Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hunkered down on St. Simons Island, GA

We have a mild case of "cabin fever" as we wait at the Golden Isles Marina for three days/four nights. But Coastal Cafe is a great place to dine out, and the marina delivers muffins and a newspaper to your cockpit every morning!

Looks like Willieburg is getting more rain than we got here from Ida, but the winds have been relentlessly howling here. 30 mph gusts are not what we want when we go across two rather notorious sounds south of here. So we wait, and wait.

Christ Church on St. Simons Island
We rented a car for two days, got our land legs back, and did laundry.

We checked out historic Christ Church and the National Monument "ghost town" of Fort Frederica on St. Simons (no apostrophe) Island and were quite impressed. Each home site ruin has a storyboard about the 1740s era family that lived there after James Oglethorpe founded the place. We don't have that advantage at Jamestown, but then again, that was in 1607.

The Georgia live oaks could really tell some stories, I'm certain. They reminded me of the walking trees in Lord of the Rings, and they have more Spanish moss than any trees I've ever seen.
Barbara Jean's on St. Simons is a great choice for lunch for good home cooking. St. Simons was more developed than we expected, and boaters definitely need a car to sightsee.

Jekyll Island "cottage"
Yesterday, between raindrops, we drove to Jekyll Island where the rich and famous (Vandebilts, Rockefellers, Astors, Pulitzers, etc.) "wintered" from the late 1890s to the "last season" of 1942. It was aptly called the "Millionaires Club." We expected Newport, Rhode Island type "cottages" and were surprised to find a rathered deserted "compound" of big homes, centered around a clubhouse. It's the off season and things are really slow. But it's a popular spot for destination weddings and golf vacations.

Robin Leach missed the heydays of grand living, but it must have been quite a scene. By law, 65 percent of Jekyll must remain undeveloped, so it won't change much. It actually looked like it was frozen in time--in the 1950s.

Maybe this rainbow is a good omen for tomorrow! MicMac is itchin' to get off this dock.
Fort Frederica ruins

For the birds

Good news yesterday (unless you walk the docks frequently): The brown pelican is coming off the endangered species list. Thank you, Rachel Carson!

Teddy Roosevelt set up the first national wildlife refuge at Florida's Pelican Island to protect the species. We must have seen 100 pelicans plunge headfirst into the waterways last Monday on our long haul down the ICW. We see them now on the Chesapeake too as they move farther north. Global warming?

DDT had reduced their numbers, along with that of eagles. Overhunting was a serious threat to them and egrets too during the early 1900s. Hats with egret feathers made quit a fashion statement then!

After DDT was banned in 1972, pelicans and eagles had a fightin' chance. But I've watched the endless washing down of docks every day at this marina--as we wait for the winds from Ida to lessen. It's a losing battle to deal with pelican, heron, and egret "droppings" on the docks.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Ida watchin' & waitin'

Ida was still a hurricane in the Gulf this morning, so we decided to make it a LONG day (as in 9 and a half hours) of motor sailing to get to a marina tonight.  It looked like the Georgia coast was in Ida's path, and we prefer safe docks during any major blows and rain.

We celebrated our LAST bridge opening for a while! I've stopped counting.

We left our Walberg Creek anchorage, off St. Catherines (no apostrophe) Island, at 7 a.m. today. We had hoped to anchor out 3 nights as we slowly made our way down the chain of Georgia sea islands. But Mother Nature intervened.

Plus, Walberg Creek turned out to be a much more wide open anchorage than we expected, and the super bright security light on the dock (at the nearby NY Zoological's survival center for endangered animals) ruined my sky watching plans. The island actually made us think of Jurassic Park. But neither dinosaurs or zebras could be seen.

Captain Pete called ahead yesterday to reserve a slip at Golden Isles Marina in St. Simons (no apostrophe) Island. Better safe than sorry. We plan to hang out here for three nights. Better safe than sorry. But it looks like heavy rain and moderate winds is all we'll get.