Northbound 2021 – #5: Fernandina, FL to Thunderbolt, GA


Travel Summary

Conditions: Clear and cool, 67° to start, Sunny & breezy, 77° to finish.  Southeast winds 5-10 kts, seas 1 – 2 ft 

Distance traveled: 93 nautical miles

Time underway: 9 hours 40 minutes

Average Speed:  9.6 kts

Max Speed: 10.4 kts

Today’s goal, was to be able to avoid as much of Georgia’s ICW as possible. The ICW through Georgia is notorious. The path winds back and forth for miles.  Some say that you travel 15 miles just to get a mile south.  When you combine the meandering ICW with the tides, it makes for an experience that most people don’t want to do twice.  Tides through Georgia can swing an easy 8 feet, making for strong currents that can push you aground and leave you high and dry until the next tide comes in.  So, today’s goal was to leave Fernandina early, head for the ocean and run up to Thunderbolt (at the very top of Georgia).

Leaving early, is now the norm.  It was a really nice morning, no wind to speak of and the waters were calm.  Perfect day for an ocean run, so at 7:10 am we were off the dock and on the move (a little later than we had planned).  We took the inlet at Fernandina out to the ocean (at least this time, we didn’t get stopped by a submarine).

The ocean was not as calm as we’ve seen it but it definitely wasn’t as bad as the Gulf crossing.  And no cabinets dumped onto the floor, a win in my book! The seas were only around 1 – 2 foot, not bad at all.

During the day, we came across a pod of about 30 dolphins, which was really cool to see and a huge sea turtle.  Which of course, yet again, I was unable to get pictures of.

Everything went according to plan until we hit the Wilmington River inlet (an outgoing tide on the low side and plenty of shoaling made for an interesting approach).  Of course, by the time we got close to our destination, the tide had completely fallen and some of the markers were even high and dry.

We finally pulled into Bahia Blue Marina in Thunderbolt, GA about 5:10 pm, after hours.  Luckily, the dockhands offered to stay to help us tie up, which was a huge help – we tipped then generously and were grateful to do so!

Categories: Adventures, Life AboardTags: ,

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