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