Still Waiting Up a Creek

“George, do you think that powercat is EVER going to leave?  “No Fred, I don’t think so … but if they try to take even one more picture of us, I’m going to take that damn camera and #@%#!@#!!”

After over a week, we have started talking to the wood storks, so they are likely talking about us!  Obtaining insurance company approval to cross over their magical George/Florida line a few days early (before our November 1 date) is usually no problem, but not this year!  “Since we have had a very active storm season this year…” the underwriters turned us down flat.  Kinda silly as once the remnants of Hurricane Zeta went by (missing us by hundreds of miles), there is zero chance of another tropical storm forming, developing & arriving here in the remaining 3 days, so??  Instead, we remain anchored up a somewhat exposed marsh creek (actually the Brickhill River) with winds gusting to 25 knots from Zeta affects along with a cold front, followed by a 2nd cold front on Saturday with rain & winds again gusting over 25 knots.  No … our boat is much safer here in a creek, than the low winds at our completely protected marina we have booked 60 miles away in St. Augustine, Florida (which also would have also gotten us further away from any Zeta affects)!  Oh well …

Hot!  It’s been 15+ degrees above normal this week (high 80’s & humid) & we’re running low on fresh food & water, but we’ve been thoroughly entertained by all of our friends.  We have taken hundreds of photos & there is a show of some kind every time we look out.  In addition to the dozens of wood storks, Roseate spoonbills, herons, we feature hundreds of egrets, a kettle of black vultures (although they are beginning to circle us!), other birds of all types, a manatee & a pod of dolphins (including a Mom & baby) frolicking about.

Oh, and then there are the Cumberland Island feral horses.  While popular myth holds that the horses arrived on the island sometime in the 16th century with the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors, the experts believe that it is unlikely any of those horses survived.  It is more likely these 150 – 200 horses descend from horses brought to the island in the 18th century by the English.  Pictured in the background is the Plum Orchard estate.  Completed in 1898 for George Carnegie (yes, of the extremely wealthy Carnegie family), it was continually enlarged & improved thru 1906.  We scored a mansion tour a few years ago & the interior is stunning, including 3 custom Tiffany lamps said to be worth potentially several million dollars.  The “latest” technology included an early refrigeration system, an indoor swimming pool, squash court, elevator & the best of everything money could buy.  The estate & the entire Cumberland Island is part of the National Park Service & can only be reached by boat or ferry – highly recommended!

This 2 mile path brings you across the island to …
A breathtaking 15 mile deserted beach

 Russ

 

Creeks, Rivers, Birds & Dodging COVID

Charleston, SC is usually one of our favorite stops, but not so much in this year of COVID, especially as we have encountered less & less precautions the further south we travel.  While we did stop at a marina in Charleston for a few nights, it was more for the essentials, rather than gallivanting around as tourists.  Boring essentials such as having a replacement A/C delivered, our mail sent, buying groceries & donuts!  Well … 3 out of 4  ain’t bad.  A new air conditioner to replace our only-3-year-old one arrived on-time to the marina.  Our mail, however, did not.  A month ago we had our mail sent (from our mail service in Florida) Priority Mail to meet us in Maryland, but it never arrived.  Apparently the package had been torn open en-route with most of our mail individually making it back to Florida.  So planning our arrival in Charleston we had our remaining mail & some new mail sent UPS to our marina.  This time – lost, taken or stolen!  UPS doesn’t care, as they claim it arrived.  The marina doesn’t care, as they accept packages, but don’t keep track of them.  All of our mail from the last 2 months is simply gone, most of it important, such as our U. S. Coast Guard Documentation, Florida absentee ballots & so on.  While we don’t exactly have a hard life, it is sometimes challenging – Thank goodness for donuts!

 

Otherwise, our trip south has been quite smooth, considering all.  Boat traffic has been light as we have been a week or two ahead of most other boats.  For the first time south in 10 years, we have not had to avoid or adjust our travel for any hurricanes or tropical storms.  Rain has been fairly scarce, severe cold fronts minor & winds mostly lowish.  Funding for & dredging of the ICW has been the best in many years, although dredging can never keep up with all of the silting, especially where the ICW intersects with other rivers, creeks & inlets.  Planning for mileage, tides & currents is an ongoing chore.  Although the combination of our boat requiring only 3′ of water & Navionics SonarCharts we use on our iPad greatly lessen our concerns.  Navionics SonarCharts are enhanced with crowd-sourced depths, rather than relying solely on government obtained depth surveys which could be 1 year, or 80 years old!  This example is of the Brickhill River, a detour off of the ICW in Cumberland Island, Georgia.  If you simply go down the middle, you’ll definitely go hard aground at low tide (which boats routinely do).  But SonarCharts indicates that if you really, really hug the north shore, there is a very narrow band with over 10′!  Not always perfect, but definitely a help!  Not sure how we survived our early cruising years with our state-of-the-art $6,000 Garmin chartplotter – in many difficult areas of shallow water, the screen would show nothing but light blue across the channel without depths or any detail to help!

 

Some of Charleston has a crazy Key West vibe!
Even though most of the shrimp consumed in the U.S. is imported from overseas, we much rather enjoy Carolina and Georgia shrimp – these guys work hard!
The result of the dredging is deeper water, but the process is not always pleasant.  Even though we nearly bumped the floating pipeline, we were pushed out of the channel into only 5 feet of water.
Lots of great sunsets this year!
We see many eagles, but 2 in the same tree is a treat!
Hard to see, but among these majestic trees with Spanish moss are over 60 large marsh birds including wood storks and …

Not every day you get to see Roseate spoonbills frolicking out your window!  Darn – This may be our view for the next week as our boat insurance doesn’t allow us to travel south of Cumberland Island, Georgia prior to November 1 due to the hurricane season (unless we are granted an exemption).

Russ