We had been watching the weather all week wondering if the tropical depressions stirring in the Caribbean were going to spoil things, but by Friday morning it looks like the weather would cooperate, if a little windy.
On Friday morning our canvas guy showed up and installed the canvas he was making for us – helm chair covers, dingy cover, cockpit bench seat cover and windlass cover. All looked great.
We left late afternoon on Friday, cleared the lock and headed north on the ICW. After crossing the St John’s River we approached the Sister Creek drawbridge which is now permanently open as they have replaced it with a new bridge. We were a bit worried about the barge under the bridge as the space left for boats was, shall we say, a bit skinny! The barge operator told us to come on up and if it didn’t look like it would work he would move the barge. We decided we would be OK so went through with about two feet to spare on each side.
As we expected for a Friday Fort George anchorage was empty, so we had the freedom to pick our spot. Right at sunset a center console came out of the Little Talbot Island side of the river and promptly tried to cross the sandbar and went aground. We watched as the two people on board tried to push off without success. Since we were only at the two hour mark of an outgoing tide they would be spending most of the night. So Paul jumped into the RIB and headed down to see if he could help. They got it floating and Paul, knowing the river very well, told them where to get deeper water. He jumped back in the RIB only to see them hit again. Again he helped get it off, but they went aground a third time! This time when they got it off Paul went ahead of them in the RIB and brought them around the sandbars and out! By this time is was dark and as you can imagine they were more than thankful.
On Saturday we had some friends come up, park at Kingsley Plantation and come on board for some water fun and lunch. We were entertained by some peacocks and a gaze of raccoon on the shoreline.
We had an enjoyable evening at anchor, marinated flank steak on the grill and a bottle of red with some Billy Joel and Rod Stewart on the Bose!
We had not yet decided when to head back on Sunday. Given the tides we either had to leave at 8 am or stay until 3 pm. We decided to see what time we fell out of our bunks and go from there. Suffice to say we decided to stay until the afternoon! In fact we were glad we did as it was a glorious day. Still windy but sunny and warm. We walked the sandbars, did some chores on the boat and just simply relaxed sunbathing on the foredeck. We also pulled out the charts for the Bahamas and started planning our spring trip to the Exumas!
Getting ready to leave Paul was on the bow taking off the anchor snubber when he heard a “HELP!” Turned around and there was a man and a child of around 10 floating by in the middle of the river holding on to a skim board. Paul shouted to them asking if they needed help and the man said he wasn’t able to swim against the current. Paul quickly jumped into the RIB and went and lifted them out of the river and took them back to the sandbar. We are definitely owed some Karma after this weekend!
We arrived back at home dock around five, cooled off in the pool and decided that we had another great weekend!
All of the photos are in the attached YouTube video. Enjoy!