As long as I can remember, the Waterway’s infamous R32, between Cumberland and Jekyll Islands, has been one of those “hold your breath” portions of the day’s run. Captain Conrad offers suggestions and also requests information about a possible alternate route.
After reading your navigational alert [ http://cruisersnet.net/?p=104973 ] last night, I took good notes today as we crossed northbound St Andrews Sound near Jekyll Island and mile marker 690. You are correct, R32 is getting a shoal running near its eastern side and taking it on your port side when northbound will be dangerous. This route is also way out into the Atlantic where any wind and waves make a smooth passage a rare event. What I have done in my dozen or so crossing is make certain to arrive at a mid tide or higher. This is a good strategy with much of the Georgia ICW. With that advantage, I will line up next to G35 and run a line to the eastern most of three water towers on Jekyll Island (it is a small water tower). Until it is moved again, that is the same as lining up on R30. Today, with a slight rising tide, we saw nothing less than 10 feet of water depth while cutting across the eastern end of Horseshoe Shoal.
Another interesting alternative that I have never tried is leaving the ICW just north of R34 and heading west toward the Satilla River using a junction point just south of G7 and R8. If any of your readers have tried this route, I would be interested in learning about their success. It would certainly be an easier route into Jekyll Island channel.
Nordic Tug 42 True North
Currently in Brunswick, Georgia
Do you mean the “tank” more or less at the same latitude as #19 in Jekyll Creek?
Chris and Janet
I suppose but it is hard to tell since chart updates don’t do a good job of land based nav aides like water towers. If visibility is good, the eastern most of the 3 water towers on Jekyll Island will be apparent. If visibility is bad, use R30 or wait for a better day.
In regards to the posting below from Captains Jim and Peg Healy, their message conveys an intriguing alternative. On the one hand, it avoids the additional length and, at places, shallow depths, of the Umbrulla Cut Alternate AICW route, and it avoids going all the way out to #32 in the briny blue. And, Captains Jim and Peg are highly experienced cruisers who have a knack and a reputation for delivering accurate information.
HOWEVER, there is NO guarantee that the eastern tip of Horseshoe Shoal will not have built farther to the east by the time of your transit, and it is certainly possible that you might encounter shallower depths that what Jim and Peg, or the NOAA charts, report.
Therefore, we advise that ONLY adventurous mariners, and those whose vessel is equipped with a well functioning GPS chart plotter, undertake this shortcut, and, even then, be sure to proceed with the greatest caution!
Attached is a screen shot of what we do in transiting St. Andrews Sound. Sanctuary draws 4-1/4′ and we find this route carries 7′ or more at low tide. The red lines on the screen shot are various transits of St. Andrews Sound before we established the black “route” in 2009. There are several more tracks buried under the route line.
You can see that we went all the way out to R32 one time, early on. Too rough. We don’t do that any more.
Peg and Jim Healy aboard Sanctuary