2006 Adventure UPDATES


UPDATE #4 04/27/06 - 05/02/06


Howdy Everybody,

 UPDATE #4   4/27/06 thru 5/02/06.

Most all of you have already read through our email updates that covered the period 4/1 thru 4/26.  We have heard from some of you that you enjoyed hearing about our trip so far

Please send us your comments, thoughts, and ideas via email.  We are very interested in hearing from ya’all.

4/27   Day 27        Thursday   St. Augustine, FL to Drum Island anchorage near the Cumberland National Seashore Sea Camp

At 6:40am, the anchor had been retrieved and AMARSE was underway again headed northbound.  Our friends, Mike and Karen aboard MI-T-MO had alerted us to the buoy placement at St. Augustine inlet.  The ICW markers actually look like they might be inlet channel markers when in fact they are ICW markers that mark a shoal area.  This little bit of local knowledge helped us pass this area in the early morning light with no problems.  It was a beautiful sunrise.  We are feeling the effects of tidal currents more and more as we progress.  As the tidal ranges increase, so do the effects of current.  These currents increase even more in places where the channel narrows.  As we approach some bridges, the current can also create areas of turbulence that moves the boat around quite a bit.  Of course, a current from the stern will increase your speed over the ground and an opposing current will slow you down.  We started by heading into the current but before long we were being helped along by the flow.  By 11:30am, we had crossed the St. Johns River near Jacksonville and were headed through Sisters Creek.  Around 2:30pm, we were arrived at Fernandina Beach, Florida.  This is the furthest northeastern city in Florida and also the home of Florida Petroleum.  Cruisers have long planned to refuel here due to the reduced prices for diesel fuel.  The place is really a commercial refueling dock that sells mostly to the shrimp boat industry.  The docks are somewhat intimidating.  We arrived at near low tide.  The current was running out quite strong and the winds were driving right into the docks at 20 to 25.  The docks are thirty foot high wooden pilings that appear as a bunch of huge telephone poles spaced about 6 feet apart.  The flat portion of the dock is way up there when the tide is low.  Anyway, we had a relatively smooth arrival at the dock.  We loaded up with fuel and filled our water tanks too.  The price was OK, but not as good as I remember.  Oh well…..

The departure from the dock was a challenge with the wind trying to pin us to the dock pilings.  We managed to get underway safely but incurred more stress that we desired.

Within minutes, we entered the St. Mary’s River and crossed into the State of Georgia.  We decided to anchor a little early since a more secure anchorage was available.  We motored up behind the eastern side of Drum Island to a location near the Sea Camp headquarters of the Cumberland National Seashore.  We joined several other boats nearby that were seeking shelter from the strong winds and currents.  It turned out to be a pretty good choice.  The tidal range from high to low was 9 feet.  There are two highs and two lows everyday here.  We arrived at 4:15 pm just after low tide so we experienced the highest tide and the lowest tide again before we departed on the rising tide.  At this anchorage, the current moves the boat in opposition to the wind thereby making it a little bit bumpy and noisy from the waves slapping on the hull. 

Chez-ette Judy prepared a class-A dinner tonight.  A crisp green salad dressed with blue cheese, a sautéed medley of chicken breast morsels, caramelized onions, and sliced mushroom buttons, accompanied by potatoes Au Gratin served at the salon table was fit for a King.  It was undoubtedly a culinary experience of the N-th magnitude.  The sunset that followed foretold of a lovely day tomorrow. 

We are near mile 711 from Norfolk, VA.  Coordinates N30 46.181 W081 28.316 

4/28/06   Friday    Drum Island, Georgia anchorage to Wahoo River anchorage

At 0635, it was anchor aweigh for AMARSE.  The chain came up pretty clean but the Fortress anchor was quite muddy thus indicating that it was well set.  We departed the Cumberland National Seashore Sea Camp and backtracked to the channel.  We were traveling the Cumberland River.  Nearby, there are huge buildings for nuclear submarines.  The US Navy operates some kind of degaussing facility here.  It has something to do with removing the electrical and magnetic charges that these vessels accumulate while they travel submerged for long periods of time.  As I understand it, this place can neutralize the conditions and help make them hard to detect.  Whatever really happens here, they have some of the hugest structures that you can imagine.

It was quite windy and as we entered St. Andrews Sound and we were jostled around by the 2 to 4 foot seas.  The waters calmed as we passed into Jekyll Creek and behind Jekyll Island.  St. Simons Sound showed us only 1 to 2 foot seas while sporting winds of 20 knots.  St. Simons Island and Lanier Islands are famous resort areas world renowned for golfing.  Waterways like the Mackay River, Buttermilk Sound, Little Mud River, Doboy Sound, Old Teakettle Creek, Front River, Sapelo River, and Sapelo Sound have such interesting names and typify the rapidly changing nature of the inland route.

During one section, we were literally attacked by very large flies.  We have heard them called “horse flies” and “green-heads”.  I don’t know what they were, but there were many, many hundreds of them.  Judy took to killing them like an “angry Marine”.  She was really good at it and seemed to be enjoying it a little too much.  I think I will be a little more careful not to entice her to be aggressive.  A body could get hurt.  She would often proclaim to have killed several with one swift strike of her swatter.  I tried my hand at it too, however, Judy is like the “Donald Trump” of Fly-Killers and I was merely the “Apprentice”.  We exited the ICW at mile 630 and headed up the Wahoo Creek for several miles and dropped the “hook” for the night at 5:30pm.  The waters here are fairly deep so we selected a spot about 16 feet deep at low tide and expected the increase of about 10 feet.  It is quite interesting since you can see the form of the river and marshes at low tide but all evidence of the land disappears at high tide.  It is a little weird and prompts anchor checks every couple of hours to ensure that all is well with current switches and the like.  The grill seared some great smoked sausage as Judy prepared Fried rice, applesauce, and a tossed salad.  

 Position N 31 35.967 W 081 13.289.

4/29/06  Saturday    Wahoo Creek anchorage to Ladies Island anchorage, Beaufort, SC

AMARSE was powered up at 6:40am.  We had to backtrack to return to the ICW and rejoined it at mile 630.  More great names of waterways like Johnson Creek, North Newport River and into St. Catherine’s Sound.  The wind was honking at about 30 knots.  This combined with the size of the Sound made for some angry seas.  The waves were short coupled and fairly steep at 4 to 6 feet.   As AMARSE would crunch into the next wave, the spray would break heavily on the bow and send a huge spray of water over the boat.  Some of the spray would come up over the windshield and over the top of the bimini enclosure.  It sure is nice to have this full windshield and top.  Things settled down as we came into the Bear River, through the Florida Passage, and the Ogeechee River.  When we came to “Hells Gate”, we encountered some very rough water.  Things were gentler on the Vernon River, the Burnside River, Skidways Narrows, and the Wittington River.   As we passed through the areas near Savannah, Georgia, we passed the Hinckley Dock and there was “Integrity”, a 36’ Monk trawler.  Bill and Ruth have just finished their yearlong cruise around the Great Loop.  Their cruising notes and updates were informative and inspirational for us in planning our cruising dream.  To them, I say “THANKS” and “CONGRATS” in following their dream to conclusion.  We navigated through Elba Island Cut and at 1:20pm, we crossed the Savannah River into Fields Cut.  We are now in the State of South Carolina.  Passing Hilton Head Island, we caught a nice view of the famous lighthouse marking its southern tip.  We passed Parris Island in late afternoon.  This is home to the US Marines basic training site or “Boot Camp” as it is known.  This is where “boys become men” and “those men become Marines”.  Our trawler cruised a little passed Beaufort, SC, under the Ladies Island Swing bridge and into “Factory Creek”.  Here is your geography lesson for the day.  There are two Beaufort locations on the East Coast.  One is in South Carolina and the other one is in North Carolina.  The one in SC is Beaufort and pronounced “Buew-Fort”.  The one in North Carolina is Beaufort and pronounced “Bo-Fort”.  The way I remember is “No(rth)” is “Bo”,  No is Bo.  What do you think of that?

We found a narrow, little cut to anchor in at 6:40pm and we felt very shielded from the strong winds.  The tides would again be in the ten-foot range.  More anchor checks were warranted throughout the night and I’m happy to say that we stayed put.  Our position is coordinates N32 25.425 W080 39.105.  We sparked up the grill and dined on Salad, Chopped Sirloin with mushroom sauce, and creamy mashed potatoes.  I like it “too much, man”.

Sunday   4/30/06    Ladies Island anchorage, Beaufort, SC to Dewees Island at Hamlin Sound

With lots of thick, heavy mud now cleaned from the anchor, we were idled out of Factory Creek at 6:55am.  It was a great place to stay as the wind was blocked and no slapping water on the hull of the boat.  We were both surprised at how much wind there was when we rejoined the channel.  It was a “blowin’ ‘bout 20 ta 30, good buddies”.  The Beaufort River changed to the Coosaw River somewhere along the way and then after traversing the Ashepoo-Coosaw Cutoff, we motored along the Ashepoo River.  River names changed to Dawho, North Edisto, Wadmalaw, and Stono Rivers.  We were somewhat startled at one marker when a very fast sport cruiser came heading right for us at full speed.  Our guess is that he wasn’t paying close attention and didn’t see us.  I kept thinking he would turn away but did not.  Things didn’t look good, so I gave AMARSE full reverse to take all way off and thanks goodness because the cruiser passed right across our bow and would surely have hit us had we continued.  When the guy saw us, you could see the shock in his eyes as he sheepishly waved to us.  Oh well, luck blessed us again.  A real strong current in Elliot Cut brought us very swiftly, like 12 and 13 miles per hour, out into Charleston, SC.  Here the river runs swiftly and we observed the US Coast Guard trying to round up a couple of sailboats that had seemingly dragged anchor and drifted off.  No one was aboard them and at least one of them had some significant damage to the bow pulpit railings.  We opted to continue on to points north.  We got a nice view of Fort Sumter where the first shots of the Civil War were fired.  The Charleston River was a little rough but the waters calmed as we rejoined protected waters north of Charleston.  We exited the ICW around mile mark 454.9 and turned west of Hamlin Sound to look for good anchorage.  It would have been okay but we opted to explore the east side for more protection.  A location between Big Marsh Island and Dewees Island seemed to offer more comfort from the stiff easterly winds.  We made a total of four anchoring attempts before we found a spot that we felt comfortable in.  Thanks goodness for the new windlass that we installed in Houston.  Without it and the washdown pump, our life would be a lot more arduous.  It was 5:45 and we were ready to rest from this windy day on the water.  Dinner was planned that was reminiscent of my youth.  We chose to prepare some “homemade” Clam Chowder.  In my teen years, a friend, Russ Mattson, and I would frequently cook onion rings and New England style Clam Chowder on Sunday nights.  My recollections of those years prompted a repeat performance of the chowder portion.  Happy memories make more happy memories.  Tired and full, we slept well and only interrupted by the obligatory anchor checks every couple hours.  All went well in our sheltered surroundings. 

05/01/06   Monday   and May Day.     Dewees Island anchorage to Georgetown, SC.

This morning is anchor up and not too much mud on it.  Somewhat surprising in that one of our previous attempts yesterday brought up huge clumps of sticky, clay mud.  Departing at 6:30am gives us a beautiful view of the sunrise.  It’s quite cold out with the temperature only 49 degrees.  The fresh, hot coffee is very welcome as is the hot oatmeal breakfast served on the flying-bridge.  Judy often tells me how happy she is and today she seems wonderfully happy.  She warms under a couple of blankets and enjoys this cruising life.  I join her in this happiness and love the sights, sounds, and excitement of traveling at trawler speeds.  As we traveled up the Harbor River passed McClellanville, we were passed by a bunch of boats all traveling together.  It appears to have been a SeaRay Club.  There were 15 to 20 boats all from this manufacturer and ranging in sizes from 25 to 44 feet.  The radio came alive from one mad woman on a sailboat ahead.  Her comments were not very nice toward these boaters that were leaving a pretty substantial wake.  We think that she must have become quite scared as her boat rocked about in the waves behind the speeding boats.  We felt that the group had been respectful to us and we understand that they have a difficult time reducing their wake waves to real low.  As she continued to vocalize sharply at the group, an unknown voice commented, “ Power boaters Rule – Sail boaters Drool”. 

This resulted in a period of silence on the radio.  I’m sure there were a lot of chuckles from that little comment.

We enjoyed the mostly calm waters of the South Santee River crossing, Four Mile Creek canal, the North Santee River, The Estherville Minum Creek canal, and the Western Channel of the Winyah Bay.  A little bit after noontime, we proceeded in to the Sampit River entrance to Georgetown, SC at mile 403.0.  We cruised and perused the area of Old Town and then proceeded up the Sampit River to Johnson’s Marina where fuel was to be quite a bit cheaper.  Well, when we got there, the marina was very remote and no one was around to assist us.  We called again and we were told that it would be at least an hour before anyone would be there to help us.  As we waited, we rinsed a lot of the salt accumulation off the boat and filled our water tanks.  As the time dragged on, we decided to leave and find another place more receptive to our business.  We called and made arrangements at the “Boat Shed Marina”.  The crew was standing by to help us dock and they were about the friendliest bunch of guys that we have yet encountered.  We fueled up and decided to stay docked for the night.  We walked to the historical district with many homes dating back to its founding in 1730.  It is a delightful area.  We enjoyed a late lunch at “The Old Fish house” restaurant. (the locals call it “the Tuna”)  I had flounder and Judy had shrimp, both seafoods were claimed to be from local waters.  The meals were served with black beans and rice, as well as cole slaw.  The beers were very cold and just like we like ‘em.

We strolled more of the historical district and then headed back to the boat.  We stopped at a little waterfront seafood shop called Independent SeaFood.  We bought two pounds of some locally caught shrimp.  They had all kinds of great seafood.  Back at the docks, we chatted with Larry and Darlene on “Adventure”, a SeaRay 500, 50 footer from St. Louis.  Another nice couple on a Defever 49, “Monet”, bound for Annapolis, MD was tied up near us.  I think their names were Don and Pam but my memory fails quickly with names.  Those folks with “boat cards” are appreciated because it reinforces the memory.

We walked back downtown after dark and enjoyed the lights of the homes and in the trees along the shops.  Back at the boat, we enjoyed a tuna sandwich to fill in from the late lunch.  Yummy.

We slept very, very well without the frequent interruptions of anchor checking.  It was cool and comfortable in the mid 50’s.

05/02/06   Tuesday   Georgetown, SC       Boat Shed Marina

It was about 6:50 when we heard a rapping on the boat.  The folks on Monet were ready to get underway and were soliciting our help in casting them off.  Larry from “Adventure” was there to assist also.  Soon we waved Good-bye to this lovely, big trawler.

We talked Larry and Darlene into joining us for breakfast at Thomas Café.  It was very excellent and the omelet was as good as I’ve ever had.  Judy had the French toast.  The conversation was fun and soon our friends had to leave to head for Myrtle Beach where they will golf with friends for several days.

I decided to use the morning to evaluate the new GPS installation.  I assembled the tools, components, and hardware necessary to install the unit.  Disassembly of the older unit and the assembly of the new unit proceeded but required a lot more wiring that I had expected.  With lots of stuff to do, we decided to stay right here in this lovely place another night.  Judy worked on various projects such as flag repairs, cleaning, and even designing and fabricating a screened cover for the rear companionway.  What a talented gal she is!!  The GPS is now up and running.  I will leave the final installation of the bundle accessories to another time and place.  I remounted the XM radio receiver to make it a nicer installation.  We cleaned and polished all the plastic isinglass on the bimini enclosure.  That’s enough work for one day, that’s for sure!

Cocktail time and then a much-awaited dinner.  Judy peeled and then sautéed those fresh shrimp tails and served them with al dente, farfelle pasta.  To make things extra special, she fixed her fabulous, southern-style corn muffins.  No restaurant would dare to compare with this culinary treat. 

Soon to sleep and to dream….


"AMARSE".  is pronounced "AM-ARE-SAY".  Our website is:   www.amarse.net   .

Check it out while we will attempt to keep you informed via email.  Please email us as we look forward to hearing from all of you, however…. (Please don't send us any email jokes since we have very limited email capacity and speed is slow).  Please DO email us with your thoughts and comments and ideas.  Thanks

Lot of Love,

Fred Reed and Judy Law