We left Brunswick on Saturday–at last!  It was a nice place to hole up during bad weather but we were ready to move on.  The weather was sunny, calm and warm as we motored the 30 miles to the anchorage off Cumberland Island.  Crossing the St. Andrews sound, we passed Sandy and Meryl on Amber Marie who left early in the morning.  The main excitement on this trip is coming through a narrow creek that hasn’t been dredged in a while.  We were warned that the red markers were not in the right place.  As we approached, I used the binoculars to see how the boats in front of us went through.  They kept to the green side of the channel, almost on the shore.  We followed their lead and missed the shoals.  A while later, we heard Amber Marie and another boat on the radio.  They both went aground.  Later, Sandy told us that a friendly couple on a small motor boat helped them off.  We really do meet the nicest people on the waterway!

Amber Marie

Later in the evening, Joe (Onward) came into the anchorage.  We invited him and Sandy and Meryl over for dinner.  My cruising skills are rusty–I need to practice hosting!!  Skip cooked a turkey tenderloin on the grill and I sautéed sweet potatoes and fried some okra (for the first time.)  It all turned out pretty good!

Sunday morning, we took Bailey ashore for a walk.  He loved the quiet trails under the massive moss-covered oak trees.    The beach was even more fun.  We walked on the beach and saw our first wild horse in the distance.  We walked by the road that leads to Greyfields Inn —very private—known for being the location for JFK Jr’s wedding.  Coming back along the “main street” a bicyclist told us he had seen a bobcat about a mile up the road.  After that, I was so worried about Bailey being bobcat bait that I couldn’t wait to get back to the boat!

Cumberland Island
Bailey with his shadow and reflection

After lunch, Joe picked us up and we dinghied to the southern dock which is closer to the ruins called Dungeness.  Cumberland Island is a National Park.  Visitors arrive by boat and can camp there for up to a week.  We learned all about the island and the Carnegie family that lived there from a short walking tour with a ranger.  There are a few private homes, wild horses, armadillos, raccoons and other wildlife.  The mansion where the Carnegie family lived burned in 1959.  All that remains are the shells of ruined buildings.  I must have taken 30 photos of the horses–you’d think I’d never seen a horse!

wild horse
Ruins of Dungeness

After coming back to the boat, we stopped by to say hello to Mary Ann and Pete on Micmac.  We met them back in Belhaven and have been communicating through our blogs.  Some other cruisers we met last winter in the Bahamas stopped by to see us.   We hope to see them again next week in Vero Beach.  We’re having much more fun traveling the waterway this trip–meeting new people and seeing folks we met last year.  Joe invited us for dinner–yummy pasta with meatballs along with way too much red wine!

We woke up earlier than the alarm and got ready to leave in the early morning light.  The highlight of today’s trip was seeing the Space Shuttle launch.  We were about 100 miles from Cape Canaveral and could see the bright orange flames atop the plume of smoke climbing into the sky–really cool!  After seeing rocket launches all my life on TV, it was exciting to actually see it live.

Space Shuttle launch

It’s starting to feel like summer, especially since we’ve now entered Florida waters.  I saw plenty of dolphins and a large turtle today but no manatee sightings yet.  Several of the high bridges had fierce swirling currents below them with opposing currents of about 3 knots–not fun!  I made Skip take the helm to get us through.  We anchored behind Pine Island amongst about 12 other boats.  Tomorrow, we’ll head about 10 miles to a marina in St. Augustine.  We’re having a mechanic look into a refrigeration problem that we’d like to solve before leaving the US.  Hopefully, we’ll see Mike and Angie (Lady of Lorien) there tomorrow.