We had planned to head offshore from Beaufort, SC toward Jacksonville. Instead we are about to endure a rainy night in Georgia.
The whales and the weather did it.
When we last transited Port Royal Sound (2009) we listened in on the Coast Guard rescue of a boat that had hit or been hit by a Northern Right Whale. They come to the coast of SC, GA and Northern FL to calve. They are up to 50 feet long and weight more tons than we do (the boat).
Calving season starts in November and continues to April. The whales don’t have calendars…they usually show up late and leave early, but none the less, we have no interest in hitting one. This is made more probable when 14 of 29 hours offshore are spent in near total darkness. The moon rises in the early morning and is a 19% orb.
On top of that we are better off sailing offshore than motoring. The wind has persistently been right out of the direction we wish to go…if it was blowing at all.
We decided total risk management called for us to stay inside. This means the choppy stutter step of odd departure times to ensure we reach the trouble spots when they are the least potential trouble (generally half-tide rising). Today we left our anchorage at 1100 to be able to pass Hell Gate between the Vernon and Ogeechee Rivers with enough water and enough time to get to a decent anchorage — Kilkenny Creek (if you don’t mind shrimpers droning by in the night).
These are not bad problems to have. As the cruiser migration is essentially over and Christmas approaches, we see fewer and fewer people. It is truly peaceful.
We have learned that the problem area in the Cumberland Dividings has been remarked. This leaves the canal behind Jekyll Island as the last thin spot demanding attention to tide and time.
So we will pull into Brunswick, GA for the holiday and its Eve. We’ve already been invited to a party there. The slight delay will give us an early daylight high tide as we pass Jekyll Island.
Now for the first rain at anchor in well over a month…
Merry Christmas, everyone!
PS, I didn’t rain….