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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Walburg Creek - it's always something!

We left Jekyll Island later than we usually leave port. Ahead of us was Mud River, probably the shallowest section of the ICW. When encountering shallow waters, it is best to cross on a rising tide. That meant leaving about 10AM and traveling at about 7mph. Usually we travel at 8 or 9mph as this is our most economical speed for our two 135 Ford Lehman diesel engines. When a boat runs aground on a rising tide, it is only a matter of time the boat will be afloat as the depth of the water increases.

Marsh lines the ICW...for hours and hours!

Buddy is Daddy's boy!

Boo is at the lower helm. He has trouble reaching the wheel when he drives.

A few other boats left the dock about the same time. Algonquin, a 50 foot Hatteras crawled ahead of us and we were overjoyed that a larger boat would be cruising ahead of us, but what we did not know was that Algonquin was struggling on only one engine. We know what that feels like! They hailed for us to pass and we moved on.

The Georgia ICW is not the most interesting part of the trip. Most of our 62 mile journey was through marshes. Pretty at first, but....enough already! A sailboat cruised a few miles ahead of us and we could see only the top of the boat and the mast.
The plan was to anchor on Walburg Creek, a well protected spot for the SE winds we were experiencing and expected for the night. We cruised on into the river at high tide and found depths of at least 23 feet. Usually we look to anchor at about 10 feet or even less depth, but with 8 feet of tidal range (yes!), we weren't quibling. I manned the controls and Jim went down to the deck to lower the anchor. Weeeeee - the anchor started to drop and all the chain went after it - all 200 feet. The windlass (which raises and lowers the anchor) was no longer working. Fortunately the anchor was bolted to the boat. With our grab hook and harness we took the pressure off the bolts, holding the anchor.

Can you see the deer to the left of the palm and white truck? Guess I should have gotten closer.

What is wrong with the windlass? Where is the last of the anchor chain attached to the boat. Thank goodness it is attached!
 Typically, we drop the anchor and "set" it by dropping back and giving the anchor a "pull" with a little increase in the throttle reverse. We then know it is set as it pulls back.. Then we drop more chain. Typically we drop 5-7 times the depth and sometimes more chain depending on the weather.

At 630PM we had a dilemna. We decided there was little we could do at that hour, so we lowered the dinghy and looked for a place on shore for the boys to take care of business. We found the shore marshy but a few homes were nearby. At that hour we decided to land at what appeared to be a college research center - they had a dinghy dock and the boys had their legs crossed. We didn't see any people around.

When we came ashore we immediately saw deer grazing. We knew with the boys we had better be quick and move on back to the boat. Then we saw exotic birds and what appeared to be two monkeys teasing the deer. Quickly we left the Island and we looked at each other wondering if St. Catherine's Island is really Jurassic Park! As we cruised away, I saw an elderly man peer out of the window. I gracefully waved and he waved back.

Boy, can these birds squack. What is it?

BooBoo is glad to be back in the dinghy on the way to the boat where he is safe. None of this Jurassic Park stuff for him!

Guess we don't have to worry about hitting another boat during the night. Only the raptors in Jurassic Park and shallow water can hurt us in Walburg Creek.
 The wind continued at about 15mph through the night and Jim and I oftened ventured out on the deck to check our location. With massive tides, we knew our 180 swing would be dramatic and we did not want to end up in the marsh or on land.

The weather deteriorated during the night and the waves continued to grow. By morning we were not relishing finding a place for the boys, so we took a bet they could wait or use the deck and potty pads. We have tried to get them to use the potty pads, but to no avail. We brought up the dinghy and got right to the anchor.

Bringing up 200 feet of heavy chain would give us a workout. But NO! The windlass worked flawlessly and luckily their were no entanglements of the chain. Off we went to Isle of Hope....appropriately named!

Crawdad arrived at Isle of Hope Marina near Savannah about noon and the boys were desperate for dry land. We found a number of our friends in the marina as they had decided it was a "stay in port" day. We didn't have that choice and are glad on days like this to have a sturdy Grand Banks, built for the weather!

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