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
A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!, Isle of Hope Marina lies along the northwestern shores of the Waterway in the body of a hairpin turn northwest of AICW marker #46A.
Loved this marina! Our first visit here, but will not be our last. Very friendly and helpful – loved the little town and Driftaway Cafe. Be careful to check operating hours, however. They were closed upon our arrival – we had made reservations on line and I had my home phone on contact so they were not able to let me know. Only tiny thing to say could use improvement is washer/dryer needs updating and the free roaming of a dog (boxer) who belongs to a marina resident.
Most of our postings dealing with Savannah speak of cruising west from the Waterway, up the Savannah to downtown Savannah, certainly a delightful sidetrip. SSECN Contributing Editor, Captain Jim Healy, gives an account of the areas around the Savannah River/ICW junction, including Thunderbolt and Tybee Island. Thank you Jim – definitely a good read!
Sail Harbor Marina is on Wilmington Island, GA. Their website is: www.sailharbormarina.com/
Enjoyed reading this post by Capt. Jim. We always enjoy visiting Savannah by boat. Bought our last boat @ Sail Harbor and had the yard haul and do some work after the survey. The bottom Job is still good now nearly 3 years later. Exceptional service and came in under estimate which is always good. Highly recommend their staff for repairs and service.
Skipper Johnson’s remarks parallel positive comments by other cruisers, as well as my personal experience there. Thunderbolt Marine flanks the Waterway’s southwestern shores just northwest of the small, charted square cove, south of AICW marker #35.
Had a stuffing box failure on the way north from Florida and was lucky enough to make it to Thunderbolt. Their yard treated me as if I was I was their only customer. Stayed at the marina after repairs were done and more than enjoyed the free donuts in the morning. Highly recommended.
Here are good words for Thunderbolt Marine as originally posted on Trawler Forum, http://www.trawlerforum.com/. Thunderbolt Marine flanks the Waterway’s southwestern shores just northwest of the small, charted square cove, south of AICW marker #35.
Thunderbolt Marina is only in walking distance to Tubby’s Tank House. However, they may still have donuts in the morning for transients. Out at Thunderbolt cabs would be my preference to get into town. They may have city bus service out there. I don’t know that they have a courtesy car.
Don on “Monstruck”
Here are good words for Isle of Hope Marina as originally posted on Trawler Forum, http://www.trawlerforum.com/. A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!, Isle of Hope Marina lies along the northwestern shores of the Waterway in the body of a hairpin turn northwest of AICW marker #46A.
Isle of Hope is a good marina, and sometimes has a loaner car, but walking distance to nowhere.
Don on “Moonstruck”
Our good friends, and SSECN strategic partners, Captains Mark and Diana Doyle, founders and owners of “On The Water ChartGuides” (http://www.onthewaterchartguides.com/), give us an updated, graphic report below, relaying what they discovered as they navigated through the AICW Hell Gate Problem Stretch on 11/20/13! Note that the Doyle’s soundings were taken near high tide, so to calculate MLW depths, you must subtract 7.8 feet from their figures. Applying this correction, Diana and Mark noted “multiple soundings around 5 feet at MLLW, southward toward R90.”
PERHAPS THE MOST USEFUL PART OF THE DOYLE’S REPORT, IS THEIR DISCOVERY OF A NEW, UNCHARTED MARKER, #90, LOCATED BETWEEN CHARTED MARKERS #89 AND #91! Be sure to observe the new #90 marker as you cruise through!
Incidentally, Diana and Mark have recently published a new edition of their immensely popular “ICW CruiseGuide.” Click on the book graphic to the above left for more details, and to place an order!
For those transiting Georgia, Hell Gate has a new, uncharted navaid that should help passage through the shallower sections of this perennial ICW Trouble Spot.
I’ve attached a printable high-resolution file of our November 20th survey report and depth-annotated track.
Hopefully, SSECN readers cruising this area will find the report useful.
Best and hope to see some of the Cruisers’ Net gang at this year’s St. Marys Cruisers Thanksgiving!
Captains Mark & Diana Doyle
Just transited Hell’s Gate on 11DEC2013. Delivery of 58′ power vessel with 5’4″ draft. Passed through at 0620, with tide at approx +2.2. Minimum depth noted was approx. 2.5′ under under running gear.
Captain Rob Welling
According to a spokesperson at the Delegal Creek Marina, their entrance channel MLW depths are 3 ft, with a tidal range of 8-9 ft, so mid to high tide would be the best time to enter Delegal Creek. Once in the creek, soundings improve, but clearly this marina’s entrance depths are an issue if your vessel draws more than 3 ft. Delegal Creek Marina’s entrance passage lies northeast of AICW marker #86. just north of Hell Gate.
Sanctuary and crew spent a couple of days at Delegal Creek Marina from 11/6 – 11/9/2013.
The entrance to Delegal Creek from the Vernon River/Ossabaw Sound IS NOT correctly drawn on the chart (US5GA24M) of the area; the land features have changed since the chart was produced. Cruisers can download a “local knowledge” satellite view chart from the marina website, or contact Billy, the dockmaster at Delegal Marina, for local knowledge. The region has a 6′ – 7′ tidal range, larger during celestial periods.
Sanctuary and crew entered Delegal Creek about 1 hr after celestial low tide (16h00, 11/6/2013), which wound up being equivalent to MLLW on our tide almanac. There is only one short stretch of shallow water on the entire route from the Vernon River to the marina. For about 20 – 30 yds immediately upstream of G’3′ and R’4′, we saw as little as 4.9 ft. at MLLW. Except for that stretch, water depths in Delegal Creek are not a concern. Minimum depths in marina slips are 6′ all the way against the inner wall. Depths at the fuel dock and face docks exceed 20 ft. The facility is very well protected, has floating docks, wi-fi, restrooms, showers and laundry. Broadband WLAN coverage is 4 bars and fast. Facilities are “newish,” well maintained and clean. Marina guests can get a “pass” from the dockmaster that allows access to all of the member-only clubs, including the several golf courses, in the Landings community. There is a small commercial center that has banks, ATMs, a food market, shoppes and restaurants. Golf carts are available for touring the Landings communities and Skidaway Island. Billy makes every effort to help visitors. This is an excellent stop.
Peg and Jim Healy aboard Sanctuary, Monk 36
When we were there July 1, I created a JPG graphic to show the route in. I sent it to the dockmaster so they could us it on their web site to help boaters feel more comfortable about the entrance.
Well since reading your post, I looked on their web site and now they have a fancy graphic of GOOGLE MAPS view showing the approach. It’s a PDF file that can be seen if you click on either of the following hyperlinks:
Delegal Creek Approach Chart
We also found this marina to be very CUSTOMER SERVICE focused. We arrived just minutes before a major thunderstorm. Needed to get milk and bread but didn’t want to take the golf cart into town because of the imminent storm. The girl working the dock actually knocked on our boat and offered to go to the store for us ! We were so grateful !
Captain Kipnis’s report agrees with a report from June of this year, http://cruisersnet.net/?p=117878, but does not agree with a report from earlier this month, http://cruisersnet.net/?p=125114. However you choose to rely on these reports, SSECN advises that you take Captain Kipnis’s advice and navigate this Problem Stretch at mid to high tide.
With a 2′ tide, we saw between 4.3′ and 4.5′ midchannel between G89 and G91. Wait for mid-tide on this one! We have a 3′ draft and found only 1.5′ under our keel. At low tide, we would have been aground.
Came through here this morning (10-9-13) from the North at 8:25 AM (2 hours past low tide). Read 8.6 feet abreast of marker Green “89 and 9.2 feet abreast of marker Green “91.” I steered center channel for the entire passage.
Bob Poovey m/v Threadbare
Over the first part of September, 2013, there has been an interesting discussion on the American Great Loop Cruisers’ Association Forum (http://www.greatloop.org/) as to the usability of Wassau Sound Inlet, which pierces the northeastern Georgia coastline a few miles south of the Savannah River inlet. From the AICW, the most practical approach to this seaward cut, is to leave the Waterway at marker #40, southeast of the Waterway – Herb River intersection (just a short hop south of Thunderbolt, GA), and then follow the wide but scantily marked Wilmington River channel to Wassau Sound, and eventually to this sound’s inlet.
Personally, I wouldn’t think about attempting this passage without a well functioning chart plotter aboard, outfitted with the latest charts, and, even then, only with light winds and good weather in the offing!
My real question is, does anyone use or are the inlets between Thunderbolt and Brunswick usable for a 5 ft draft? Assuming a calm day.
I see many are marked by buoys, but does that mean that you can follow the charts and not have a problem ? I would like to run out of Delegal Creek and run to St Simons.
I realize St Simons entrance is not a problem as it is a shipping channel.
Bob and Libby
I used Wassaw Sound inlet last about two years ago. Beyond G9 and R10, I had trouble finding the movable marks over the bar to R2. Latest chart shows the channel bending quite sharply to the south and that is how I recall we found the movable marks. Take it slow in good visibility at half tide or higher the first time.
There is plenty of water once you know where the channel really is. My first time through in a sail boat 10 years ago didn’t work out so well, spent about four hours at the bottom of the tide cycle with our keel on the bottom.
Olivia, To get the latest information you might contact Sea Tow or TowboatUS for that area. The buoys are constantly being moved because of shoaling and if there are steep seas running, they are hard to find because they are spaced far apart and get lost in the troughs of the swells. The inlet should only be used in calm conditions.
Last year, after Hurricane Sandy had passed the area, I was helping a friend move his 48ft Island Packet (5ft draft) south to Miami and we used, with no issues, Wassau inlet. We had spent the night in Thunderbolt. The marks are far apart but a chart plotter helped keep us oriented. Wind was 15/20 WSW with a good 4-5ft chop once we were away from the inlet. Tide had just ebbed at Thunderbolt and current was light and with us as we came down the river, and while a bit confused, there were no standing or breaking waves at the inlet. The inlet was no issue for our offshore capable boat. If you look at the mast heights of the really big sailing yachts in maintenance at Thunderbolt then Wilmington River/Wassau inlet is most likely what they use as they can’t get under the 65ft bridge just to the north and have drafts not appropriate for the ICW travel to the south.
My name is Kevin Quinn. I keep my boats on the Wilmington River and I am out on the Wassaw Sound every week. I have a USCG Masters License with a Sail Endorsement. I would be glad to help anyone wanting to make this passage down the Wilmington, through the Wassaw sound and out the inlet. I will help you on the phone, Email or on board. 912-355-0737
According to a spokesperson at the Delegal Creek Marina, their entrance channel MLW depths are 3 ft, with a tidal range of 8-9 ft, so mid to high tide would be the best time to enter Delegal Creek. Once in the creek, soundings improve, but clearly this marina’s entrance depths are an issue if your vessel draws more than 3 ft.
Delegal Creek Marina’s entrance passage lies northeast of AICW marker #86. just north of Hell Gate. The advice given below is courtesy of the AGCLA Forum.
Have you, like me, bypassed Delegal Creek on Skidaway Island, AICW 601, because you couldn’t figure out how to enter the creek and get to the marina. Don’t fret, call the dock master or look on their website. The marina is first class, the staff very helpful, a courtesy golf cart will take you to get provisions and to restaurants as well as a tour of the island. It is worth the extra effort to call ahead and even ask for a “follow me” boat to come out and lead you into the creek. We did and they were wonderful. You won’t regret this stop.
According to a spokesperson at the marina, the MLW in the entrance to Delegal Creek is 3 ft with a tidal range of 8-9 ft, so mid to high tide would be the best time to enter Delegal Creek. Once in the creek, there is plenty of depth, however the entrance channel is an issue if you draw more than 3 ft. The entrance channel begins northeast of waterway flashing daybeacon #86. just north of Hell Gate.
Call ahead to Delegal Creek for a really nice stay. They do have room for a boat like yours, but you must ride the tide. The island is really neat. They have a free golf cart that you can take to the village. Really nice.
If you can enter and leave at half tide or more you would enjoy Delegal Creek Marina just North of Hell’s Gate. This is about two hours South of Thunderbolt as there are no-wake zones in the area AND they are looking for speeders ($300).
Thanks to our good friend, Captain Jim Healy, for this summary of cruising tips and recommendations covering the long trek north or south on the AICW between Brunswick and Thunderbolt, Georgia. Captain Jim’s excellent article below is reprinted from the AGCLA Forum (http://www.greatloop.org).
Brunswick (Morningstar’s Golden Isles Marina) to Thunderbolt (Thunderbolt Marina) is 93.9 StM miles, which we do, nominally, in 10-11 hrs, depending on tides. Not too bad in July, with longer hours of daylight. Requires planning in November, with shorter hours of daylight. It would be around 100 StM miles from Brunswick Landing Marina in downtown Brunswick to Thunderbolt.
This stretch has some of the shallowest water on the entire US East Coast at low tide. The tidal range in the region is 6 – 7 feet. At 4-1/2 ft, you won’t have a problem, but it would be most desirable for you to make the transit with high tide at mid-day. That way, you depart on a rising tide, travel with good water, and arrive before low tide. Said another way, avoid the Little Mud River +/- 2 hours of “neap,” low tide, and +/- 3 hours of “spring” low tide; in English, that’d be +/- 3 hrs around new moon/full moon.
There are many, many exquisite anchorage options along that route, including the Duplin River, Crescent River and Walburg Island. There are just a few marina choices. Marina reviews are all fair-to-good, but navigation for a larger boat, particularly near low tide, *may* be tricky, so call ahead to whichever on you select if marinas are your thing. Just north of Brunswick is Hidden Harbor on Troup Creek. Across the Ogeechee R. as you come through Hell Gate, northbound, is Delegal Creek with Delegal Marina (pronounced: deli-gal). There is a sandbar at the entrance of Delegal Creek, and Delegal Marina will send a boat out to meet you and guide you in. At approx MM613 is Kilkenny Creek with Kilkenny Creek Marina. Kilkenny has a reputation for being a particularly “quaint” stop in rural outback Georgia. And just 45 min-to-an-hour south of Thunderbolt is Isle of Hope Marina. There are several Marinas in Thunderbolt; we use
Thunderbolt Marina for easy access, good facilities and daily Crispy Creme donuts delivered to the boat in the morning by 07h00. Both Isle of Hope and Thunderbolt Marina are good places to stop longer for a visit to the City of Savannah. THERE IS A LOT TO SEE AND DO IN SAVANNAH. DO NOT SKIP SAVANNAH! My admiral prefers the Thunderbolt locale to the Savannah City docks, which she feels are too public, although I prefer the City Dock for excellent convenience to downtown. (As I said, we stay at Thunderbolt Marina. Admirals outrank Captains except when the ship is under way on the water.)
Hope this is useful.
Peg and Jim Healy aboard Sanctuary
The AICW follows the narrow, man-made canal known as Hell Gate between the Vernon and Ogeechee Rivers. These waters have been an “AICW Problem Stretch” for years.
I transited Hell gate on 6/22/13 enroute from Thunderbolt Marine to my home at Ft McAllister on the Ogeechee River. I have made this passage many times in the past as I’m a “local” and it is part of my cruising area. I have a Bristol 29.9 CB which only draws 3.5 feet, so I was not concerned at transiting at low tide. However, this time I was mistaken. I made the passage at 1500 hours which by my estimate was low slack water. Tide tables indicated a very low -0.9 tide. I always follow the same “established route” on my GPS, so I know that I am always on a route that has been successful in past. As I traveled south between G89 and temp R90 my depth sounder went from 5 feet to 3 feet and I slowed from 6 knots to 3 knots. I estimate that I was plowing a furrow for 200 feet or so, before I started to get more water under my keel. Fortunately, I didn’t go hard aground as the bottom was obviously silt and loose sand. Everywhere else on that trip through Hell Gate the minimum depth that I saw was about 5 feet. Hope this post helps some cruisers.
The poorly marked entrance to Delegal Creek Marina leaves the combined paths of the AICW and Vernon River, immediately north of the infamous Hell Gate section of the Waterway. Captains Chuck and Claria give GOOD advice below for successfully navigating the tricky entrance passage.
The article below is copied from the American Great Loop Cruisers’ Association Forum!(http://www.greatloop.org/)
I’ll second the vote for Delegal Creek Marina, at MM 600 on Skidaway Island. Yes, it can be a little tricky getting in there the first time, their channel markers don’t line up with what’s on your chart plotter. Go to http://www.landings.org/delegal-creek-marina-3284 and then click on Delegal Creek Map under Marinas tab for directions on getting in. If you’re coming in with less than + 3′ of water on the tide table, call the marina office for instructions, and if your still a little concerned as to where the deepest water is they will come out and guide you in.
Then if you want a special treat for dinner, call Renee at 912-598-7929 and order Chicken Pot Pies delivered to your boat. Call her a few hours before you get there and she will deliver them hot, if you wait to call her until you get in late in the afternoon, they will be frozen. Of course, a delightful dinner at one of the club houses is always a special treat as well. An inexpensive stop you will enjoy, $.94 per foot with Boat US discount. We now stop every time we go by. It’s a nice 61 mile run from our home in Beaufort, SC.
Chuck and Claria Gorgen
We echo Chuck’s comments. The only thing to add is that the current can be tough for docking, especially a single screw. With that said, it is a definite stop and try to time for slack tide, especially when leaving. Dock master is excellent for giving advice on how to dock.
On 4/22/13, as part of a NE Florida – Georgia Wish List, we posed the following question:
Statute Mile 597 – Who has abandoned the AICW south of marker #79, and cruised upstream, then anchored, on Vernon River near charted Beaulieu? Please describe your anchoring experience here.
Vernon River? Been there, done that, loved it. Good holding ground. I stayed put through the squall seen in this SBO post:
I had two anchors out. The less experienced crew of a boat nearby just threw out one without really setting it and they only moved a little bit.
Next time south, I plan to explore farther up this river.
On April 18, 2013, I anchored in the area referred to as Breakfast Creek. Plenty of room and good holding bottom. It was peaceful and quiet. Will definitely stop again.
As of 4/24/2013 at 08h55:
Egg Island tide data: H – 07h32
At 08h55: +6.6 against + 7.6 on my Garmin CP almanac…
Readings: NB, One-half way between G91 and R89: 13.4′
At R90: 15.1′
At G89: 14.1′
100 yards north of G89: 12.8′
So, control depth at normal low would be 12.8′-6.6′ or 6.2′. Less for celestial low tides.
Peg and Jim Healy aboard Sanctuary
Currently at Beaufort, SC
Monk 36 Hull #132
Statute Mile 590 – I know many of you have spent a night or two at Isle of Hope Marina. Please describe the marina and your experiences here. Did one of the local restaurants provide complimentary transportation to and/or from the docks?
Spent one night at Isle of Hope in early April. Two courtesy cars. Allowed to retain keys for one overnight to transport a sick pet to a veterinary clinic the next morning. Office stayed open late for our arrival. Gave good information on restaurants and allowed use of courtesy car in evening for transportation to restaurants. Said one of the restaurants provided return transportation but did not pick up. Approximately 1 mile walk to restaurants. Marina in excellent condition. Highly competent, friendly, and helpful staff.
Spent the night of 4/17/13 at Isle of Hope. It was our second time here. Has many positive attributes-Great dock hands, long face-dock, OK facilities, courtesy cars. You can use cars till after 5 pm. Have mixed feelings due to my problems using their fuel pump, too much air in fuel for my slow speed pumping (can’t slow the fast speed pump). Web advertisement says bring a buddy boat and get a discount. The buddy boat signed up first and after discussion were given the listed discount. When I signed up, no way was I going to get a discount. May stop again but other marinas to try first.
Is always a good experience.
Raymond W. Smith
We stayed at Isle of Hope marina for 3 weeks in November/December 2012 while my husband was treated for an infection from a cut on his hand. He was in the hospital for 6 days. The marina staff were very supportive, friendly and helpful. I would have liked it much better if the bathrooms were cleaner. I only used them once and showered on the boat after that! Dinner at the Driftaway Cafe in nearby Sandfly was delicious. We went back twice for the Tybee tuna!
We had a great experience there. Lovely area to walk around. They provided a courtesy car to get some shopping done. Staff was very nice.
We have moved our boat there from Chattanooga because of the location and staff! Marina is set in a beautiful neighborhood and you feel like you are walking out of your house to your boat! Quiet area and everyone is so friendly.
Drift away is about a mile away but there are 5 other restaurants and a nice Piggly Wiggly grocery.
Just 1/2 of a mile away we always get greeted by Dolphins.
As part of a 4/22/13 NE Florida – Georgia Wish List, we posed the following question:
Statute Mile 583 – If anyone has docked this spring at any of the marinas in Thunderbolt, GA, particularly Thunderbolt Marine and/or Bahia Bleu, please tell us about your experiences here. Did you dine ashore at Tubby’s Tank House? How did you find the bill of fare?
Stayed at Thunderbolt Marina in early January. Stopped there with a radar problem. The yacht yard arranged for an electronics technician to be available to address our problem upon arrival. The technician was able to diagnose the problem but did not have parts to fix the problem that evening. The marina was well maintained and clean, had extremely helpful staff, and provided free donuts and a newspaper in the morning in time for our early departure. Ate a late lunch at Tubbies – a huge very good fish sandwich that was very good but bigger than both our appetites. Service was very slow.
We spent a night at Thunderbolt Marine on our way south earlier this year and plan to spend a couple of days there on our way north this Spring. The floating docks are easy to tie to and facilities are first-rate. You can hop a bus a couple of blocks away that will take you to Savannah. We had a very enjoyable lunch at Tubby’s, which is a very fun place with great outdoor seating.
Have stayed in Thunderbolt several times this Spring. Once at Morningstar Bahia Bleu and twice at Hinckley Yacht Services. Stayed on the facing docks at both marinas. Plenty of water and easy approach. Bahia Bleu is a “real” marina and has some nice facilites, although the bathrooms/laundry are all on the 2nd deck of the building. Hinckley is a boatyard (wonderful boatyard by the way) so facilities are a little more spartan, i.e., no laundry. We’ve gone to Tubby’s Tank House restaurant everytime. Good food and a lively spot. Very short walk from Bahia Bleu and about half mile from Hinckley
o/b Great Escape
53 DeFever POC
I spent 2 weeks at this marina [Thunderbolt Marine] and found it very pleasant and the personnel more than helpful. We dined at Tubby’s 7 times in a 2 week period. They have a great $5.00 lunch, but you need to get there before the 12 noon crowd. On Thursday night, there is an oyster roast for about 1hour outside the bar area and is supposed to be free, but donations are accepted. Happy hour beer is priced right all day long in the bar.
Philip W. Mullins (Phil)
If you go south on the Wilmington River from where the AICW joins the Skidaway River, about a half mile down is Turner Creek. In the creek right on starboard is Sail Harbor Marina Boatyard. It is certainly not fancy, but a great value. And they did very nice work on our boat.