Monday, February 16, 2009

February 16, 2009

Turkeys on Cumberland Island. We must have seen 20 or more; some on the ground, some in the trees.

These things are just plane dumb. Bill threatened to hit one in the head with a stick and have me cook it.

Some of the shells I left behind on the beach. In fact, I left them all behind.

Flora of Cumberland Island. Actually, yellow jasmine. Especially pretty in February.

The blue thing in front of the Kingsley Plantatation house is Bill. The house originally had two symetrical chimneys, but the yankeys who bought it tore one down. The next winter they discovered why there were two.

We are in Florida! Yippee! I should be warm, but I’m not. The wind has been blowing from the north at about 20 knots. The temperature would have to be about 90 degrees right now for me to feel warm… and it is not 90.
We made it through all the shallow spots in Georgia: Hell’s Gate, the Florida Passage and the Little Mud River. We timed our passages to be on a half tide or better and rising to help us stay off the bottom. We arrived at Cumberland Island, Georgia on February 13th. The trip down the Brickhill River behind the island was lovely – birds, trees, marsh, water, and not a house or other soul in sight except for a pack of a dozen or so kayakers who we figure paid more for the experience than we.
You may have been asking yourself, what exactly do I do all day while Irish Eyes travels along? Bill gave me a super deluxe pair of binoculars for Christmas, so I find all the unusual birds spending the winter in the south. Some of these birds are really smart to come to Dixieland for the winter; it’s even colder up north. The 14 power binoculars have gyroscopes in them. All I have to do is press the correct button, and the bird I am looking at stops shaking, well, not the bird but its image in the binoculars. I can actually look at the bird and compare it to its picture in the bird book and be sure I saw what I thought I saw. Anyway, it keeps me entertained. (She also reads the For Sale signs, checks out the couples on the beach, spies on the passing boats, and examines the houses along the way. Bill)
We spent two nights anchored off Cumberland Island. On February 14th, Valentine’s Day, we took the dinghy to the Park Service Dock off Plum Orchard, a large house built by some of the Carnages. The house wasn’t open to the public, but we could wander the portion of the island owned by the National Park Service to our hearts’ content. We walked over the Atlantic Beach side. We saw turkeys, armadillos and lots of flora. When we got to the beach, I found several conch shells (some with very recently deceased with smelly animals inside), sand dollars and other lovely shells. I decided we didn’t need smelly shells for the next four months on board, so I left it all behind on the beach. Just as we started our walk back to the other side of the island, it began to rain. It rained pretty hard, but being hardy sailors, we arrived back to Irish Eyes wet, cold, muddy, but not daunted. It was a very nice way to spend Valentine’s Day. All you Boy Scouts, parents, or such; there isn’t enough money in the world for me to sleep on the ground on Cumberland Island. Too many creatures were crawling about for my taste.
Sunday morning we made our way into Florida stopping for the night between Fernandina Beach and Jacksonville in the Ft. George River opposite Kingsley Plantation. Bill and I had been there years before in Canary, our 22 foot sailboat. We inflated the dinghy and went ashore for a brief tour of the buildings and grounds. Not much had changed since our last visit in 2003. The ranger said they were in need of funds to complete the restoration of the main house and open it to the public. Still, it is a nice place for a visit.
Tonight finds us anchored in the Matanzas River near its inlet to the ocean. There is an ancient Spanish Fort off our stern. I can’t imagine why there should be a fort here. If we go to the exhibit tomorrow, maybe I will find out why this miserable, shallow, current infested area needed defending. For tonight we have two anchors down, supper and a warm bed.

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