Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Whole New Ballgame

Jim left the boat ramp at Crooked River State Park, just north of St. Marys, GA at noon today.  Must admit I was concerned for him when I saw the amount of effort it took to paddle into the incoming tidal current.  It was about and hour and a half before slack water at high tide,  and he had to really work to make headway against that flow.  Just about two miles east of us, at the junction of the ICW, on the western side of Cumberland Island, the current splits, flowing both north and south.  Jim was able then to make much better time and distance over the ground, going north to Brickhill Bluff on that island.  The National Park Service maintains a primitive camp site there for those brave enough to kayak or canoe these waters.  As Jim was leaving the boat ramp here at noon, a group of about 8 double kayaks came into the ramp after a 4-hour paddle with the incoming current.  They were exhausted but excited to have made the trip.  I'm sure Jim is feeling the same way this beautiful night.  I've been watching wildlife all around our camp site.  There are numerous birds of all descriptions and we have a resident squirrel family which loves to investigate my birds' cages, hoping no doubt for some snack food.  One half-grown squirrel got brave enough to climb onto Cricket's cage and almost lost a toe when Cricket (*my green cheek conure) objected to the four-footed company. Four of our own birds are traveling with us on this journey, and they've adapted well.  They seem to attract wild birds to our site.   We've spied a summer tanager twice and a family of eastern bluebirds, lots of egrets, herons and ospreys.  There are also many tortoises living here - making their slow way through the park, munching on the greenery. Our two kitties like watching the birds too, from inside the travel trailer, but they don't know what to make of the tortoises.  Abby escaped one night while we were still at the Wakulla County, Newport Campground.  She was glad to be retrieved from the possum hole in the bottom of a large pine tree after what to her was a harrowing night "on the town."  Now she won't even go near the door!    I was relieved at 5:22 (or 1722 hours) today when Jim's SPOT message came in that he was safely ashore at Lat 30.89629, Long 81.44464.     Guess AT&T doesn't cover the island out there very well.  The ranger told us that Jim would have to climb the bluff to get any reception and that probably isn't going to happen after a long day of paddling.  Tomorrow he'll be heading across the Satilla River and then toward  Dover Bluff.  We send a hearty salute to all of you and wish you a good night.   Jean and Jim

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