Phaedo and Ms Barbados whizzed, dueling across the Caribbean and Mighty Merloe slid down the coast of Mexico. The big ones strutted their stuff in the sunshine and breeze of warm tropical waters. The two MOD70’s in particular dazzled with their sprint around the islands.
While the millionaires raced blazing and expensive across azure seas, we took our more modest little boat out for a spin on St Simons Sound Georgia. The sound is located in the Golden Isles of South East Georgia halfway between Jacksonville and Savannah and is formed between the mainland, St Simons Island and Jekyll Island. Those of you familiar with the Atlantic ICW will have been thru this area on your way south or north. The wind was 8-12 knots from the South East, blowing across an outgoing but diminishing tide. Scattered showers wandered in off the ocean. We took Maravilla out of her winter slumber a few days ago and this was our first foray from her new home at Morningstar Marina.
Its always a challenge the first time maneuvering at a new port and we checked conditions with care to make sure we both knew what to expect as we left. The current was a strong ebb, the wind pushed us off the dock – so we slipped our lines, cast them off together and blew back and out. Numerous dock denizens warned us of the shallow sand bar we would have to traverse immediately off the dock to our stern, so we steered close to the boats behind to stay deep. The current surprised us as we spun from reverse to forward, caused a hair-raising near miss with the far dock – but all ended well and we sped away to set sail.
Main and jib set, we tacked our way down the ship channel, past the St Simons pier and light. Picturesque St Simons is even prettier from the water and as we made our way to sea, we spotted familiar land marks ashore. Its tricky navigation here as you can become em-bayed by foot deep sand bars more than a mile off shore. Even a shallow draft trimaran cant cross a breaking sand bar. We worked our way out marveling at the breakers so far from shore. A young Northern Gannet, white with black flying feathers wheeled and dove on small fish just offshore. We turned and jibed our way back down the channel and into the sound. After a long board across the top of Jekyll and down the ICW, we jibed one more time and had a cool, fast reach across the Sound back to the marina. A short, simple spin around the bay on our trimaran – nothing epic – quiet, tranquil and refreshing.
We docked without drama, and sat in the cockpit as a small rain shower swept over Jekyll Island and across the main land. As the sun set, a beautiful rain bow formed over St Simons.
There is compelling history here, Blackbeard is said to have sought shelter among these islands. German U-boats sank tankers leaving St Simons sound within sight of shore during World War 2. And the US Federal Reserve system was created here by five members of the Jekyll Island club (whose mansions still stand surrounded by live oak and Spanish moss).
It is a pretty place too is coastal Georgia – sleeping in the sun while thousands hurtle past in hurried and aggressive traffic on I95. But, the absolute joy of wandering is to slow down and make the effort to get to know a place. To explore properly, you have to stop and learn the history, experience the natural beauty, know the people. There is no better way to this than by sail, and the Golden Isles of Georgia are best explored – as most places are – from the quiet deck of a sailboat.