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Motoring from St. Simons to Cumberland Island

Gascoigne Bluff public dock

From our day trip from Two Way Marina we found that the house batteries we not holding a charge and there was a significant voltage drop after a short period. This meant we had to replace the 4 Deep Cycle Golf Cart batteries which each weighed about 80lbs. We would lift the batteries into the dinghy and row over to the public dock at Gascoigne Bluff which has a LONG pier and I had to hoist a battery on my shoulder and make 4 separate trips back and forth. Who needs a gym?

I searched high and low to find deep cycle Marine Batteries with at least 100 Amp Hours per battery. I could find one or two, but never four in one place. I tried Walmart first and was recommended to a Riding Lawn mower shop. They suggested an Auto Parts place, who suggested a motorcycle recreation vehicle store, which suggested a golf cart repair shop. All to no avail! Finally after coming back from the golf cart repair shop I passed a Tractor Supply Company store and stopped since I was right there. Sure enough- they had four deep cycle marine batteries each with 105 Amp Hours.

This whole battery schlepping ordeal took two days to install and return the old batteries for the $40 core credits. I couldn’t take out all the house batteries or we would be without power overnight.

We finally got the boat squared away and lifted anchor the morning of Janaury 6th, 2009. Hil was at the helm and we motored across the St. Andrews Sound and past Jekyll Island. I motored between Jekyll and Cumberland and Hil took care of Emma James below. Fog rolled in across the sound and you couldn’t see much more than a hundred yards. I tracked the GPS and compass pretty closely to stay on track. Another sailboat was motoring faster than me and passed me- which was a relief that someone else was in front of me.

A motor boat came out of the fog and cut across my bow when he saw me. I think it shook him up more than me- he slowed down to a crawl after that. We had to use our air horn crossing the sound. It was an ominous hour to cross at 4 knots boat speed. As soon as we reached the outer channel marker and turned back towards Cumberland Island the fog started to lift and it turned out to be a very pleasant afternoon.

We anchored for the night mid Cumberland in a wide spot in the river just outside of the markers. We had 16’ of water at high tide which still leaves us 10’ at low tide and we only draw 5’5”. We settled in for the night and had a hearty dinner after a long day. I sometimes sleep in the salon so I can check our anchorage throughout the night. Tonight I did so because I wanted to keep an eye on any traffic coming up the river. We had our anchor light on and two solar lamps on the bow to make us a little more visible.

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