Wednesday, March 20, 2013

GA Day 10 - the End

Our last 13 miles of the trip today turned out to be the hardest. Stiff headwinds and contrary tides had us working hard for our last miles.

We paddled under 3 bridges to Tybee Island which was more than we'd seen on our previous days combined.

Winds were so strong today paddling close to shore forced us to paddle under the residential docks along the way.

It was a great trip, interesting and different scenery, and we met some great folks. Thanks Nancy for wanting to do the trip with me, your company made it all the more fun. Thanks Dan for putting us up in Tybee tonight, no more tenting.

Time to go home, recharge, and start planning the next adventure. My friend Lee tells me there is a tidal bore up on the Bay of Fundy waiting for us later this year :)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

GA Day 9

Lots of excitement last night when a large thunderstorm came right over our tents, but moved quickly and the skies where clear early morning. Winds were going to pick up at noon so we took advantage of opportunity to leave by 9 when the rain showers cleared for the Ossabaw Sound crossing.

Once across we found ourselves back in civilization. Up until then all our miles had been fairly unpopulated, somewhat barren actually, a desert of salt marsh. Today paddled 18 miles along the big waterfront houses, and on the ICW with its many yachts.

Finding a camp spot for the night in this populated area proved to be as difficult. Luckily a small marina and boat yard, Sail Harbor was kind enough to allow us to camp on their dock. And with restaurants only a mile down the road.

I called my friend SavannahDan who lives on Tybee Island and who has our car to arrange our rendezvous tomorrow. We only have another 13-14 miles of trail left. Funny he was here on Wilmington Island also having dinner, so he drove us back to the marina and we made our meeting plans.

So, one more day on the water and our trip will have been successfully finished.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Ossabaw Island

GA trip Day 8

It is less than 100 miles from St Mary's to Tybee but this paddling trail winds around in rivers and creeks that make the distance 197 if you follow the primary routes. There are many alternate routes that can add distance or be more direct shortening a route. We are starting to feel like the horse heading to the barn and find ourselves taking some of the more direct alternates especially if we think it will help with camp sites. Today, a very short 11 miles, but getting closer to Tybee.

Interesting to note these rivers and creeks are HUGE, often as wide as 1/3, 1/2, even a full mile wide, al of them. Seems a great sailing location. (Steve E. I have a copy of a book about the GA waterways I'll send you, in the event you want to plan a more southern trip)

Today turned out to be the most interesting turn of events. The folks at Kilkinney last night suggested we camp on a dock off Egg Island, off Ossabaw Island just inside Ossabaw Inlet. They said it was owned by a centegenarian woman whose family owned Ossabaw and sold/deeded it to the state, she still has lifetime residence on the island. They assured us she would not ind our camping on that dock. Well we got to Egg Island and no dock, just salt marsh. There was the large private looking dock with boats across the way on Ossabaw, so we went over to check it out.

Who do we meet but the women's son, visiting with friends, who was very welcoming, and who set us up with Elizabeth who runs the Ossabaw island Foundation who along with the state of GA have set the island aside solely for "natural, scientific and cultural study, research and education".

We were allowed to camp for a small camp fee (thanks to Elizabeth), go shopping in a small gift store to help with donations, and were given a history of the island, originally a plantation for rice, cotton, and indigo. There remain slave quarters and other historic buildings being preserved, as well as wonderful hiking trails, which we've been doing all afternoon. This place is absolutely magical, and likely the highlight of our trip.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

GA Trip Day 7

Looks like weather will change for us, small cold front moving in on Tues with winds out of North, and with occasional showers possible tonight and the rest of the week. So.... We played a bit with our route, took a few shortcuts, paddled 24 miles, and knocked off 2 days of paddling. This will buy us a weather hold if needed.

We started at 8:30 this morning, an with contrary tides through the day which we know just ignore. Stopped at the Kilkinney Marina that we'd been told would welcome us and our tents. And they've done that nicely, I'm on my 2nd cold beer :)

We did have a large crossing at St Catherine's sound, but with brisk south winds we did take the more conservative route with a mile rather than a 2 or more mile crossing. A short rest stop on a shell mound after the crossing, see pics below. I hope they really depict how desolate and how much salt marsh there is, miles and miles deep.

The Kilkinney Marina, sort of a Mom and Pop shop, comes complete with microwave hamburgers, shower and laundry, Yea!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Wahoo GA Trip Day 6

A shorter day today at 14 miles, we couldn't leave our camp on Creighton Island till some tide came in to let us launch over the mud and oysters. We are also a bit limited over the next 30 or so miles with possible campsites, had to stop where we are. So our paddle started at 10 and ended at 3, nice to have a shorter day and relax.

We took an alternate route today on the ICW to get to Wahoo Island that was marked for camping. It seems good, well have to see if we are really above high tide, it's hard to tell the regular high from storm high sometimes.

We had a big crossing over the Sapelo River, winds W-SW 10-15 which mostly helped us, and occasionally made for some fun lumpy bumpy water. We've stopped paying any attention to tides, to hard to really figure them out on all these rivers. It's only coming to camp they are helpful, but we can't control that without paddling at night.

A large pod of dolphins played around us for about 30 minutes, so hard to take a picture. The pics on the blog are just the very few I've take on the IPAD, between the 2 of us we should have a great slide show from our cameras.

Today marked our halfway in paddling days and distance, 102 miles, another 6 paddling days left before having to head home. If weather stays nice for us, we'll likely be able to finish the 95 miles left, but we aren't stressing about it, just enjoying the water, blue skies, and sunshine.

Having a really great time.

Pics below are our view from camp

Friday, March 15, 2013

GA Day 5

I think we would both say today was our best day. Blue skies with no clouds, lighter winds W- WNW 3-7, warmer temps, and the tides seemed inconsequential. We left Darien about 8:30 and made camp 18 miles and 7 1/2 hours later.

We stopped at noon for a picnic lunch at the McIntosh Rod and Gun Club at the Blue-N-Hall boat ramp. Everyone was so nice to us, and with even some friendly flirting, and more local advice about the areas North.

Our paddling pace was comfortable and steady. We noticed some changes in the landscape with more variety of trees and shrubs. Still lots of salt marsh and mud, but lots of little islands in the marsh with trees and a family cottage (or larger) that are accessible by boat only. One island even for sale. I hope to look up the price out of curiosity (no worries Paul).

Our campsite is quite nice, but, we seem to be off schedule always arriving at low mud tide. And our site definitely has resident cows, though we don't see them. I had a round of golf swinging away the cow pods to clear my tent site.

We crossed Dolby Sound today, and can see Sapelo Island to the East of us. Tomorrow likely to be a 12 miler, camps are hard to find, and Litter Yahoo Island ahead of us may be our only good option. And we are going to need a late start, needing some water to get back in the river.

If your interested in our route, just google the Georgia Coast Saltwater Paddling Trail, or look back in my blog for a link, haven't figured out yet how to add one in this app.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

GA day 4

We woke up to freezing cold, couldn't get out of sleeping bags and on the water till 10. the North wind really kicked up in the night, and it was a hard few hours at the start, lumpy bumpy with white capped wind waves.

We decided to make the day shorter and end in Darien, have a shower, dinner, and a good rest. We paddled 11 miles total, lots of contrary tides.

We had our first few alligator spotting, including one big giant, which had us move our shore lined (mud and salt marsh) paddle lane over a few yards to give them more room to jump in when we spooked them.

Lunched at a boat ramp where the wildlife officer warned us about snakes, alligators, wild boar, and a new one, wild cows.

At Darien we got in contact with Danny Grissette who owns Altamaha Coastal Tours, He's studied the charts with us, gave us great advice and suggestions, is letting us clean up and camp at his shop. Thanks so much Danny, after last night, your shop is a welcome haven.

We spent some down time walking around this very historic town (depicted in the movie Glory), and had a wonderful seafood dinner with a nice cold beer.

Still having a great trip.

GA Day 3 night

Our narly campsite.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

GA Day 3

The day started out very nice, but a little cold. Slight head winds but we made steady progress towards St Simons following the paddle trail. We haven't figured the tides, they switch in the rivers all the time, but again the lane closest to shore was always paddle-able.

As we reached St Simons we had our first taste of a contrary tide, wow, and we'd have it the rest of the day.

Lunch at Morningstar Marina, left about 3 hoping the tide would weaken. Then finding a campsite started to become difficult. Anything at low tide is quicksand mud, you can't get out of your boat.

We really fought for our miles today, about 20. Finally finding an unacceptable campsite on Christmas Tree island at dark. The whole island is a swamp. We are on 10 sq ft of the only dry spot, hoping not to float away. The boats are tied to a tree and will be fine.

We were told we need a gun for the alligators, and helpful man warned us of all the snakes. Luckily we are sure there are not wild boars on our island, though they seem to have a presence in GA.

A hard day today, we think we're still having fun. Rest day at Darien tomorrow.

Weather for Thursday

From and

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Shipping Channel

Yup, we crossed this busy shipping channel, the Brunswick River

GA Day 2

Our hosts were so nice this morning, there is a small crew left shutting things down. Hot coffee, and one guy even wanted to lend me a bug suit for the remainder of the trip. We put in just after the steady rains ended about 9:30.

We had a constant drizzle through the morning, but kept a nice comfortable steady pace, with and against tides, finding that sweet spot close to shore when the tides were against us. Lunch at 1:30, the pelicans gave us their oyster mound. And then the winds changed. No more winds from the south. Looks to be a hard 2-3 days coming up with high Winds out of the north.

We also had some big crossings at St Andrew Sound, Jekyll Sound, and the Brunswick River. It was a day of salt marsh until we paddled up Jekyll Island, then could see the Brunswick River Bridge. Lots of birds, I can't identify, but do appreciate the differences, and the symphony as we paddled past.

18.5 miles today, and still having fun.

Day 1 ( night) cont.

A bit windy, but then at 11:30 pm our friendly security guard came by and insisted we needed to get to shore and find shelter, a large storm cell was only 1 hour away. The thought of lightening got us moving. We broke camp, found an easy landing since it was high tide, and the guard drove us to stay the night at the 2 room (with bathroom) guard station. Evidently it is an old pesticide production plant shut down a few years ago by EPA. But we are out of the rain, and nice and warm, lows tonight predicted to be 38.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Georgia Day 1

Nancy and I left the boat ramp a little after 10am this morning, after a portage from the tent site. We met an old fisherman who drove us back to the camp to get the 2nd kayak. Though we assured him we knew what we were doing, he was quite concerned we didn't know where Tybee was.

We had tides with us about 1/2 the time (nothing that stopped us). Picnic lunch at Plum Orchard campsite on Cumberland Island. We paddled a little over 18 miles this first day, and camped at the first mud-free, bug-free, dry spot we could find about 4:30, a floating dock on the river that is not connected to shore.

We have a very nice security guard that drives past every hour, is very worried we'll get cold out here, and gave us his phone number " just in case".

We're having a great time.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Finished, on to the Next Adventure

Here I am coming into the finish. We're now driving from Key Largo to St Mary's to meet Nancy for our Georgia coast paddle. Pictures and stories of both will have to wait.

Congrats to my guys Alan and Paul on their overall 1st place finish, and beating the previous class 4 record by 9 hours, way to go.