Captain Healey’s excellent description of his passages through St. Andrew Sound has been prompted by the lengthy discussion (see referenced link below) of the Waterway’s dogleg turn at Marker #32 and he offers an alternative route to avoid Marker #32 where the water can get very rough because of its proximity to the open ocean.
Reference: SSECN link: http://cruisersnet.net/
I guess I missed this discussion when it was hot. At the risk of “getting myself in trouble,” I confess that I do not go east as far as R”32″ when we transit the area of St. Andrews Sound. Instead, we skirt the eastern end of the charted shoal that extends westward from the mouth of the Satilla River towards the inlet. That shoal is labeled “Horseshoe Shoal” on the chart. I know my path is off the charted magenta line, but as we all know, the magenta line is only a guide, and often wrong as waterways have changed since it was first created.
I have attached two screen shots (Vector and Raster chart views from Coastal Explorer). The screen shots show both our “preferred route” (black line) and 4 of our tracks (light red lines) as recorded over the past several years. The tracks are dated: 4/23/ 2008, 5/16/2009, 11/9/2011 and 4/24/2012. In settled conditions, we go out at Doboy Sound and come back in at Fernandina or Jacksonville. That skips a lot of Georgia shallow water, and it’s easy-out, easy-in. That’s why there are some migrations that don’t show tracks.
To my personal knowledge, the depth of the “shortcut” that I’ve shown has been stable over at least the last 5 years, and generally carries 3′ – 4′ more water than charted, adjusted for tidal range at the time of our passage. We have transited that route at several tide stages, and I’ve never had occasion to worry about depth. We draw 4-1/4 ft, and have never seen less than 7.5′-8′ in that area. My one concern would be if seas were up from the east. In 2′ – 3′ seas, at low tide, I’d just swing a little farther east around the tail of Horseshoe Shoal. Or, take the route through Floyd’s Creek. In any case, it “is not* necessary to go out to R”32″ before turning south to the ICW off Cumberland Island.
I am not advocating or encouraging others to do what I do. Every captain has to decide what’s right for them. But, this is what I have done and it has worked well for us. We’ll be headed south in another 3-4 weeks. I will let you know what we find.
Hope all is well! Jim
Peg and Jim Healy aboard Sanctuary
Currently at Rock Creek, Pasadena, MD
Monk 36 Hull #132