June 3 – 4, 2020 Georgia-Days 1 & 2

On June 3, we were up early, so we saw the beautiful sunRISE.  Great start to our day.  There is a low area at Jekyll Island, so we wanted to leave early and have a higher tide level when we got to Jekyll.  Chuck saw us off at the dock and it looked to be a BEAUTIFUL day for cruising.

After a very short distance of about 2 miles, we cruised into Georgia.  Couldn’t see the border line in the water, and no motor patrols were at the border to check passports, but we DID cross and knew this was now the home stretch.  Happy and sad thoughts were in our heads.  Ed went to the bow and put up the Georgia flag.  We thought it appropriate to fly it since we were now entering our home state.

We passed Cumberland Island and have intentions of returning to see it (via highways) when Ranger tours resume.  We’d like to learn more about the history of the island and do some exploring on bicycles.  As we continued, we heard chatter on the radio from various boats we recognized.  The boats were going different places; that’s sort of what Loopers do.

We had two challenging areas to get thru this day. All required mid to high tide water. We were now in an area where tides can change the water levels 7-8 feet. That’s a lot of difference in water levels. Our first challenge would be St. Andrew Sound.  This area is an inlet from the Atlantic and we had been warned that is was necessary to go through on a descending tide so that Atlantic waters would not be coming IN and pounding the boat.  Winds here are also a problem as it is necessary to make a 45 degree turn and strong winds can blow a boat off course and into shallow waters.  We had a good day.  We entered the Sound with low winds and an outgoing tide shortly after high tide.  Even so, it was a bit of a bumpy ride as we traveled towards the Atlantic.  It got much smoother as soon as we made that turn.

True to information given us, Jekyll Island has a low area next to it. We made it through a cut/dredged waterway that is somewhat narrow, but plenty wide.  When we reached the open water of St. Simon Sound, it looked SO wide open and we always like to see 30+ feet of water under the boat.

On this day, we only traveled 34 miles, but it took us 4.5 hours.  We are now in winding waterways of the Intracoastal and there is a lot of time spent winding back and forth.  If it were a straight shot, we’d be back in Beaufort in a couple of days, but we are not traveling “as the crow flies.”

We made our way to Brunswick Landing Marina – a bit out of the way, but a recommended place to stay.  Turned out to be a pretty big marina, and very nice with lots of amenities including free laundry, a really large ”library” of swap books, and free beer in the lounge.  Boaters really like that last one.  

We headed into town for lunch and take a “look see” of the area.  It’s a small town; very walkable and some businesses had reopened.  We had a tasty chicken panini at the Arte Pizza restaurant and then did some walking.  It is an “Oglethorpe” design, which means it is laid out in a grid pattern and there are squares of parks throughout the area.  Green space in towns/cities is such a welcome site.  We also saw some restored buildings and some very pretty homes in the historic district. 

Brunswick produced Liberty Ships during WWII.  These steel ships served as both cargo and troop carriers. Over 16,000 men and women worked in the factory that made these ships.

We planned to leave after one night, but when we awoke the next morning, the weather forecast wasn’t looking very good.  Some other boats left, including one Looper boat.  We began to have second thoughts about whether or not we should go.  Ed finally reminded me that we had not taken chances on bad weather days for all of this trip – now was not the time to start.  Not ten minutes later, the skies opened up and there was a downpour.  We couldn’t  see a quarter mile up the waterway.  We later heard from the Looper boat that they seriously thought about turning around – and probably should have.  I have a wise captain.

We spent the day piddling on the boat and did a little biking around town.  We got take out for dinner and as we walked back to the boat, we saw several different law enforcement vehicles in the parking lot.  On the dock were GBI Swat members, Dept of Natural Resource people, and local police.  What in the world??  Turns out that there was a planned protest in town regarding the Ahmaud Arbery killing.  A boat had anchored a short distance from the marina, and there was some unease by marina staff when they noticed an Antifa flag waving from the boat.  This is one of the groups that has been stirring up some of the trouble at the protests.  The man on the boat had taken his dinghy up the river to the protest area.  Law enforcement was trying to locate him, and eventually saw him returning to his boat, where they intercepted him, searched the boat, and brought him ashore to our dock.  We watched for quite some time to see what would happen, but eventually just went down into our boat.  Don’t know what the outcome was, but we were probably the safest place in the town with all the law enforcement people who were there on the dock.

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