Well last night was a good one for bugs as well. In the futile quest to burn themselves to death on our deck level LED anchor light they became trapped in the dew on our dodger — perhaps 500 or so of the little buggers, er bugs. [This deck level light is for the folks who might think our masthead light is a star. We bought this one from some cruisers in Fiji who have quite a story to tell. Take a look at Bebi-Electronics]
We got away at 0828 which meant we entered the Little Mud River an hour before High Tide as we intended. We never saw less than 10.8 feet, but given tidal dynamics this means there’s ~4 feet at low tide — not a good thing.
The rest of the day was a sinuous meander up the rivers connecting the Sounds (Altamaha, Sapelo, St Catherine, Ossabaw) that Georgia is (in)famous for — that and listening to an ever more tense description of the pounding the region was to get later in the day. I kept the Weather Underground radar up on my Blackberry all day and was happy to see that as bad as it looked, it was coming our way slowly. The isobars ahead of the system weren’t all that steep, but we had a steady pre-frontal breeze of 20 knots with gusts to 25 the whole day.
The boat got a thorough dousing with salt water, and we were chilly through the day. This also became another “research a different anchorage” day. We settled on Cane Patch Creek off the Buckhead River off the Bear River just south of Ossabaw Sound (sounds like an AKC bloodline). It put us an hour short of Hell Gate which we want for our trip through. It also put us in a very sheltered spot for weather that was now looking uglier and coming faster. The Tornado Watches were up for the county we were in. [When cruising it is a good idea to have a map with the counties shown on it because the NWS issues alerts (VHF, TV etc) that way.]
We spent extra time getting the anchor set as the sky started to lower a bit. The still ebbing current was helpful because it allowed us to “jerk” the anchor in more firmly. [When we anchor we let out chain in 10-20 foot increments and allow the wind, current, or engine to jerk the anchor in a bit each time. When we reach full scope, we power back at full throttle to see the chain go "bar taught" before affixing the snubber, chafing gear and so on.] We were anchored at 1600.
As you can see from the filmstrip above, things began to get bad so they could go worse around 1645 – each picture was taken a minute apart. I put the camera below after the last pic because I didn’t want a wet camera.
What you would have seen was a wall of water the color of Marine Corps camouflage. Our on-board radar had shown a bow-shaped rain return that looked as solid as a highway bridge eight miles long and eight miles away when we started the pictures. That line hit with 52 knot (60+mph) winds ten minutes later. It was over in about 20 minutes — no lightning closer than five miles and no hail (not like April 1980 in Destin). The very heavy rain lasted another hour.
A gentler but more electric (mostly cloud-to-cloud) squall went through at 2145, and another went through more gently still as today turned to tomorrow.I suspect the anchor is quite well set now… I know the boat is sparkling clean and salt free.