Anchoring off Cumberland Island, GA AICW Statute Mile 711.5
One of Claiborne’s favorite side trips along the southern Georgia portion of the AICW was to leave the Waterway at marker #34 and cruise up the Cumberland Island channel to anchor off the west side of Cumberland Island and east of Drum Point Island. I am not sure if this anchorage is where Perry McDonald dropped hook, but I am very sure that Perry was experiencing the true essence and joy of cruising and that you will enjoy his observations!
We recently anchored (s/v Rasselas) with my friend Fred (s/v Rhombus) for a couple of days at Cumberland Island, GA. Cumberland is unique from most islands in that it offers abundant wildlife (horses, deer, hogs, eagles, hawks, etc.) and 18th/19th century ruins (Dungeness) not to mention a beautiful long beach one can leisurely stroll or reserve one of the Park’s bikes for several hours or miles along clearly marked bike paths.
I arose early the second morning taking note of the sounds and sights while lazily sitting in the cockpit of the boat. I first noticed the calm still water surrounding our boats as the sun made it way above the horizon to welcome this sailor a new day. At first the water seemed motionless but upon further examination you could see the ever slow current carrying a number of barely visible particles glimmering in the water as the sun rose. I noticed a school of bait fish making their way along to the shore and then a splash as they came under attack. This only lasted a few minutes and then the water return to the stillness I had been enjoying. Soon I heard the sound of an osprey in search of food maybe for itself or possibly some hungry nesting young. It was soon joined by several other ospreys. Then one of the birds swooped down with great speed and grace and plucked a fish from the water and flew off to the tree line. By this time my morning cup of coffee was gone and the temperature was rising so I decided to dangle my feet in the cool water from the swim platform. To my amazement I was soon visited by a group of dolphins frolicking nearby but became curious about who might be anchored in the their waters. To my astonishment they came within feet of my feet as if to say good morning and welcome to our home. They would return several more times during my stay. On the shore some of the island’s famous wild horses moseyed along the shoreline feeding on the tender green grass revealed by the low tide. When you think you have heard and seen all there is–there is more. The sky above Rasselas filled with high pitch squeals of two magnificent bald eagles circling above as if performing a ballet of sorts. They flew in perfect unison scouring the waters below much like the earlier ospreys in search of meal. They soon vanished as they had appeared. Not long after the eagles disappearance the calmness and quietness of my surrounding were soon to be interrupted by the blasting horn from the arrival of the first Cumberland Island ferries depositing a small number of early arrivals to the island. Soon to be joined by the first if several sightseeing tour boats loaded with anxious tourists wanting to take that perfect picture or maybe just one of several selfies. Next to Rasselas lies Drum Point Island and it was beginning to become awash in the wakes of the passing boats as the morning passed.
Before I realized it was time to find a shady spot to hide from the noonday blazing sun ending my account of the sounds and sights (14-15 Oct 30, 2018 of my incredible morning anchored at Cumberland Island.
Perry is a retired LTC and sails s/v Rasselas (Hunter 36) with his wife. When not cruising and exploring the southeast coast and nearby islands they.live in St. Augustine, FL.