We had a nice night tucked away in our private little creek. Very remote, narrow, and quite shallow with a tidal range of over 7 feet. NOAA had wall to wall dense fog warnings forecast for the coastal waters making the ICW dangerous to navigation. Dont we know it. We expected to be socked in first thing in the morning. The forecast was definitely worse than the day before but the day dawned relatively clear and bright. I began to get excited because if we got an early start we might make St. Marys today.
The sea fog was predicted to move into the coast just like the day before, but you never know. I kept climbing up onto the house roof to look at the high rise bridge off in the distance only to have Marce say no way, the fog’s coming in and we’re not going to do that again. Like clockwork it suddenly got dark and we looked at each other and we both knew, without saying a word, that was that. Marce made pancakes and we waited.
Around 11am we noticed that it was lightening outside. I could see the bridge but I could also see a lot of the creek bank which meant that the creek was at low tide, and it was none too deep on the way in. What to do? In true Escape Velocity tradition we decided to go for it. Cautiously we nosed out into the waterway with,at times barely a foot under our keels. High five for crew!
We were greeted with sporadic patches of fog, but we were old hands with this stuff by now and it just wasn’t as thick as the day before. Very soon we noticed a strong current pushing us along at 8-9 kts. Normally at this engine speed we would expect maybe 6 kts. As this persisted we slowly began to think big. Maybe we can make St. Marys after all, or at least get very close. The problem with getting close is there aren’t many anchorages as you close with St. Marys. It’s kind of an all or nothing deal. You either make it or you’re fumbling about in the dark trying to anchor safely.
We were sort of on schedule when we decided to stop for fuel at Jekyll Island, which is the final checkpoint for a go or no go into St. Marys Sound. The Sound beat us up pretty well on the way up north. As we tied up to the fuel dock I noticed four boats that we either shared anchorages with, talked to on the radio, or heard hailing someone on the radio. It looked inviting, kicking back in the cockpit with a sundowner…sundowner! Everybody back in the boat.
As we rounded Point Jekyll we got some good news and some bad news. St. Marys sound was not its usual rowdy self but the current, due to our late arrival, had decidedly turned against us. Go, or no go? We go! I gave EV another 400 rpm and brought her up to 6 kts. Not enough but we were counting on a longer twilight due to being farther south, but it began to cloud over and what light was left was getting kind of thin. As we past Cumberland Island with its beautiful wide open anchorage we looked at each other and smiled. I turned her into St. Marys River as a Ferry, returning from Cumberland Island, passed us close aboard, waking the crap out of us. Three more miles and the flood we had been fighting was now with us. Eight and a half knots. Our friend Alan called us and said he could see us coming, he’d given up on us today.
Anchor down in just enough light to see what I was doing. Celebratory pesto, Escapee style, with sundried tomatoes, black olives, corn and cavatappi pasta. Alan dinghied over and we finally got that sundowner.