Thursday, April 1, 2021

day eight - Hell Gate and other passages

Anchor up at 6:30, the creek very narrow at low tide.  Out on the Skidway River after a few minutes of motoring, sails up with a light north wind.  Chilly. Making 1.0 kts.

As the sun comes up the wind fills in, 2.4 kts.  Turning at a bend in the river I see a stately mansion with columns, then more house on the bluff and a marina.  It's the Isle of Hope, much earlier than I expected.  

I really don't need fuel but the fuel dock is literally yards of way to the channel, an easy place to top off the can.  The marina is just opening so I wait a few minutes down at the dock.  A man comes down from the marina and tops off can, doesn't seem to mind the effort for a $2.15 sale.  

Full sail at 8:10, warming up and making 4.1 in the building breeze.  More wind and gusty, making 4.9.  Round up in the lee of some trees and tuck in a reef, making 4.7 under reduced sail.  Looking for a turn to starboard I'm already thinking about tucking in a second reef.  I make the turn and sail a few hundred yards looking for a marker that isn't there.  Checking the gps I see I turned too soon, entering the to Moon River.  Come about, back to Skidway Narrows where I round up to put in a second reef before turning on to the Burnside River.

It's just a few minutes on the Burnside before it flows into the Vernon River.  From there I can look to the southwest and see Ossabaw Sound.  Very solid wind over the port quarter, I can see a distinct tide line off to the left and wonder about the tides but it doesn't really matter as we are making 4.3.  A large eddy is swirling off the port.  Very choppy entering the sound, maybe wind against tide but I'm not sure, making 4.0 in the rough water.  

Just after 11:00 turn to starboard to line up the markers to Hell Gate.  The name doesn't fit this morning, calm water as we sail by Raccoon Key.  Even calmer on the south side, wind on the starboard quarter and making 5.0.  Lighter wind and shake out the second reef at 11:40.

At 11:55 we turn slightly to port to enter the Florida Passage, still making 5 kts.  12:50 a light overcast, lighter winds, doing 3.7 wind aft of beam on the calm, beautiful winding creek.

Afternoon wind swinging to the east, a series of tacks the width of the creek before turning south.  Lighter wind and full sail at 2:00, making 4.4.  One last tack and we have a straight shot to St. Catherine's Sound.

Into the sound at 2:40, making 6.2 into with the east wind forward of beam.  There seems to be a marker missing at the furthest point east on the sound but I can clearly make out the shoals.  Once past them I round up to bring down the main.  Downwind mizzen and jib at 4.6 and spectacular sailing.  

We follow the markers to the North Newport River, entering it at 3:40, rounding up to raise the full main.  That is too much sail, round up again to tuck in a reef.  

We follow the winding Johnson Creek, touching bottom briefly when I lost track of the channel.  Off Cattle Pen Creek round up to bring down the main and jib.  

The first part of the creek is 11 feet deep so I motor a few hard yards until the depths are about eight feet.  Anchor down 5:10.  GPS shows 35.83 nm for the day, a good ride.  Chili Mac for dinner.  Tired.

1 comment:

Tom said...

A good day, but I'm dreading tomorrow... Well, as you wrote, it's all part of the adventure!