Duplin River, GA
12/26 Wednesday, 1091.2, 59/55, sunny, NE15-20 - We slept away a serene evening in Kilkenny Creek. I didn’t set an alarm, but I woke up at 5:30am anyway - I’m kind of a morning person. Dobbs crawled out around 6:15am. We loaded Coquille on deck at sunrise.
Kilkenny Marina opens at 7am, so we were able to top off our fuel, water, and ice. The “boat ramp” hoist was in full swing - it’s fun to watch the operator, a crane control in each hand, pick a boat off its trailer and lower it into the water. Murphy got a walk and some petting from a young man there with the other fishermen.
We headed south down the Bear River and then sailed across St. Catherine’s Sound.
The sail started out gently and then built to first reef conditions. Prior to reefing, we attempted a jibe just north of Middle Ground shoal, rounded up instead because we were overpowered, and had to tack feverishly to keep clear of the shoal. Reef early! Navigating the shoaly Georgia ICW waters is not much fun. The scenery is pretty but, between the crab pots bordering the channel, poorly placed (or off-station) nav aids, shoaling, and an 8’ tidal range, it can feel stressful.
Next we sailed across Sapelo Sound. The breakers curling around the southern tip of St. Catherine’s Island were impressive and the waves in the sound were amped up from running over shoals, but the sailing remained comfortable.
In this area, no anchorages are ideal - with lots of current and few trees for wind protection, we choose the best we can with a mind to solid ground for landing Murphy. Today we chose the Duplin River. The full moon is still reaking havoc with the tides and the ebb was running at 3 knots when we came in. Coupled with a 20-knot breeze on the nose, it made for slow going. Lowering the anchor and chain was challenging because the strength of the current overpowered the weight of them and kept sweeping them back under the boat faster than we could back away. Ultimately, we managed a good set. The load on the anchor rode was disconcerting, though I was somewhat comforted that we chose heavy ground tackle. A Valiant arrived before us and, after us, “Moxie” - a power cat that we met on the Dismal Swamp Canal.
Later that night… “The anchorage is far from perfect, especially now at max flood and wind-against-tide. Grace is lying like she’s shallow broad-reaching on a port tack, with the occasional wave thumping hard under our transom. May the next couple hours pass quickly. Dobbs just went forward to nap - we’ll probably take turns staying up at least part of the night to keep watch. We had a nice dinner - spaghetti with canned tuna on top - and we have the “fairy” lights lit on the shelves and quiet music on the stereo. The music helps distract us from what’s going on around us.