Monday, December 21, 2015

Cumberland Island, GA

Cumberland Island is the last of Georgia's Sea Islands and is a National Park. What a gorgeous spot, it is 16nm long and about 11/2 wide at it's narrowest point. It was originally granted to the English noblemen by the crown way back in King George's day after they won it from the Spanish. It became famous for it's sea island cotton, the plantations worked by slaves.  After the Civil War the plantations became unprofitable and the Carnegie family took over the island, hiring the former slaves who remained on the island as help. 

The family had nine children and built estates for two of them on other parts of the island. The home called Dungeness, was uninhabited after 1916 and it was decimated by fire, the remains are still spectacular. 
Mercury is one of the statues on the grounds, which were huge. There was a long 150m percola, which is a stone structure with a roof and open side, and I could just imagine people strolling along in the shade contemplating life! 
It was a warm, sunny day and we had the place to ourselves for awhile. The carriage house and staff quarters were still standing and in good condition. . In the graveyard some of the family was buried, their faithful servants were just outside the cemented in area. There was also a plot for a Revolutionary War General who was very ill when he came to visit and they buried him there for a brief time. 
The plot overlooked the salt marshes and ultimately the Atlantic Ocean.  We saw lots of white pelicans, water fowl, herons and song birds. Wild horse inhabit the island, they have survived since being freed from the plantation. They keep the lawn mowed at Dungeness!  This is also manatee country but they have gone with to seek warmer water. I really want to see one! One of the park workers on the island told us about swimming with them in the Gulf of Mexico. There is wilderness camping available, you arrive by boat and then can use carts to pull your gear to the camp ground.  The cap on visitors is 300 a day. There are sand roads and remaining residents are allowed to drive around because they all donated their land to the Forest Service. We ended the day on the rocking chairs at the Ranger Station and met the woman who was instrumental in having the island declared a National Park.  There is a book written about her, Untamed, The Wildest Woman in America and the Fight For Cumberland Island, I intend to get it. 

Sailing Info.

We are using "The Intracoastal Waterway, Norfolk to Miami, A Cockpit Cruising Handbook" by Jan and Bill Moeller. It is a small guide with few pictures and has references to bridges, anchorages and marinas by the mile number along the waterway. We just purchased the Waterway Guide, Atlantic ICW, Intracostal Waterway, Norfolk VA to Jacksonville Fl, published by Waterway Guide Media.  It is a great guide, with introductions to cities along the way, plus it is updated yearly about conditions on the waterway.  It is sponsored by Marinas, etc. but also mentions anchorages and their pluses and minuses. 

Cumberland Island  30*45.2 N X 081*28.5 W
We anchored in 6m of water with very good holding, only protection was from the East. 
Consider the state of the tide as you anchor, it shoals very quickly to the West.
No services on shore but great hiking trails, a museum, and beaches. A must see.