St. Augustine to Fernandina Beach — April 11, 2013

We left early from St Augustine because of the mileage to get to Fernandina Beach (62). The sky was cloudy during the early morning and from the TV weather forecasters you would have thought there would be showers in the afternoon. Well as the day went on the sky went to partly cloudy and we had some sun.

The wind was light in the morning but got stronger as the day went on and caused us two problems or potential problems. The first was about a mile from Fernandina Harbor. We were following a catamaran and he followed channel around the buoy and then started to straighten out and head directly for the marina and not the next marker. He slowed and started to back track and while all this was going on I slowed and waited to see what he was going to do. He finally got over to the right of us and I started to proceed and go around him. Well it is a good thing there was a Tow Boat US in the channel because he hailed us on 16 that we were headed for a shoal and I was able to make a hard right and get back to the channel without a problem. What I had not realized was while we were waiting to see what the catamaran was going to do, the wind blew us out of the channel and although I was headed to the correct marker I was not in the channel.

The second item was the docking. The wind was out of the southeast and the dock runs north-south. They told me to go to the inside of the dock and they did caution me that the wind would blow us onto the dock. Well it certainly did and unfortunately we bumped the dock hard. We had 2 dock hands trying to do everything they could do to help but there was no damage and that was good.

The overall trip up the ICW was fine. We passed a few slower boats but there was not a lot of traffic. When we left St. Augustine we had about 3 miles to the inlet and the tide was coming in. Instead of the 8+ mph speed we have been normally traveling, we were at 6.7 mph going against the incoming tide. After we passed the inlet, the tide boosted us to about 10 mph. We were up and down with the speed all day but the tide helped us more than they hurt us.
We passed thru the Jacksonville area. Never really get into Jacksonville because it is on the St Johns River and the ICW crosses the St Johns near the inlet. Jacksonville is a couple of miles inland. North of Jacksonville the ICW is predominately marshes along the shoreline. The Amelia Island area has some very nice homes but it is not continuous along the shore of the island.  Fernandina Beach is on Amelia Island.

Well, Fernandina Beach is the last stop in Florida and we will be headed into Georgia tomorrow.  Still waiting for a weather front to pass but hopefully that will happen this afternoon or tonight.

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