Sunday, November 29, 2009

Fernandina Beach to Ft. George River

After leaving St. Mary's we had about an hour trip over to Fernandina Beach, where we chose to anchor out. The holding here is good and we think all the fuss about the current is overblown. We walked into town where Black Friday was in full bloom, and then had dinner at Gennaro's with Blue Blazer. Catching up with Don and Maj-Lis has been great. We so hope we see them again down the road. Incidentally, there is quite a collection of our feathered friends always waltzing the docks here.

The next day we decided to do a short trip to Fort George River, allowing us to dink in to Fernandina's farmers market. Worth the trip. Several hours later we lay down the anchor in front of the Kingsley Plantation on the Ft. George, dinked in, and took a tour of the Kingsley House and slave quarters.

This is a beautiful spot to anchor in (pictured at the top). Lots of depth once you get past the entrance, which is accomplished by making a range of the ICW marker and the River marker, then it is a cinch. All was peace and quiet until about 10 at night when locals in those flat bottomed boats that have headlights like cars starting causing a ruckus in the marsh, gunning their engines and speeding back and forth by the anchorage. The only explanation we could come up with was they were hunting gator.

Friday, November 27, 2009

75 Side Dishes at St. Mary's

Seventy five boats at anchor and at the marina participated with the locals in the St. Mary's Thanksgiving Pot Luck. The town provided the turkeys and hams and we boaters each brought a dish to share and helped to set up tables and chairs. Our friends Don and Maj-Lis drove from Fernandina to join the party and it was great to see them again.

It was incredible how such potential bedlam could be so organized. Cudos to Ann on Sea Tramp and the Seagull Hotel and Restaurant for their efforts.

By the way, the anchorage is huge. Boats arriving as late as today would still have ample choices to set the hook.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

St Marys, GA

We had hoped to get to Vero Beach to join our friends Jay and Diana from Far Niente for their cruiser Thanksgiving blast. But, lots of fog and thunderstorms combined with a general need to slow down have led us to St. Marys, about 5 miles up river from Cumberland Island. (I know this slowing down thing must crack you working folk up.)

This is our first time here, and as it turns out, the town of St. Marys throws a bash on Thanksgiving Day for the cruisers. And, being cruisers, a week long party is created around this occasion, with a pot luck hors d' cocktail party every night starting on Sunday, transportation to the laundromat and food stores, and various random get togethers.

We hiked around town with Mike and Barbara on Elan, whom we met in Block Island, and had cocktails on the ever-entertaining Sojourner, with the best cockpit in town. We met Rick and Linda at Lake Worth, FL two years ago. At this gathering we reconnected with Sandy and John on Moonstruck (met at Beaufort, NC two years ago), and Sherry and Bill of My Whim (met the prior evening). We have seen the boat My Whim at several different places from Sarah Creek, VA to Sag Harbor, NY over the past year and are happy to have finally connected.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cumberland Island, Georgia

We reluctantly left Brunswick where Claire and Paul on Our Turn showed up, and we had a marvelous time getting reacquainted and spending some quality time. The highlight of this company was an excellent dinner at Cargo which is everything it is cracked up to be. Paul had the most unique dish of us all, lobster macaroni and cheese. I think my granddaughter would have loved it.

We took the outside route to get to St. Mary's Inlet, and hung a right to get to Cumberland, which we had heard so much about. Cumberland Island used to be owned as a winter getaway by the Carnegies, who had their buddy Tommy Edison install a power plant (resulting in Cumberland being only the third city in the nation to boast of same). In recent decades most of the island was deeded over to the US Government who wisely created a National Park. You can anchor offshore, camp, or ferry over for a day's visit and enjoy this natural beauty.

We dinghied to the Sea Camp and took a 45 minute hike through the forest laden with Spanish moss and nature's delights. We headed to the museum where we met the ferry group and participated in a Ranger talk that focused on the Carnegie mansions. We then walked through the sand dunes complete with wild horses to the beach, where there is abundant shelling of Giant Atlantic cockles and Common Atlantic Abra. All told this is about a 4 hour hike, easy if it is low tide when you can walk on the hard sand. You will need more time for meandering and a picnic lunch if you choose.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

St Simon Island

We had a nice visit to Aunt Dar's, where we delivered Chinese food otherwise unavailable out in the forest. I cooked and froze up many dinners to appease her appetite and my guilt, Peter powerwashed the house and cleaned the gutters, and we determined that Dar needed a new drainfeld. An expensive visit. We found Dar to be in good shape and spirits, perhaps due in part to the Yankee World Series victory.

Upon our return to Brunswick, we took the opportunity to tour around. We spent an afternoon at nearby St. Simon's Island. This is a typical tourist town, lots of little restaurants and shopping opportunities, where we completed Willow's Chanuka/Christmas package.

We ventured to the exclusive Jekyll Island, but as it was late in the day, we found the $5 fee to get into the community a bit steep, and frankly, offensive.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Why Disney is Worth Every Penny

Pictured is King Arthur, chosen from the crowd during a skit at Epcot. (Peter must have had regal looks.) Willow and Dave were already seated at the curb for a bird's eye view of the performance. Had this not been the case, I am sure Peter would have passed on this acting opportunity.

As King Arthur was referred to in the story being put forth by the moderator, it was Peter's role to shout out: "A cha cha, that's me baby" (a la Jimmy Durante for us old timers). His pronouncement was obviously received by his granddaughter with much delight.

On Sunday Peter got a call from his granddaughter, repeating his now famous King Arthur line. All day Peter walked around with a big smile on his face, and his performance and Willow's call will always warm my heart.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


We just had an incredible experience with our granddaughter and her parents, as we spent two days at Disney with them, breakfasting with the princesses, experiencing the Bippidy Boppody Salon, meeting and greeting all of the Disney characters, the fantastic parades and FIREWORKS, Beth, like you have never seen. Willow had the most marvelous time celebrating her fourth birthday, the most perfect age to share this magical experience.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Brunswick, Georgia

The St. Simons inlet is a cinch to enter, well marked and deep to accommodate the multitude of commercial vessels---the big guys, not just the shrimpers. Several boats were at anchor by green 249; we had set the hook here 10 years ago when we bought First Edition and sailed her home from Ft. Lauderdale. We headed instead to Brunswick Landing Marina, where for $11 a foot we are taking a slip for the month of November, while we visit my aunt and share our granddaughter's birthday adventure to Disney. We will likely depart here mid November after my visit to NJ for a doctor visit.

So far, we love this marina. Slips are wide apart for easy docking and Sherry, the dockmaster, is a pro. Laundry is free, and the equipment functions! Shower rooms are clean and plentiful. Sherry provides a handout with all the important info about local restaurants, stores, and the like, and maps highlighting important sites in town. One of the shrimpers will sell jumbos to the common man for $5/pound!

Our first visit was to The 4th of May for their Sunday brunch. (This restaurant is owned by 3 women, all born on that date!) If you name a brunch dish, it was there. They even had lox, cream cheese, and bagels, but the latter were laden with cranberries. Heh, this is the South.

As it was Sunday, everything was closed, but we got the lay of the land for our time here.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Georgia Dolphins Awarded Best in Show

After leaving Wrightsville, we had a 48 hour trip (through two nights) to Brunswick, Georgia. Most of the time, the wind was directly behind us and after trying to sail with the jib alone, we gave up, and motored. Seas were big, perhaps 7-8 feet but fortunately behind us as well. We actually took a breaker over the stern that washed the decks. On Day 2 the winds turned a bit east, and we managed to get the jib up without slatting.

We travelled part of the way with Fine Lion and Sapphire, and dropped them off as planned in Charleston. Along the way we talked with Aquila and Cygnus, the latter headed for our destination. In fact, Cygnus followed us in the inlet around 7:30 in the morning, but continued down the ICW while we headed to the marina.

But our best travel companions were the dolphins. Always around at feeding time (sunrise and sunset), the Georgian dolphins decided to give us quite the show, leaping and speeding by us all throughout the days. There is no question that they like to entertain themselves and us as well.

As Kathy on Sapphire recently said, every time you see a dolphin it is as exciting as the first time... Click on the play button in the left corner of the video that follows to get an idea of the Dolphin Show. (This is my first video, bear with me.)


Wrightsville Bonus

While monitoring VHF16, we heard Sapphire and Fine Lion (whom we had hoped to see in Oriental)and found out that they were headed here, with the intention of leaving the next day for Charleston. Although we would be passing by that wonderful harbor and phantasmigorical shopping opportunity, we would have company for the first 17 hours of our 48 hour trip. Plus, these guys are always game for a decent cocktail hour!

I recently found out that Kim on Fine Lion has RA. This was amazing to me, since I have known her for two years (although we were ships passing in the night last year), and never had a clue. Kim is a lot younger than I, and caught this thing alot earlier, so she has had lots of experience and knowledge to share. It is not the same thing as misery loves company, but it is so great to have some one to talk to about it and get a hug when you are done. Thanks Kim.

So, we all plan an early departure, with First Edition headed for Brunwick, Georgia. First, fish tacos ashore. Chris Parker gives us a green light, so off we go...