This week was an exhausting week on The Loop !
We went about 220 miles from St Augustine Florida to Savannah Georgia in 4 days.
> Tuesday – St Augustine to Amelia Island Florida = 60 miles
> Wed – Amelia Island to Jekyll Island Georgia = 45 miles
> Thursday – Jekyll Island to Midway Georgia Sunbury Crab Company = 75 miles
> Friday – Sunbury Crab Company @ Midway to Savannah Georgia = 40 miles
Most of the miles were at 6-8 mph, making for very long days !
We did this to ourselves because we have heard from many other Loopers that there is not so much to see, or so many great stops on the Georgia ICW.
We also wanted to save time for a week in Savannah Georgia, and several weeks in the upcoming stops in SC & NC (Hilton Head, Beaufort, Charleston, Mertyl Beach, etc).
We will be in Savannah until next Thursday, April 26th.
We will then spend most of May in South Carolina & North Carolina, June in Chesapeake Bay, July in New York & Canada, and August in Georgian Bay and Lake Huron.
Estimated return date is Aug 30th, for my son Daniel’s bachelor party on Sept 1st (wedding Sept 16th).
Apr 17 – Tue
We were supposed to leave St Augustine on Monday, but we had a 1 day delay due to wild storms & 50mph winds Monday afternoon. I watched the storm from inside the flybridge, it was awesome.
From St Augustine to Jekyll Island we had a 60 mile ride north, but at only 6-8 mph, it made for a long 8 hour day.
We had to depart St Augustine at 6:30am because we were cautioned by the marina to arrive before 3pm or we would not have enough water to get into the marina.
We arrived about 2:30pm & we were wiped out (driving a boat is tough work).
We had dinner at the marina restaurant and called it a night.
Amelia Island Marina was pretty blasee, with nothing special except the tidal swings of 6 feet exposing a very shallow entrance into the marina. We were cautioned to arrive 2 hours before low tide, and found out why when low tide arrived about 5pm.
We had dinner on the outdoor deck at marina restaurant, The Galley Bar & Grill.
It was like the marina , Ho-Humm, lots of fried food (Nellie & I are now both health nuts – grilled or baked for us) !
The setting was very nice over-looking the mud in the marina when the tide went out.
The night did end on a high note, with a nice sunset & Jonell got an excellent rising moon photo shortly after sunset.
Apr 18 – Wed
On Wednesday morning, we had to wait until 9am to depart Amelia, for the tide to come back into Amelia Island Marina. While just messin’ around, I saw a very large manatee getting a drink off of the seawall. He was covered with slim/moss and looked like he could use a scrubbing.
We took off about 9am for a 42 mile ride / 4 hours from Amelia Island Florida to Jekyll Island – Jekyll Harbor Marina.
It was a bitter-sweet morning because we said Goodbye to Florida , & now I got sweet Georgia on my mind.
We had arrived in Clearwater Florida, after the over-night Gulf crossing, on Nov 30th.
So we had spent 4-1/2 months in Florida, but are now excited as we approach what many Loopers call the best part of the trip (South Carolina, North Carolina, Chesapeake Bay, NY City, the Hudson River, the Erie Canal, the Trent Severn Waterway, & Georgian Bay).
On the ride to Jekyll Island, we noticed a large structure that looked at first like a structure for loading ships with cargo. But on second look, it seemed more like a boat wash for large ships. Any of you blog followers know what it is ?
I am still not sure what the structure was, it was not noted on our charts.
It is open on both ends, you could drive a ship thru it ?
We arrived at Jekyll Harbor about 1pm, a nice 4 hour ride at an average of 10mph (faster than usual).
Jekyll Harbor Marina is very different for transient boaters – there are not any “boat slips” for visitors, there is simply a 1000ft long transient dock with about 20 transient spots, no normal boat slips.
We are also now experiencing the wild 8 ft tides we had heard about in Georgia. Look at the marks on the floating dock pillars, and this was not yet at low tide.
After we got settled in, we borrowed the complimentary bikes and went to a late lunch/early dinner, about 1 mile away – Go Nellie Go !
We had Linner (Lunch/Dinner) at Tortuga Jacks Baja Mexican restaurant.
I had a very good “Big Boy Burrito”, but I ate like a little boy and did not finish it.
The restaurant was right on the Atlantic and had excellent views of the ocean.
From the tiki-hut of Tortuga Jacks you could see a very strange/long “sand bar, shoal, etc” which went out into the ocean about a mile.
There were many people walking far out into the ocean at low tide.
After linner we went to a local state park on the way back to the marina.
There was a long walkway between the over-hanging vegetation to get from the pier to the beach.
While on the beach we noticed some very wild jet airplane vapor trail patterns.
We also watched a kite surfer while waiting for the Mexican food to digest.
It was an early bed-time on Wednesday night, due to a long day planned on Thursday.
We watched Netflicks – we are done with “Mad Men”, still watching “Shameless”, and are now hooked on “The Crown” (thx Brenda & Joe !)
Apr 19 – Thu
On Thursday we went 75 miles from Jekyll Island Georgia to Midway Georgia.
At the usual Georgia ICW speed of 8 mph, this would have meant a 9-10 hour day if we took the ICW.
I began checking the wind/wave apps about 2 days ago, and conditions looked good for an outside ocean ride.
So Gettin’ Looped took the outside Atlantic Ocean route for about 50 of the 75 miles from Jekyll to Midway.
There were 5 other Looper Boats at Jekyll Island – First Forty, Home Office, Dash Away, Proper State of Mind, & State of Bliss.
All of the other Loopers were trawler boats who are normally topped out at 10mph speed, so there was not much advantage for them to go outside, based on the distance inside vs outside (73 vs 75 miles).
We all left Jekyll about 9am, as we again had to wait for the tide to come in and provide more water depth to exit Jekyll Harbor (but not as bad as Ameila).
Gettin’ Looped took the outside ocean route, and arrived about 2pm at the Sunbury Crab Company in Midway Georgia.
Total of 5 hours travel time, with 3 hours at 20mph.
The Trawler Loopers arrived at 6-6:30pm, doing about 6-8mph , with reports of very low water at many spots. The Loopers also saw Boat US servicing 2 boats grounded, who had either read the charts wrong or just got on the wrong side of the markers.
It was a good day to have a faster ship and experience some more open water cruising.
We were very happy with our decision to go outside, and proud of our off-shore race boat, but as we were coming back into the ICW from the ocean, we encountered about 35mph west winds (25mph wind + our speed of 10mph heading into the west wind). The waves on the ocean were ok because the wind was from the west and blocked by land.
But entering the large open inlet heading west created a high wind condition.
I heard some clanking and looked behind me to find half of the rear canvas from the flybridge, flying around in the breeze.
We had the front window of the flybridge open, the rear door was removed from the flybridge, and this created a situation where the rear canvas did not have so much perimeter support, and was getting exercised heavily by the wind.
The above conditions, combined with the fact that the canvas stitching appears to be weathering prematurely given it’s 2014 installation date, resulted in the rear canvas zipper on the headliner letting loose halfway across the back of the flybridge.
With a quick reaction, we unzipped the rear canvas, Nellie folded it and took it below in the salon, and we completed the ride with no rear canvas at the bridge.
After arriving at the Sunbury Crab Company and Gettin’ tied up, I spent the next 3 hours re-stitching the zipper to the headliner.
Luckily I had gotten a spool of marine thread from the guy who did our aft deck canvas right before we left. I also purchased a needle set just before we left. I also had sewing lessons from Carol Perotta in Algonac Michigan just after we left the going away party when a similar issue happened to the rear door of the flybridge.
3 hours later, the canvas was fixed.
While I was sewing the canvas zipper, Nellie spent 3 hours washing the grimy/nasty salt water film off of every inch of our polluted boat.
I hate salt water, “Salt Life Sucks”.
Great Lakes Fresh Water is where it’s at !
We need a state which has fresh water & 12 months of 75-85f degree weather !
Ok as I stated earlier; we arrived at the Sunbury Crab Company Marina about 2pm.
It’s not really a marina, it’s really a restaurant with dockage, power, & water.
No VHF radio to communicate with on the way in (had to use cell phones), no showers, and a shaky start to our new digs !
Sunbury Crab Company did have valvetech fuel with no ethonol, delivered about a month ago.
After exercising our race boat on the Atlantic, we used a bunch of fuel (110 gallons for 75 miles).
So with the help of owner/operator Elaine – we got fueled up, moved to our spot on the long dock, got to know Elaine a little & got some really good initial vibes from her greeting and personality.
For the next 3 hours, I repaired canvass & Nellie got her 1st experience washing the boat (3 hours of washing, thanks baby).
The other Loopers arrived about 6-6:30pm.
We helped Elaine & one other staff person get all the Loopers tied up.
Elaine and her staff were also running the restaurant, while welcoming in the Loopers.
Elaine & her family were also preparing, all day, for the wedding of her son this weekend.
Nellie & I cleaned up & went to dinner about 7:30pm.
After the initial impressions from the “marina”, I did not expect much at the “restaurant”.
The restaurant was up a long pier from the dock.
I expected that me, Jonell, and the other Loopers would be the only people in the place.
OMG, were we blown away !
The “Sunbury Crab Company Restaurant” was one of the best restaurants we have been to on The Loop.
The place was packed, we had to wait for a table about 30 minutes.
Jonell & I both agreed that we had ;
The Best appetizer Nachos we have ever had – Shrimp Nachos with some type of sauce + homemade chips.
Neither of us have ever had or ever heard of shrimp nachos, maybe we are sheltered.
The Shrimp Nachos were rated a 10 out of 10 on the Murphree culinary scale.
The best grilled grouper we have ever had !
The Grouper was a small portion & cost $30, but after the first bite we both looked at each other and thought it was the best fish we have ever tasted. There was some type of seasoning on it that made it taste like a BBQ rub on a fish. There were no sauces, only the seasoning. The grouper was also very soft/tender but not too soft or mushy, easy to cut with a fork but tight enough to not flake apart after cutting.
Jonell & I combined our 2 dinners, splitting the Grilled Grouper & Grilled Shrimp.
The Grouper was the best ever (also a 10 of 10), the shrimp was good (7 of 10) but not as spectacular as the Grouper.
There was also some damn good mashed potatoes & awesome cream corn made from corn off the cob.
The photos don’t really do any of the food justice.
Elaine stopped by 4-5 times, we fell in love with her down home charm.
She reminded me of my dad’s Aunt Gerry, my G’ma Murphree, my aunt Sharon & Jonell’s G’ma Hoppie.
While writing this blog, I decided to do some research on The Sunbury Crab Company.
It has received many awards, and is also listed by “Coastal Living Magazine” as #13 in The 20 Best Seafood Dives of all Time, by Steve Millburg of Coastal Living Magazine
We went to bed stuffed like a stuffed flounder.
Tomorrow would be an easy 38 mile ride into Savannah.
Mar 20 – Friday
We left the Sunbury Crab Company about 9am and headed another 38 miles north into Savannah. We traveled with the Trawler Loopers on the ICW so the going was slow, but the off-channel radio communication (general vessel/vessel communications channel 72) made for a fun ride.
We arrived at The Isle of Hope Marina in Savannah about 2 pm.
We needed a pump out of the holding tanks and had that done on arrival.
We then went to our slip, even here it was a spot on a T-head dock, but a nice marina facility.
We spent then next 3 hours , again washing the nasty/filmy/grimy salt water crystals off the boat.
We had Papa John’s pizza for dinner, reserved a car for the next 5 days (as downtown Savannah is about 15 minutes away), & spoke for a while with Dan & Megan.
I then worked on this fabulous blog update, while Nellie read a book.
She has read about 8 books since we left Michigan.
Our next update will be from Savannah, port #75.
We have heard a lot of great reports about this city and can’t wait to see it.
Thanks for reading.