|A canopy of oak trees leading to the dock and our anchorage|
|Giant live oak trees gracing Cumberland Island|
|the remains of Dungeness mansion that burned down in 1959|
|Boardwalk to beach (aka Cumberland Island National Seashore)|
|Armadillo, oblivious to our presence|
|Wild horses foraging close to our boat|
After four days of complete solitude, we decided to move up the river for a change of scenery. It was a little windy, about 15-20 knots, but how bad could it be on this tiny river? Little did we know.
No sooner had we left our anchorage than we hit a mud bank and ran aground on a rapidly outgoing tide. The relentless wind, gusting to 25 knots, kept pushing us further into the mud bank. We finally gave up and called TowBoat US for help.When they arrived, they couldn't pull us out until the tide came back in. So while waiting, the Captain went out to monitor the situation and take some pictures. The mud was so soft he sank into it knee deep. A dolphin swam close by, poking its head out of the water, as if to ridicule us.
A few hours later, Tow Boat US returned to tow us back to our previous anchorage. The boat ran fine, much to our relief. We stayed put for a couple of days to recoup our energy and confidence before moving to Jekyll Island HarborMarina to fuel and provision.
As most cruisers know or will learn soon enough, this part of the ICW is narrow and shallow, and Georgia has some of the greatest tidal range, as much as 8 feet. Since the Army Corp of Engineers maintains the ICW (if at all, depending on funding) at about 10 feet deep, grounding is not uncommon. Read more about the idiosyncrasies of the ICW at Top 10 ground rules on the ICW and a cruiser's trip in Passage Maker magazine. Cruiser's net also has reports of grounding problems near this location, complete with charts.
Cumberland Island remains at the top of our list of favorite cruising destinations. If we had to do it over again, we would still choose to explore uncharted territory. Our lesson learned is to pay more attention to the wind and tide, and never ever fight with Mother Nature.
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