Please Note That Postings Below From Fellow Cruisers Are Listed in Chronological Order, Based on Publication Date
Yellow Background Denotes Navigation Alert Postings
Please Note That Postings Below From Fellow Cruisers Are Listed in Chronological Order, Based on Publication Date
Yellow Background Denotes Navigation Alert Postings
Longtime cruiser and SSECN Contributing Editor, Captain Jim Healy, shares his knowledge and experience in these observations on this portion of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. Thank you Jim!
Contributing Editor, Captain Jim Healy, shares his perspective on Fernandina, FL, home to two SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSORS. Thank you Jim!
Reports of shoaling south of Fernandina Beach have been coming in for several years and prompted a USCG Hazard Warning in May of 2014 (http://cruisersnet.net/?p=140702). Our thanks to cruising writer Robert Sherer, New Intracoastal Waterway Cruising Guide, for sending this survey and waypoints to guide you through the shoals.
Fernandina Shallows with two GPX routes for 9 to 10 MLW
The shallows south of Beach have been a bane on cruisers schedules for years and yet there are two deep water paths through the hazard. The problems are the two unmarked shoals: one in the middle of the apparent route as you turn south around G1 and another one on the east bank just south of G1. The third shoal just north of G3 now has a red buoy to mark its location. If buoys were placed to direct boaters away from the shoals, then there would be no issues having a 10 MLW passage through the area.
After a dozen passages through the area, I mapped out a green side route for 9 MLW that many have used successfully. Last fall the Coast Guard asked Taylor Engineering of Jacksonville, FL to do a survey of the area and recommend a new route so the appropriate buoys could be relocated to provide safe passage. I was given a copy from Bill Aley of Taylor Engineering along with waypoints. This fall I used those waypoints to verify a 10 MLW route. So now we have an embarrassment of riches, two paths through the shallows, each one with 9 to 10 MLW.
The Taylor Engineering Survey is shown below:
Contrast that chart with a NOAA ENC chart below showing both the survey route (dotted line) and the green side route I posted earlier shown in blue which I’ve taken many times for 9 MLW.
Note the differences in the two routes as you round G1. The survey route (dotted line) would seem to take you into the shallows if you believed your chart but it doesn’t, the chart is wrong (shifted). Just look at the Taylor Engineering chart with their route plotted on a satellite view. At some point the buoys will be moved to direct boaters through the dotted line route.
I have two GPX files available, one with the green side route and one with the survey route (dotted line). With either the Fernandina shallow passage should no longer be a problem although it does appear that the survey route has more leeway in route width, besides we will be following that route at some point in the future anyway when the Coast Guard marks the new route with buoys.
The GPX files (standard disclaimer, user assumes all responsibility):
– For the Taylor Engineering Survey: tinyurl.com/gvmwrmd
– For the Green side passage posted earlier in the year: tinyurl.com/hnvfjo2
5/20/16 Bob received this reply today from Bill Aley of Taylor Engineering:
Thanks so much for the information and the route verification. We’re still working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Coast Guard to get the buoys moved, and to do some minor maintenance dredging to get a nice clean channel through the area. I hope for all of this to be done by this fall. The information that you provided will be very helpful in my ongoing coordination with the Army Corps and the Coast Guard.
The log of Traveler takes us to Fernandina Harbor Marina, A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, that puts you right in the heart of the many wonderful things to do and see in this special port.
5-7-16 Now at Fernandina Harbor Marina. On inside of breakwater (face dock) where anyone would want to be unless too big. Joshua, dock hand, very good—LISTEN to him as the current can be interesting– especially at fuel dock. Saw a nice crash between 2 60+’ boats even after the negligent one was warned off. But again, one of my top 5 places to stop. If u have bicycles, then in for a treat. So many things to see and do here. Fresh seafood store right on the docks and the restaurant there is great!!! Marg’s even better than Coastal Kitchen at St Simons! One of the busiest marinas we’ve seen– in a nice way. Lot of foot traffic on the docks and the historic town is right across the railroad tracks for anything– especially lot of wonderful places to eat– or ice cream!! Only concern was that we came in fairly close to low and the south end of the breakwater- where you have to enter- is very shallow. Stay very close to the south end of the breakwater. Wifi not good at all but we were warned about that.
Charlie and Jackie on Traveler.
Reports of shoaling south of Fernandina Beach have been coming in for several years and prompted a USCG Hazard Warning in May of last year (http://cruisersnet.net/?p=140702). Our thanks to geologist, Bill Aley, for sending these surveys to assist in guiding you through the shoals. See http://cruisersnet.net/?p=153488 for further advice.
And, thanks to Robert Sherer, we have the lat/lon locations of the turns indicated in the survey below with WP1 being the first heading south:
Note corrections to WP 2 and 4 below, thanks to Mike. Note also that our chart centers on WP 4.
This posting is what prompted me to email Taylor Engineering asking for more detail, namely the waypoints for the route turns. I wanted his numbers rather than trying to interpolate from the chart. He was gracious enough to provide them. Perhaps we can nail this section of the ICW so it will never again cause agitation for boaters!
At the request of the Florida Inland Navigation District (FIND), I’d like to share the attached figure with you. The figure illustrates an area of shoaling in the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway within Nassau County, FL that is a potential navigation hazard.
The PDF file depicts some very recent mapping that shows naturally deep water to the west and south of the currently marked channel in this area. Taylor Engineering is currently working with the FIND, US Army Corps of Engineers, and US Coast Guard to relocate the federal channel and corresponding red channel marker #18 and green channel marker #1 to direct navigation traffic towards the deeper waters.
Bill Aley, P.G.
Taylor Engineering, Inc.
10151 Deerwood Park Blvd.
Bldg. 300, Suite 300
Jacksonville, FL 32256
Phone (904) 731-7040
Direct (904) 256 -1313
The entrance channel leading to Amelia Island Yacht Basin, A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, cuts into the Waterway’s eastern shore, immediately north of the Kingsley Creek Railway Bridge and just south of Waterway marker #13. Only gasoline pumps are out of service!/p>
Reports of shoaling south of Fernandina Beach have been coming in for several years and prompted a USCG Hazard Warning in May of last year (http://cruisersnet.net/?p=140702). Our thanks to cruising writer Robert Sherer, New Intracoastal Waterway Cruising Guide, for sending these charts and waypoints to guide you through the shoals.
There is a 10 ft MLW path through the shoals south of Fernandina that I took on October 28, 2015.
Depart channel 300 ft before R16 aiming for the tongue of deep water shown on chart (Garmin) at a heading of 275M for 17.8 MLW.
Run along the 12 ft contour line next to shore until the tongue of deep water ends as shown on the chart, then aim for G1 which will be at 245M, pass by 30 ft for 13.4 MLW, higher along the way.
Important: do not turn immediately around G1 (shoals), continue for 170 ft, then turn due south for 500 ft before turning towards deep water as shown on charts on the green side close to shore. Run just outside the 12 ft contour line down to G3 and G5, 200 ft off. 10.4 MLW entering the 12 ft contour line, deeper after that.
This passage is difficult because you’re avoiding three shoals:
– one is in the middle of the marked channel in the bend that’s down to 3 MLW
– the second one comes out off the eastern shore just south of G1
– the third one is further south coming off the western shore
None of these are marked.
After six years of passing through here, I’ve settled on the above description, it works for no less than 10.4 MLW. The depths were adjusted for not only the tides but also for the higher than normal water levels as reported by the Fernandina weather station. This passage would be easy if buoyed properly, the route has been constant for the pass five years.
A chart of the route:
For those wanting the exact path, here are the waypoints with the usual disclaimers (things can change on the ICW)
N 30° 39.804
W 081° 28.596
N 30° 39.805
W 081° 28.730
N 30° 39.853
W 081° 28.938
N 30° 39.803
W 081° 29.082
N 30° 39.713
W 081° 29.084
N 30° 39.613
W 081° 29.030
N 30° 39.409
W 081° 28.968
N 30° 39.254
W 081° 28.970
N 30° 38.824
W 081° 29.024
Author of “2015 ICW Cruising Guide” available on Amazon.com
Daily blog at fleetwing.blogspot.com
The entrance channel leading to Amelia Island Yacht Basin, A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, cuts into the AICW’s eastern flank, immediately north of the Kingsley Creek Railway Bridge, and just south of Waterway marker #13. Skipper Herl’s report relates a visit before dredging was completed, see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=139385
Amelia Island Yacht Basin
The crew there is great and the restaurant “The Galley Pub” was very good. Just stopped in to get a snack but ended up with a huge juicy hamburger and all the fixins. Yum-yum.
They are in the process of dredging [now completed] the canal and basin to improve the depth but did not know what the time line would be for completion.
Here’s an article with which we can easily identify and a nice tribute to our friends at America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association. Published by Joe Weston in the Columbia Daily Tribune, Columbia, Missouri. Fernandina is home to Fernandina Harbor Marina, A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!
Early morning on the Intracoastal Waterway
By JOE WESTON
Sunday, May 24, 2015 at 12:00 am
Columbia native Sally Tull Logan and her husband, Clay Logan, are in the midst of an ambitious boat journey called the Great Loop. The Loop involves circumnavigating the eastern half of North America by water, with most of the passage being on the Intracoastal Waterway, or ICW.
Loopers, as they are called, live on their boats for the entire journey, which might be in the 3,000- to 5,000-mile range, depending on side trips. I was fortunate to join them in the Florida Keys last year and on the ICW from Jacksonville, Fla., to Charleston, S.C., this year.
Being on the water affords opportunities for many spectacular sunrises and sunsets, as well as treacherous storms. This scene was more subdued but still beautiful, as sailboats in the lifting fog reflected the sunrise at Fernandina Beach, Fla. The only motion was a solo bird hunting for unsuspecting breakfast at dawn.
My family has been vacationing in Fernandina for more than 50 years and it gets better every year, as Skipper Pink obviously confirms! And a berth at Fernandina Harbor Marina, A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, puts you right in the heart of the wonderful things to do and see in this special port.
We never go there without eating at LuLu’s, nuff said.
The palace bar, where the ship captains of yesteryear drank, don’t let the bar (front room) fool you, the opening behind the bar that looks like a kitchen opening leads to other rooms and entertainments. 2-3 years ago now I think when we were there last.
My family has been vacationing in Fernandina for more than 50 years and it gets better every year, as Skipper Dammeyer confirms with his discovery of a great bakery. And a berth at Fernandina Harbor Marina, A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, puts you right in the heart of the wonderful things to do and see in this special port.
Just made a great find. The favorite bakery of passing cruisers up Center Street closed a couple of years ago, but a new one just opened 4th of July in Fernandina. Nana Teresa’s Bake Shop had lots of treats and sweets. Open from 10-7, and located at the corner of 5th and Ash, one block South of Center street, around the corner from the court house. The crew at Timoti’s Fish Shop sent us over there for desert. Cruisers with a sweet tooth stopping at Fernandina will find it worth the walk from the marina.
Jim King Park is the newest of Jacksonville’s dock/boat ramps and is still undergoing construction of some phases. The ramp is used as headquarters for the Greater Jacksonville Kingfish Tournament, and is closed to the public during the tournament. The facility is located just north of the intersection of the St. Johns River and the Waterway. All of the facilities are new and the docks are listed as unlimited as to size of vessel. Skipper Reeves sends two good photos of the new floating docks. Sisters Creek bascule bridge has a 24ft closed vertical clearance.
For a listing of the facilities, go to:
This shoaling seems to lie two miles south of Fernandina Beach harbor just north of the Waterway’s turn into Kingsley Creek.
NOTICE that the USCG has established a “TEMP Buoy 2” to mark these shallows!!!
FLORIDA – AICW – ST SIMONS SOUND – TOLOMATO RIVER – FERNANDINA BEACH : Shoaling
There is excessive shoaling visible at low tide in the vicinity of Fernandina Beach LT 3 (LLNR 37990). The Coast Guard has established Fernandina Beach TEMP Buoy 2 in position 30-38-54.689N 081-29-03.486W. Mariners are advised to exercise extreme caution while transiting the area. Chart 11489 LNM 19/14
For cruisers wanting to make a side trip to visit historic St. Marys, GA, the St. Marys River departs the Waterway at statute mile 712. This reported shoaling is in the dogleg just a mile east of St. Marys docks. The charted shoal between markers #6 and #8 would suggest that favoring the east side of the channel would be best. For more on the St. Marys River, go to http://cruisersnet.net/?p=123715
GEORGIA AND FLORIDA – CUMBERLAND SOUND – FERNANDINA HARBOR TO KINGS BAY – ST MARYS RIVER: Shoaling.
There is excessive shoaling protruding approximately 15ft into the channel between St Marys DBN 6 (LLNR 6805) DBN 8 (LLNR 6810). The Coast Guard has re-established St Marys TEMP Buoy 6A in position 30-42-52-379N 081-32-00.613W. Mariners are advised to exercise extreme caution while transiting the area. Chart 11503 LNM 19/14
In December of this year, after a personal visit to this facility, we reported that SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, Amelia Island Yacht Basin, was awaiting the arrival of a new, high-volume dredge that would be permanently located here. Amelia Island has always offered superbly sheltered dockage, and full on-site services, including repairs. The rub has been depths both on the canal-like entrance channel and in the dockage basin. Well, all that will begin to change very soon.
While attending the just completed MTOA Spring Rendezvous in Fernandina Beach, I again made a personal visit to Amelia Island Yacht Basin, and had a most informative conversation with General Manager, Bill Galloway and Office Manager, Kristen Galloway. I was very pleased to learn that the NEW DREDGE HAS JUST ARRIVED! Some piping must still be delivered, but in a few weeks, dredging of the entrance channel will begin.
Bill explained to me that this new dredge can “do in a few hours what took our old dredge a few weeks to accomplish.” While it will take a bit of time to get the entrance channel and harbor to the depth targets set by marina management, once that is accomplished the on-site dredge will only need to do a bit of maintenance dredging from time to time.
Wow, what a wonderful improvement to an already excellent facility. We’ll keep you informed as the dredging operations proceed!
The entrance to Alligator Creek Anchorages lies north-northeast of the ICW’s unlighted daybeacon #36. The two recommended locations are above and below the mouth of Alligator Creek.
I’ve been here on two occasions, the first time during a howling northwest wind of 35 to 40 MPH and ducked in between the sand bar and shore in about 12 feet of water, just up from the cut. The trees did a great job of sheltering me from the wind and waves.
The second time was in March of 2013, the wind was howling from the southeast, and the tide was screaming out. I anchored in the same location and it became real bumpy. Nice place, though.
Ice cream is often the most sought after commodity whenever going ashore, regardless the time of day. When in Fernandina Beach, enjoy the recommendation offered by Skipper Susan Landry, co-owner of Beach House Publications, publishers of “The Great Book of Anchorages,” (http://www.tgboa.com)
Fortunately, you don’t have to go far into Florida to get your first fix. Fernandina Beach houses probably one of the most visited ice cream shops along the Waterway. About four blocks from the marina, this gem, Fantastic Fudge, makes and sells fudge and other candy. Their Birthday Cake ice cream is some of the best that I have ever had. Fantastic Fudge proudly sells Florida’s own Working Cow ice cream. You will likely find a line here, which is fine. One, you get more time to make up your mind and two, you know it must be good if this many people are waiting in line for it. I have to recommend the Raspberry Haze.
Captain Reeves’ recommended anchorage lies on the east side of Sisters Creek just north of the Waterway’s intersection with the St. Johns River and north of the Sisters Creek Bridge on Heckscher Blvd.
There are two parks on the west bank of Sisters Creek, one is the Joe Carlucci Sisters Creek Park and Boat Ramp on the south side of the bridge and the second park, on the north side of the bridge, is the Jim King Park and Boat Ramp, the newest, and still under development, Jacksonville City Park.
Nice place to anchor for the night. 30 23 719 N 081 27 406 W
if you are going South on ICW go to port 100 yards past marker G85 10-11 ft of water at low tide. Open to North. Look for flagpole at park across the way and stay out of channel, 100 yards off eastern shore for a good spot. Park is said to have water and pumpout?
Public park is just across the ICW with a place to dock, Daytime only! and walk your pets. We did not explore past a short walk. Bridge is just to the south. Holding is good. Current is fast. We had no problems. Note FWC was ticketing the boats that were not obeying the no wake/minimum wake zone.
This morning we discovered that a free face dock is also at this park. Just opposite of the G85 marker is a creek with a dock and walkway, childrens play area and restrooms. The free dock is posted for 72 hours and has water, but no electricity. This is a Jacksonville City Park. We did not see any shopping.
Pic of this AM sunrise attached:
Fort George River provides one of the most historic anchorages in Florida, as you can drop the hook within sight of Kingsley Plantation, and then dinghy in for a tour. Captain Thomason confirms earlier reports that swing room might be limited in this anchorage. See http://cruisersnet.net/?p=21897
On another subject, I would like to recommend that folks don’t anchor east of Kingsley Plantation House near the Kayak landing. We had successfully anchored there before, but on this trip, we anchored mid-channel in 16+ ft of water at high tide. During the night a NE wind came up and blew is up onto the beach which slopes more gradually than the shore in front of the house. Suffice it to say, we spent an uncomfortable couple of hours sitting in the dark on the high side of our trawler watching the starboard side of the boat go down with the tide. We have been blown to the south side of the river in front of the house and still had enough depth.
From now on we will anchor in front of the house!
We rode out a tropical storm about 6 1\2 years ago anchored off the plantation house and the sandbar. The storm was an early season storm that caught us off guard, forming and coming across Florida in 24 hours!! We weathered the storm fine; one boat drug anchor and re-anchored, another shredded their roller furled jib. Not a hurricane hole for sure!