Friday, April 10, 2009

LOST ON THE ICW

Yesterday we traveled from St Mary's Georgia to Jekyll Island, Georgia, a distance of about 35 miles on the waterway. I had looked ahead on the charts and saw that we had to cross Jekyll Sound and go a little bit out into the Atlantic Ocean to continue on the waterway.

Usually the waterway is rather narrow with lots of channel markers to guide you where the channel is and where it is too shallow to go. On the ICW heading north you keep the red markers to the left and the green markers to the right and usually you can see from one marker to the next and lots of times you can see a whole row of them.

However crossing this sound that was not going to be the case and so I prudently entered the needed data into our GPS navigational device and when we entered the sound I followed the direction it told me to go.
As anticipated the markers were too far away to see and so we were motoring blind so to speak.

After what seemed like too long a time, no markers were in sight and I was at the spot my GPS said I should be. Uh oh! What now?

Oh forgot to mention we had already run aground out in the middle of this big open body of water and I couldn't figure out why. There was nothing on my chart to run aground on if I was where I was supposed to be.
Now what to do?

Looking carefully at the data I had entered into the GPS and lo and behold I had transposed a number. Even though I had checked twice I got it wrong.
So now what?
Re enter the correct data in the GPS and get back on course.
Not so fast - first we need to know where are we cause if we go from point A to point B not knowing where we are we might run into something on the way.
No problem - just look at the GPS and get a latitude and longitude ( there are no charts on our GPS) then look at the charts to pinpoint where we are.
Oops again - we are about 3 miles out into the Atlantic and our charts don't go out that far and I hadn't loaded the additional charts into my computer.
So we feel our way back into Jekyll Sound now truly blindly because we have no chart and of course we run into shallow water again and run aground again.

Now I'm getting really upset though Barbara seems pretty calm and it is a beautiful sunny day with not much wind.
Eventually we get to deep water and find the sea buoy we are looking for and get back on course.
Many lessons learned (the same ones again)and hopefully I will be a more prudent mariner from here on. Ha!

Alan (posting from Barbara's computer)

2 comments:

lorraine said...

hi sailors,
we have been lost hiking in the no-trails Pepperbox wilderness in the adirondacks - lost sight of land night canoeing on cedar lake in algonquin and lost off-roading in baja - but can't imagine the feeling of being lost on the ICW. bravo for bravery. loving the posts. wishing you calm seas. lorraine

Barbara said...

found your post as I am going back and reviewing the time on the water. I can't stand getting lost on land...on water, it's stranger still.