Sailing South – St. Simons Island
Under sail power alone, we picked up anchor Tuesday before sunrise and headed out Sapelo Sound – on the south end of St. Catherine’s island. That was a first time for us – to pull up the anchor and sail away, never even turning on the engine. It went pretty well, and we are pretty darn excited to have tackled what seemed like such a daunting thing. It was fairly simple, really.
We carried on down the coast, in the ocean, all the way to the inlet on the south end of St. Simons Island – still without using the engine. The seas were calm and the wind was just enough to keep us chugging along at a fairly quick 5 to 7 knots. It was a gorgeous sail, and we got to St. Simons even sooner than we expected.
We sailed right into the inlet on the south end of St. Simons Island Tuesday afternoon. Just as we came to the end of the main shipping channel, a giant cargo ship joined us. Mark carried on without the engine, while I cringed a little waiting to see how Luna handled the massive wake. And like a champ, she plowed right through it without an issue. Mark might’ve had a hand in steering her successfully, as well…
Our anchor finally dropped near the Morningstar Marina – just across the creek from the Special Anchorage. Technically we were near where the old shrimp boat docks used to be, and there is potentially a lot of rebar, etc, on the bottom. But the alternative was to drop anchor in that “special” anchorage that is directly downwind from a break water wall thing – COVERED IN PELICAN POO. It smelled e-“specially” awful. We couldn’t bring ourselves to stay there, as we knew it was going to be at least a few nights’ stay while waiting on our November 1st hurricane season date to pass (per insurance).
So we were brave, and dropped anchor just outside the fishing boat channel. We had a solid grip with the anchor and no problems whatsoever when it was time to pull up the anchor a few days later.
Exploring St. Simons Island by foot
We spent our first day/evening just hanging out on the boat. Sailing can be really tiring, even when it doesn’t take the whole day. So we just relaxed and used our spotty cell coverage to plan our attack on the island. The next morning we got up and dinghied over to the marina. They will let you keep your dinghy tied up for $5/day. But god forbid you tie it in the wrong place. And the dinghy dock area is not marked. (Go directly behind the dock office/fuel pumps, and tie up in the roped off area. How did we not know to tie up in the unmarked, roped off area?!)
After tying up, we immediately went to the dock office to figure out where we SHOULD be tied up, because we were pretty sure we were in someone else’s spot. But no one was in the dock office. So we hiked it up to the main office, where we were told that we needed to move it – and where to move it. Immediately we traipsed down there to oblige, but the owner of the spot had already returned and was not particularly friendly. I explained kindly (well, not rudely) that we realized our mistake and Mark was in the process of moving the boat to the appropriate, yet unmarked area. Apparently some snide comments were made between the gentleman and Mark. Glad I missed it. Mark is actually the nicer one of the crew.
Getting of to a rocky start, we headed over the bridge and spent the day on St. Simons exploring the town by foot. I think we walked somewhere in the 6+ mile range. The town is adorable. We made it to the beach, past the light house, and then looped on around to find the grocery store. We didn’t provision, but made plans to bike over the next day.
Thursday morning our batteries were almost dead. (We’ve only just figured out that our “Plug and Play” solar controller is a newer model that is not actually plug and play at all – at least not with Lithium Ion batteries. We are currently in Jacksonville waiting on our newly programmed controller to arrive…blog post will eventually follow) Mark decided to just crank up the engine to go ahead and get a little charge going since the sun wasn’t yet high enough to fill those bad boys up.
Our engine always starts. Always. Well, except for that one time 3 years ago when we learned our start battery was dead… Since then – every time, the first time. This day? Nothing. Not a sound. It wouldn’t budge. Because of the timing, we obviously initially thought it was battery related – but the start battery should not be related to the low house battery bank. After quite a bit of troubleshooting and head scratching – and after whipping out our trusty Nigel Calder book of all things boat, we narrowed it down to the starter.
Totally unrelated to the batteries, the starter had a faulty connection. Mark took it apart and cleaned up all the connections, and viola! She started right up. In fact, she starts faster than she ever has. Tricky little boats – always throwing more than one issue at you at a time, so you can puzzle it all out on your own. Boat life is always an adventure – just not exactly the adventures you always expect!
Laundry is also another little #boatlife adventure. With the starter issue finally sorted out, and our batteries charging up quickly once the sun came out, we headed over to the marina to take advantage of their laundry facility. It’s $1.50/load to wash and $.75/load to dry. We did all the bedding, as that is a pain in the butt to wash in a 5 gallon bucket…
While we do the majority of our laundry in the bucket, we do it as we go, so it’s not a big deal. And we mostly wear quick-dry workout type clothes, so it really is not a difficult chore. That being said, I’m more than happy to pay $5 total to wash everything all at once!
Will Bike for Food
After laundry was done and we were back onboard Luna Sea, I made plans with a friend for drinks at a local hang out – Mullet Bay. Since we had a few hours, we decided to bike it over to Winn Dixie and load up on a few fresh items. Although we are still in the States, it IS a touristy island, so the prices were a little higher than you’d expect. I guess it will help us ease gently into the food costs we are expecting to see once we hit the Bahamas…
Sandy picked us up and we headed to Mullet Bay. She has a great gang of friends here and it was fun meeting them all. The drinks were cheap (happy hour until 6:30) and the food was both cheap and delicious. We had a great time catching up, and were chauffeured home after meeting lots of cool local people. We also learned that swarms of college kids were all coming in for the Florida/Georgia football game. Looks like our planned escape the next day was just in the nick of time!
Friday morning, feeling like we’d seen all we could see before the frat boys descended on the beaches, we pulled up anchor and eased on south with Jekyll Island in our sights!
Next up – we slog it on down the ICW for a GREAT weekend at Jekyll Island! We even made a little video of our visit there 🙂