Published: January 31st 2013January 31st 2013
What a change from Fernandina Beach!
We spent the first few days at anchor in St Marys river across from the town. Marsh grasses on both sides, quiet, birds, occasional dolphins, and tide! The first night was very calm and we slept well assured that our anchor was well set. The second night, however, we got more of an idea how tides and winds can whiz your boat around when they oppose one another... Marty spent a good part of the night up monitoring the situation, our many positions, and the fact that we were sometimes traveling up to two knots while at anchor! The wind was pushing one way and the current another, so we would travel upstream with the current and our 200 ft of chain would drag to one side a bit, and then when the wind gusted up stronger than the current it would push us backwards. One boat near us was on a mooring ball, so he would not travel far, and the boat on the other side of us was smaller and was not moving exactly the same way we were.... and how much chain did he have out??? Stressful for us who are
not yet used to all these equasions. Otherwise it was so pleasant to be out away from everyone else and off a dock for the first time.
With the help of our friend Scott we took our dinghy and outboard motor off the deck and tried everything out. The outboard fired, but was having some issues. We expected this considering it had been sitting unused for the better part of two years. What also didn't help is that the previous owner had stored diesel in his gas containers.... and of course we mixed up diesel for the outboard by accident. Lesson learned- use only what you are absolutely sure about because you have done it yourself! When all that was fixed up the outboard still did not seem to have any water coming out of it, so we decided to do some more maintenance and research about the motor itself.
Without our "car" in running mode, we decided to pull up to the city dock so we could get parts and provisions. Our friend Ken was arriving by car for a visit as well, and if we stayed out at anchor we would now have no way to
get to town to see him other than bothering our friends to play taxi for us in their dinghy, and this was not an option. Ken stayed with us on the boat for a few days. In that time he took us to get groceries, we went exploring the town's streets and restaurants, and we took a wonderful trip to Cumberland Island National Seashore.
Cumberland Island deserves some explanation on its own:
17.5 miles long and totals 36,415 acres of which 16,850 are marsh, mud flats, and tidal creeks. She’s rich with natural resources like ancient sea turtles, wild turkeys, wild horses, armadillos, sand dunes, maritime forests, and salt marshes. Her historic significance is the subject of numerous books and archeological studies. She is the largest of Georgia’s barrier islands.
Cumberland Island National Seashore is an American treasure. When visitors first set foot upon the island, there is an immediate sense of awe: that this island, like no other, should be mere minutes from Mainland Georgia. Cumberland Island’s past is a tantalizing story of the Timucuan
Indians, the French, the Spanish, pirates, wars, steel magnates, and cotton plantations. Her present is an extraordinary portrait of natural beauty, so much so that the Travel Channel named her “America’s Most Beautiful Wilderness Beach.”
We only visited a small portion of the island in the time we were there, but we walked through huge oak trees, open grasslands with palm trees, the ruins of the Carnegie family's mansion with their horses wild all around it, boardwalks over the salt marshes, huge sand dunes, beautiful white beaches and back again into dark forest of twisted old trees. I would love to spend a week there, it was magnificent.
St Marys itself is a very old settlement, first inhabited in the 1500s by Spain. The old section of town which is where we are is peaceful, has some very old trees and old buildings, and is sadly quite deserted since business has moved itself to the newer part of town down the road. The cemetary is actually still segregated apparently to this day, and has a lot of interesting stories. There is a significant Acadian population buried there- the story is that when
they left Nova Scotia they went to St Domingue in the Caribbean. Once revolutions started in the Caribbean a number of Acadians fled to the USA, many specifically to St Marys area where they are now buried. It has been an amazing visit to this part of Georgia.
Our outboard issues are fixed now, and we are doing some last repairs today and tomorrow. The weather looks good for us to leave Friday overnight.... destination: Fort Pierce Florida.
Here are some pictures from St Marys and Cumberland Island.
There are more photos below