November 6-8, 2009... Onward to Florida

We left Beaufort Friday morning for a short motorsail on the ICW to Daufuskie Island. Our plan was to stay over on Saturday and attend the Autumn Festival, leaving for the ocean voyage south on Sunday. However, once we awoke on Saturday and checked the marine weather forecast, we saw that Sunday into Monday was going to get a little wild on the ocean. We weren’t interested in another rock ‘em sock ‘em time out there, and the Saturday into Sunday weather was much more benign. So, we changed plans -- put everything away and readied ourselves to get out there. The purpose of the ocean voyage was to skip the Georgia ICW which is prone to shoaling, that put lots of boats our size in the mud. And we wanted to cut a day or two off the southbound journey to Florida where we have family we are anxious to see.

Bull Creek (opposite Daufuskie Island): +32° 9' 29.64", -80° 51' 6.48"

Saturday morning we motored out Calibogue Sound past Hilton Head and joined the Tybee Roads channel out of Savannah just in time to give way to a huge oil tanker. From there, sails up, and we had some pretty good sailing for a few hours. But once we started back towards land in a southwesterly direction, we lost the wind. So, we motorsailed, then motored. After sundown, the wind picked up again and the seas did too. We weren’t getting too beat up, but we put out the jib to get some stability on the boat. It worked, and we were able to take turns sleeping and taking the helm. It was still dark as we got to St Mary’s Inlet and Fernandina, so we decided to go the next 20 miles to St Johns’ Inlet towards Jacksonville FL and enter in daylight. The wind was really kicking up and the swells were following suit. The hardest part of the trip was Sunday morning when we had the seas (now about 4-6’) on our stern knocking us every which way. Luckily on Sunday morning there wasn’t a lot of boat traffic -- a couple of Coast Guard ships; a Navy warship that announced its departure but that we never saw; a few fishermen. It was early and we didn’t want to waste the daylight, so we motored to the entrance of the ICW and putt-putted down to StM 765 where we anchored for the night. The winds were really blowing -- they were gale force on the outside, and we were just a couple of miles inland. Again -- thank you Rocna.

StM 765 (north of Vilano Beach): +30° 3' 5.16", -81° 21' 55.08"

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