant right on the riverfront as we biked down the street. The smell of coffee was overwhelming!
Jacksonville Landing was a popular place for transient boaters docking on a wall. A few shops and restaurants around and a green water fountain!  Maybe left over from St. Patricks Day.

This is only half of the outdoor structure used for concerts. We met a family with children there and talked to them for awhile as the kids ran around.

This is one of three huge car freighters that we saw on our way out of the St. Johns River. You could actually see the cars being unloaded and a van driving picking up the car drivers to bring them back to get more cars.  I can’t imagine how many cars are actually inside there. 

On the drive into the harbor you can see a very large paper mill that ran 24/7.

Our last port in Florida has been a quaint town on Amelia Island.  Fernandina Beach, as the locals call it was a great stop and we enjoyed walking the town, going to the beach and park and biking over 14 miles in one day.    

Fernandina Beach Harbor Marina had mooring balls in the harbor which worked out well. . 
Due to the Super Moon we’ve been experiencing exceptionally high and low tides like they’ve never seen before.

This is the graveyard where old dead fish lay to rest in the muck!

Next to the muck a group of pelicans were waiting for scraps from the seafood store. The kids loved throwing the skins to the hungry friendly birds.

A train came through the downtown area every night moving supplies from one paper mill to the other.

A walk through beautiful downtown late on our first day of arrival…lead us to a candy shop at the new general store.
We have been enjoying antique stores and finding various treasures.  This is Ryanns favorite room!
Believe it or not, this is the best way to get the two 75 pound bikes into shore. It was worth it and we had a fun time!
Fort Clinch State Park was 5 miles from the marina and a pleasant bike ride with a park halfway there where we had a picnic.  Construction began in 1847 with the intended purpose of guarding the mouth of the St. Mary's River, protect shipping and defend the deep water port.  It was never completed, but great to tour through.   

Ryann loved this part of the fort as it looked like a face.
Each part was very unique and included bedrooms, kitchen, bathroom area, a jail, store house, blacksmith shop, lumber shed and much, much more!

The narrow stairways lead us up to the the top of the fort walls.
From there we had a perfect view of a submarine passing through the harbor.  It was so impressive!
This Coast Guard boat was trailing close by with a machine gun on the bow of the boat.
After the fort we went to Amelia Islands beach on the Atlantic Ocean.  An older gentlemen passed by and gave Jaxon a Tigershark tooth he had found.  He had 5 of them (one really big too) that he found over the past ten years of walking the beach everyday.  How were we so lucky to get one? 
After the beach we biked back to the antique store to get Jaxons toy he left. When we arrived the toy was there and the bike tire was flat.  We had to go back to the boat for a fresh interior tube and some dinner, then off for an additional 4 mile hike total to find a grocery store.  Back on the boat at 8:30 with tired kids.  They're troopers and enjoyed the day.

The next day we left in the am to head over to Cumberland Island, Georgia a few miles up. We toured the beautiful clean island almost by ourselves.
A very large horsehoe crab.
This picture is tough to tell, but one half of the stingray seemed to have a clear huge bitten chunk out of his side.  This is one of the largest shark populations in all of Florida.  

Walking the beach holding hands and Jaxon told Ryann stories about the birds and why they love the beach too. 
It was a very hot 90 degree day.
Wild horses roam the island and although we didn't see any up close, when we drove past the shore there were a ton.
After the kids completed the Junior Ranger Program and received their pins, it was apparent that the winds were steadily picking up to over the 20 knots predicted.  By the time we got to our anchorage that we shared with 3 other boats we knew it was time to leave and get back to the anchor ball in Fernandina.  The mooring anchorage was crowded due to the high winds and low water levels in the harbor.
As we approached one of the last mooring balls the wind had picked up and the tail line that you grab to pull your lines through was stuck underneath the ball.  My dock pole fell in the water and minutes later a woman called the dockmaster to complain that five other people had lost their dock poles there and they needed to do something.  Before the harbormaster could react I had two men on separate dinghies helping  me get the line untangled and pulling my line through the loop hole and handing it back for cleating.  Mind you the wind had picked up substantially and it was greatly appreciated what they did for us!  Fellow boaters are the best and most friendly people.
That night it was reported to have been over 40 knot winds and it was like our boats were toys that someone was playing with.  We rocked up and down and swung all around.  The catamarans were all going in circles and sailboats seemed to go back and forth. It was comical to watch and made for a fun night of sleeping. 
By morning it was apparent why this particular mooring ball gave us trouble.  It seemed the part that connects the line to the ball was rusted over and unable to twist as needed....which made for a entangled mess.  Oh well, we were safe and off to Georgia we went!!

I have had intermittent cell and internet tower, but will be posting about our past three days in Georgia very soon!  Thank you all for your continued support. Love to see my new Followers too!

Happy Birthday to my niece Elizabeth, nephew Derek and Craig's parents, Pete and Debbie all celebrating this week!