It is yet another early morning departure for Cutter Loose and crew, since daylight hours are at a premium. At 7 AM, the anchor is up in Cattle Pen Creek.
The tidal current carries Cutter Loose swiftly into Sapelo Sound, which is a well-marked ocean inlet. It is tempting to abandon the ICW in favor of an outside run to Fernandina Inlet. Since a cold front is expected to move through the area later today, and since it is unlikely that we could make Fernandina before dark, we elect to play it safe and keep our options open inside on the ICW.
Today is yet another tedious day at the helm. From Supelo Sound, the ICW follows the Front River and Old Teakettle Creek into Doboy Sound. South of Doboy Sound, we transit the North River and Little Mud River at low tide. In several areas, we reduce boat speed to a crawl with a mere 12 inches of water under the keel. When the probability of grounding is high, it is preferable to do so at low speed. Good fortune is with us today as we remain afloat for the entire journey.
By early afternoon, the tide is on the rise and our anxiety is eased. South of Altamaha Sound, there is an endless series of range markers to be negotiated on the Buttermilk Sound and the Mackay River. By 2 PM, Cutter Loose passes under the highway bridge that leads from the town of Brunswick to St. Simons Island.
Clouds are thickening as we leave the Brunswick ship’s channel astern and enter Jekyll Creek. At 4 PM, we are anchored in Umbrella Creek within sight of the southern tip of Jeckyll Island.
Winds have increased to 15 knots from the south. Sirius marine weather shows successive bands of thunderstorms to the west ahead of an approaching cold front. Cutter Loose is riding to current while the southerly winds are pushing gurgling wavelets broadside against her hull. There is no shortage of wind and water noises aboard Cutter Loose tonight. But there is no motion inasmuch as the creek is lined with marsh grass which prevents the buildup of waves. We will wait to see what nature has in store for us in terms of the thunderstorms bearing down on us from the west.