After spending some time in Florida I left the boat at Lang’s Marina in St Mary’s, Ga for three weeks. Very inexpensive but limited amenities and you are on your own when you arrive. Generally anyone around is willing to help but the dock master is 86 years old (Nat) and stays in the office providing instructions via phone and VHF. Good news! The tile man was redoing the bathrooms when we arrived at the boat on Thursday April 6th. The plan was to move the boat back to NC and with the limited time available we would have to go through the night. I enjoy the outside legs of a trip without the tedium of watching for markers. The crew met at the boat and went ashore for supper. Neat little town with a small submarine museum.
As you may remember the winds last week were W 20-30 so we stayed at Lang’s for an early morning departure. Headed up the ICW towards Brunswick Landing for fuel. ($2.11). Went through the Jekyll Island Bridge at low tide and plowed silt for a half mile or more just North of the bridge. Arrived at Brunswick and the wind pinned us to the fuel dock but were able to push it back with the help of Sherrie and Chris and then pivot around the end of the dock.
We were going to anchor at Dog Hammock but it was way too exposed to the W wind so we pulled up south of the entrance to Wahoo River West of the ICW behind St Catherine’s. Good holding but the no-seeums appeared at sundown. Not a problem since the temp was going down and we stayed inside. These guys intended to eat well and one fixed crudities to hold us while the other fixed a curry dish. Four guys, one head, you do the math!
Left at 6:25am at high tide and while the Sapelo Inlet is not well marked it was pretty easy to get out however, I don’t believe I would have tried it at low tide. We were met with the expected 3-4 seas out of the NE. How can the wind blow west for 3 solid days and you end up with head seas out of the North? After a couple of hours it dropped down to 2-3 then it increased again to 4-5. Remember this is based on a NOAA forecast of 1-2. It finally started laying down late that afternoon and we had 2 footers until midnight.
The crew cranked up the grill topside for another memorable meal. Very little recreational/commercial traffic and for the first time we passed through the Charleston Inlet with no traffic in or out. However, the USCG had their hands full with a boat on the rocks and a Ravenel Bridge jumper. We stood 4 hour watches in pairs and the conditions continued to improve. By Sunday morning the wind had shifted to the South and seas were at 1 foot. We ducked in the Cape Fear Inlet around noon and out Masonboro Inlet 4 hours later courtesy of an ebb tide on the river.
I almost never ever run an inlet at night but hey, Beaufort Inlet is home and I have literally run it hundreds of times in all kinds of weather day and night. In the interest of full disclosure I knew they were dredging but I was not prepared for the dredge “Illinois” to be sitting mid channel at the entrance. Two dredges and all the support craft showed up nicely on the AIS and the dredge answered the VHF immediately. I believe whoever answered my call for instructions had to wake the captain up because another voice came on 2-3 minutes later instructing a starboard to starboard pass and a description of nearby gear.. Came in real slow and made the pass and the last 6 miles to the marina were without incident. Tied up and in bed by 2AM.
Glad to be back home!