Next Stop: Florida

Landside view
Waterside view as we were leaving – quite the ship!

While still in Brunswick, as a large blue ship & over 40 trucks arrived, we learned a Marvel movie was being filmed.  For the next few nights, a portion of the upcoming “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is being filmed here.  The centerpiece appears to be 327′ offshore support vessel named “Harvey Sub-Sea”.  It is a nearly new ship built as a “swiss army knife” of support ships – it has several types of very heavy duty cranes, a 24′ x 24′ moon pool, a huge helicopter pad, can lay underwater cables & lots of features perfect for any action movie!

Brunswick had even more going on than just the Golden Ray salvage operation & the Marvel movie being filmed.  Within sight of the marina is the courthouse where the Ahmaud Arbury murder trial has begun with scores of demonstrators & dozens of media satellite trucks.

THIS is a “leisure trail” – Us bucks agree!

Our next stop at Jekyll Island is one of our favorites & a calming break.  Compared to Hilton Head, much quieter, much better scenery, no leaf blowers & no security to chase me down!  Seriously, the trails thru Jekyll Island are remarkable, mostly away from any roads, crossing thru maritime forests, hammocks & all types of habitats, until they glide along the most magnificent sandy ocean beach.

Jekyll Island, like most islands, has a fascinating history.  People have been visiting for over 3,500 years.  At first, Native Americans seasonally visited the island to hunt, fish & gather shellfish.  More recently from the 1880’s thru to post-WWII, Jekyll Island Club was built on the north end of the island for the wealthy elite.  After the war, the resort had begun it’s decline physically & the wealthy moved on.  Fortunately, the State of Georgia purchased the island in 1947.  Unfortunately, maintaining the island became too much for the State.  Fortunately in 1950, the idea of a quasi-public/private partnership was developed forming the Jekyll Island Authority, which manages the island persevering most of the island, while still allowing somewhat limited development – the best of both worlds.

In a few days, we’ll be crossing the Georgia Florida line & onward to Vero Beach for a month or so, with a likely Bahamas crossing on our mind.

Hilton Head, SC to Brunswick, GA

The esteemed Hilton Head was unfortunately a bit of a disappointment. While we knew in advance the dockage rates were high (they even add on a “resort fee”), we were looking forward to a little treat. Unfortunately it was more of a trick, we didn’t know the marina was in the middle of major construction project, building a new restaurant complex. So from 7 AM to 7 PM, we endured workers banging, cutting, hammering, along with the constant “beep, beep, beep” of all of their equipment. Oh, wait, we couldn’t always hear them, as landscapers roamed all day leaf blowing every walk, lawn & parking lot all around us. Doesn’t this “eco-friendly” “resort” know that each commercial gas-powered leaf blower emits nearly 300 times the amount of air pollutants as a pickup truck?  And their 100+ decibel level is similar to a jet airplane taking off!?  Yikes!

Oh, wait, I’ll get away from the noisy marina & go for a bike ride on their miles of “leisure trails”. Well, at least in this portion of Hilton Head, the glorified sidewalk was crowded, as well as stop & go with driveways crossing, along with other obstacles every 100’ or so. Then near restaurants & parking lots, the “leisure trail” would cross the road or divert around. I apparently zigged when the “leisure trail” zagged & I was pulled over by a security officer (flashing lights & all) for … biking on the edge of the road!  Horror!!

While passing thru Savannah, we enjoyed a great dinner out with Gene, a fellow PDQ cruiser.  He brought along some petrified shark teeth he has found diving.  This one is around 3 million years ago from a Megalodon, which was likely around 40′ long.  Technically, they are fossils.  Shark teeth become fossils through a process called permineralization which takes tens of thousands of years.  The lost teeth sink to the bottom of the ocean & become buried by sediment.  Eventually mineral-bearing water crystallizes within pores in the tooth & form a fossil.  Besides the massive size, you can tell it is from a Megalodon from the slight serrations on the edges, as if something this size needed extra flesh cutting ability!

These were the multiple decks (now sideways) which had been full of cars.  The jagged metal is from cutting with the chain.

This cross-section of the ship is supported on the barge with a custom support to keep it from rolling off.  To reduce weight & pollution, the 4,200 cars had to be removed first.

This is the last section of the overturned cargo ship Golden Ray, which capsized off St. Simons Island, Georgia on September 9, 2019.  This has been the largest marine salvage operation in U.S. history, as this RORO (roll-on/roll-off) ship was 656 long, filled with 4,200 cars.  Although controversial & with lots of challenges, the salvage operation included “sawing” the ship into 8 pieces, using a custom rig with only heavy chain sawing back & forth.

We’ve been taking pictures every trip past, as it is only 1/4 mile from the ICW channel.  We thought we were going to miss seeing this last piece, as the news said it was removed & barged away just 2 days before. Surprise, surprise, entering the channel into Brunswick Landing Marina, there it was!  Still on it’s barge, as they’re using this area as a staging area before cutting into smaller pieces for salvage.

After waiting a couple of days in Brunswick for a storm system to go by (the same one that flooded & washed-out parts of northern California earlier in the week), we’ll stop at Jekyll Island – a smaller, less busy & much, much nicer version of Hilton Head for some quiet & un-accosted bike riding!