Cumberland Island to Jacksonville, Fla
When the weather cleared, we traveled down
the ICW behind Jekyll Island at high tide. Our sounder indicated that we
would have been aground several times at low tide. We anchored off a salt
marsh on the north end of Cumberland Island at Burbank Point. We did not
go ashore here because of the "Warning Private Property" signs.
The island is a mix of private and federal park land.
Cumberland Island is a complex ecological
system consisting of dunes, forests, and saltwater marshes. The marshes
are made up of smooth cord grass, pulsing with tidal flow which feeds an
array of flora and fauna. In the interior is a maritime forest of saw palmetto
and live oaks covered with spanish moss and muscadine vines. The eastern
side is the National Seashore with beautiful white powdered sand
dunes and beaches.
The next morning, we had to wait for the
to clear and then sailed to an anchorage off the southern end of the island
near Dungeness. As we pulled into the anchorage, we saw a wild
pony on the beach. The forest was buzzing with the sounds of birds.
We decided to walk the island and picnic on the eastern dune beach. We walked
through the mottled
light of the forest and found tracks of wild horses, boar, deer, coon
and armadillo and spied many of the creatures themselves. We had the perfect
picnic in the dunes
overlooking the ocean.
Later, we walked down the beach to the southern
end to explore the Dungeness ruins
and Green-Miller cemetery
before nightfall. It was getting late and we heard the spooky hoot of a
great horned owl as we entered the cemetery. We found the graves of Thomas
Carnegie (Andrew's brother) and Revolutionary War General Henry
Lee (Robert E's father). In the remaining light, we explored the Carnegie
built upon those of Nathaniel Greene's Dungeness, which was named for Oglethorpes
1736 camp at that location.
Standing there looking at the ruins in the
evening light, we could imagine the music and laughter carried on the night
air from a Dungeness party during the Guilded Age. The 1920's saw a decline
of the use of the mansion. When it burned in 1959, it had not been used
for many years. As darkness fell, we walked the two mile trail back to our
dingy at the dock, listening to the sounds of night creatures on all sides.
The sunset silhouetted
the boat as we rowed our dingy under the glittering stars.
We left Cumberland wishing we could stay
longer but we wanted to beat the advancing storm front. We made a quick
passage offshore to Mayport, Florida near Jacksonville where we weathered