As we cruised the sparsely populated and wild coast of Georgia, I was often humming this tune, hours went by without seeing a house, town, marina or another boat. The classic ballad by Ray Charles was officially adopted by the state of Georgia in 1979 as their state song.
We almost skipped Georgia. We almost sailed on “the outside” to avoid this “boring” part of the ICW. There aren’t many places to stop, see the sights or even pick up groceries. If you have a deep draft boat, there might be good reason to take the ocean route, but if you have the time, Georgia is a wonderful place to let your mind wander, scan the water for dolphins and breathe deeply & slowly. Once you get used to the landscape and the pace, you can really see the beauty of Georgia.
We decided to bypass Savannah on this trip as we felt we need to make some tracks south and couldn’t afford to stay in a marina to see the sights. There aren’t any good anchoring options near Savannah, so we decided to save it for the trip home.
Many of the best anchoring spots in Georgia are 2-4 miles of the ICW. At first this bothered me – that’s a big detour on a long day. But soon I realized the beauty of the state lay just off the marine equivalent of the I-75.
Our first night in Georgia saw us anchoring in a small creek. The guide book said room for 1-2 boats. What if we travelled 3 miles up the creek only to discover there was no room? What next? We were cutting it close and the sun was starting to sink towards the horizon. In retrospect, I think most boaters find that detour to be too far and decide to take a less protected and closer spot to the main route. Each time we ventured off the magenta line we found ourselves alone in our chosen anchorage. As we let the anchor chain out that night there was a horrid noise from the windlass – a grinding noise. I tried to pick up some chain, but it was jammed. I tried to let some out, but it was jammed. The anchor was on the bottom and set, but we did not have much scope out. I called Tim to come to the bow to have a look, it appeared a bolt had come loose causing the piece that helps to “feed” the chain into the locker to move and jam the chain. Drat. The tide was falling and the boat was swinging towards shore. We kept the engine running so we could keep the boat off shore. Tim decided he had to go ashore and find another bolt. Our guide books said there was a hardware store not too far and if he hurried, he could get there and back before dark. I sat in the cockpit with my Kobo and the engine in neutral. If the depth sounder went off, I simply put the boat in reverse for a moment to keep us off the bottom. Tim was gone almost an hour…
When he got back he had a bolt! It was quickly installed and a second anchor set to keep us in the middle of the channel as the current reversed with the tide.
Success, a quiet evening with no more drama.
As we moved south it was difficult to find places to take the dog ashore as there is vast areas of swamp, boy do we wish we taught the dog to pee on the bow! This task is moving up the list of urgent projects…
Just after we crossed the North Newport River, we noticed something strange in the sky behind us. It looked like rain at first…
We quickly realized it was FOG and it was coming our way. It was almost 3 pm and we weren’t far from our chosen anchorage for the evening, we prayed we’d get there and the hook down before the fog encompassed the boat. We’d awoken that same morning in a very dense fog that kept us in the anchorage until almost 10 am. It’s very scary when you can’t see five feet in front of the boat!
The detour off the ICW to Wahoo Island seemed to keep us out of the path of the fog and it never reached us. Whew. The anchorage turned out to be my favourite of the entire trip. It was spectacular. The shore access was muddy and rough for Tim and Poppy, and I kept an eye on them as they went ashore with the binoculars. I was afraid an alligator was going to get them, this place was so wild and deserted.
The morning sun rise was the prettiest I’ve ever seen.