Thursday, March 28, 2024

day fifteen - the last sound

Morning comes clear and crisp.  46 degrees and a strong enough north wind that I tie in a single reef.  Sail off anchor 7:20.  Working against the ebb tide I round up and shake out the reef.  Making 4.2 leaving the Amelia River.   I notice the red navigation markers are back on the right side to starboard.  

7:50 making 4.6 are the river curves to the south.  Less wind and against the tide, gps shows 2.8 kts.  

8:35 pass the railroad trestle and slip under the bridge.  Quickly see I've crossed the head of the tide and making 5.0 with the now helpful ebb tide.

I see the tug LINDY LOU coming up on my stern.  I radio the captain and identify myself.  I can't get out of the channel, there is no room, so I tell him I'll sail as close to the red side as I can.  He responds, says "I'll give you a slow pass."  I thank him.  

Passing Red 28 making 5.5 kts with wind and tide at my back.  8:55 strong gusts.  There is a barge and tug coming up from the south, not enough time to reef so I round up, bring down the main and tie it to the boom.  Plenty of wind, who needs a mainsail?  Making 5.7 mizzen and jib.

10:05 enter Nassau Sound.  10:20 deep enough water that I can cut across the shoal to head south.  

10:25 the water is boiling as tides collide at the mouth of Clapboard Creek.  In the creek. round up and drop anchor in the mouth of Gunnison Creek between a shoal and the marsh.  Raise a single reefed main, raise the anchor and back out on Clapboard Creek.  Making 3.3 against the opposing ebb tide.  

11:00 see a ketch, the MORGANA out of New Orleans.  She seems to just freeing herself from a shoal.  I am almost even with the boat when she becomes free and could easily pass her.  But I worry that she'll be on my stern the length of the creek.  I turn to port to let her get ahead.  The captain thinks I'm coming over to say hello but I just wave to him to keep on going, I want to be behind her as I figure she'll be picking up speed.   

12:00 Sisters Creek Bridge in sight over the marsh.  12:50 pass beneath the bridge, 1:00 on the St. Johns River.  Making 3.1 against the ebb.  1:25 a series of strong gusts, round up to tie in the second reef.  Making 3.2.

1:50 I see a ship heading up the channel behind us.  I am far enough ahead that I can cross to the green side and get completely out of the channel.  Two more ships and a couple of tug boats pass by, we keep to the south outside the channel, plenty of room.  

3:10 shake out the second reef.  3:50 round the bend at Green 57, can see the buildings of downtown Jacksonville.  Making 3.0.  4:25 crossing a tide line.  Steady sailing south, wind over the port quarter.  5:45 round up at the southern end of Exchange Island and motor into the anchorage.  Anchor down at 6:00 just as it gets dark.  Tired, hungry.

 34.97 NM

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