We had a fairly short trip today of 56sm. Our timing had us traveling through a low tide and a few shallow spots particularly at the south side of Ramshorn Creek, took a bit of hunting for "good water". Otherwise we had, for the most part, a favorable current which increased our speed by 1.5mph.
Traveling along the ICW I keep our chart plotter on "statute miles" instead of "nautical miles because that is how the ICW is measured. Easier to keep track of things; otherwise we use nautical miles.
Ever different, on this trip we have been surprised by the number of bald eagles we have seen. Four yesterday, of which one few close enough to touch, unfortunately could not get to the camera in time.
We found this one sitting on a shore line of drift wood.
Today is our decision day. Which way to go. Our options include a brief outside run to St. Simons Island or an inside run in the ICW. Either way it would be a long day of about 87nm and the need to time a bridge near the Isle of Hope Marina were we are for tonight's stay. The complicating factors are both weather and tides. Unfortunately there is a front coming through and the waves will kick up offshore making that option unattractive. Doable but not fun.
The inside run includes the notorious Mud River which is one of the worst spots, if not the worst spot on the waterway. There is a 7 foot tidal swing and the typical recommendation is to travel only on a mid-to-high tide. There are sections at low tide that are reported to be 4 ft or less. On some ICW blogs others report depths ok often giving conflicting advice on how to navigate to find good water.
Last year we opted to go off shore around this spot when going south and when going north we have gone offshore. The wind and waves make this less appealing and we have decided to go the ICW all the way.
The Mud River is 68sm from the marina we are staying in and the low tide is predicted to be at 12:28pm. Given the tidal range we would like to hit this area no sooner than 3pm. That adds about 3ft of tide to the overall depth and we think we can skirt through ok?
We plan on leaving the Isle of Hope Marina at 6:30 am, a slack current at high tide and go through the Skidway Bridge at 7am thus avoiding rush hour restrictions in effect until 9am. From there we will go slow to time our arrival and once through will kick up our speed to get to the nights' stop at St. Simons Island.
We could anchor for the night at one of several good anchorages and time our arrival to a high tide, but honestly I have some reservations about our anchor (that is story for another day).
If we can eek our way through Mud River that is our preference. If we have reservations, we will drop anchor in Tea Kettle Creek?