We anchored in the Frederica River in Georgia — a winding ‘side road’ of the waterway that passes by Fort Frederica .  Maybe someday they’ll finish rebuilding their dock so we can go ashore and visit.  We intended to go further today but after a conversation with another boater regarding bad shoaling in the Little Mud River, we decided to anchor earlier in the day and wait for a rising tide to transit that spot.   Once again, storms circled around and missed us.  The sunset was subdued–it was just a small square of sunlight in the sky.

Sunset - Frederica River

After leaving Vero Beach we motored north through several bridges to anchor near Daytona.  We’ve anchored in the same spot 3 times.  It’s a little tricky to enter but once in deeper water, it’s okay.  The wind was really blowing and I was concerned about anchoring there.  It turned out to be good as there was only one other boat and plenty of swinging room. 

Daytona at sunset

We left Daytona at sunrise to head for a spot north of St. Augustine.  There were plenty of warnings about shoaling at the Mantanzas Inlet so we asked some motor boats that had passed us for information on the depths.  We followed the advice on the Cruiser’s net  and made it safely through.  The Bridge of Lions is still a construction site in St. Augustine.  It looks to be much further along this year.  They tore down the temporary bridge.  I still can’t believe they did all that construction and still have a drawbridge!  

The wind was blowing really strong in the afternoon.  I was hoping that the anchorage near Pine Island would be protected–not so much…  We dropped the anchor and as the boat swung around it the wind, we were aground.  It was low tide so it really wasn’t a problem but we still moved away from the banks a little.  The wind was gusting up to 30 knots as we watched a big blob of rain and storms move across the radar.  Luckily, we were on the edge of the storms and they eventually passed by.  I really don’t like being at anchor in such strong winds.  

We left at sunrise to head towards Fernandina Beach.  As we approached the final turn with a strong current behind us we thought we were home free–not so…  A sailboat in front of us went aground in the middle of the channel.  A few seconds later we were aground too.  A motor boat that passed before us advised to stay on the right side of the channel for deeper water but that was wrong.  I saw 2 motor boats approaching us and hailed them on the radio to let them know we were aground.  I asked the first boat to give us a good wake so that maybe we could bounce off the bottom and get free.  It worked!  We cautiously navigated out of there–whew!  I felt bad for the boat that was still stuck.  We talked to them later and he didn’t seem to concerned.  They had to wait a few hours for the tide to rise enough to get free.  

Pine Island at sunrise

We tied up to the dock at Fernandina to fill our fuel tank and pump out our holding tank.  Afterwards, we moved a short distance down their long face dock to spend a few nights exploring the town.  The people at the marina were so nice and helpful.  Now that we’re in strong currents and tides, docking is very tricky and we appreciate their help. 

After some snacks and a hot shower I felt like a new person.  We walked around town and chose Pablo’s for dinner based on Bob and Phyllis’ recommendation.  They served the most amazing Margaritas and the food was delicious.  We chatted with the waiter about types of tequila and later he brought us shots of the owner’s own home-made tequila to try.  I’m not much of a tequila expert but it was good (and I really slept good that night!) 

While at the marina Skip got to talking to the guy on the boat next to us — a 62′ Hinckley ketch.  He was the full-time engineer for the boat and was working on replacing the water hoses.  Skip is planning to do that on our boat (we had another hot water hose pop off on our crossing to Florida!)  He showed Skip what he was doing and gave him some good advice.   The boat was beautiful — one of only 4 that Hinckley made. 

I spent a leisurely morning checking out all of the shops and I also got a much-needed hair cut.  While strolling around we saw cruisers that we knew–Ed and Ann from Windswept Dreams.  We agreed to hook up later for dinner.  The whole town was getting ready for their annual shrimp festival.  Local people told us that it brings in over 200,000 people for the food, music and other events.  We were still planning to leave on Friday as the marina was booked and we needed to get moving north.  We did get to see the parade on Thursday evening–lots of pirates and people in shrimp costumes!  Dinner with Ed and Ann at Le Clos was outstanding.  I had the shrimp dish, of course! 

Curious fish outside a shop

We got going early this morning to begin the trip through Georgia.  Most cruisers try to bypass Georgia and go out in the ocean but I think it’s beautiful.  I saw so many dolphins and sea birds today.  It’s a slow trip but very scenic.  We should make it to Charleston by early next week.

Leaving Fernandina