Not for everyone. Admission? Well, you know what the admission is...
Research & Development
*Looking for Mr. Sandbar* October 7, 2001
Today my mother and I traveled upriver from Champney Landing to Altamaha Park in Everett City in the aluminum john boat. En route we found 3 very suitable campsites (one inhabited by several tents and barking dogs), and two possible-but-not-ideal spots. We also found a nice little inlet which might provide a nice anchoring spot for camping aboard providing it is accessible at low tide. And of course, Barrington has a campground a few miles upstream with rudimentary toilets and running water, though not much else. And I know of at least one spot between Altamaha Park and Barrington, where one could pitch a tent, from my fishing trips with my father. Hmmmmmm. . . .
The journey, there and back, took 4 1/2 hours and 2 gals of fuel. But the exciting news is that Altamaha Park has a campground, dock, and a store! So Ice, bait, water, fuel, and other supplies may be purchased here. I begin to believe we could put in at White Chimney, travel the ICW to Darien, then move upriver as far as Jesup, and never be without an icy cooler. Nice. This will make for better eating on our adventure.
It was rather windy out, and there was a point between 17 and 95 where the water had easily 1-2 foot chop. It was some slow going and we were pretty battered, then suddenly we turned a bend and the water was happy again. Still, I wonder how this might be in even wider water (which one would have to traverse, at least briefly to get from White Chimney to Darien). I also wonder how much of a difference/improvement over the aluminum jon boat I would expect to see in the longer, larger, heavier AF4. Some I hope.
I really hate to abandon this leg of the journey, as it allows for much less travel to and from the point of entry. And the lovely one will be stuck with dropping us off and picking us up. I guess a preliminary test of the AF4 crossing the sound will be in order before the adventure.
So it begins to look like the journey will resemble #4 above. We will begin and return to the same point. We will start slightly up White Chimney, travel out the ICW, then up the Altamaha for at least as far as Jesup. The tentative plan. Further exploration, via automobile, of Jesup marina(s) is in order.
*Discovering more resources* Jan 15, 2002
First of all, a friend and wonderful human being (I will refer to as Peppermint Patti) gave me some information on Jesup boat landings. Evidently there is one with a nearby store, etc. where we might scope out provisions. She also volunteered to meet us there with any items beyond what we might find at the 7-11 that we might need, providing we could call her in advance and didn't get ridiculous about it (no helicopters, Alligator boots, suitcases of unmarked bills, etc). Now I am setting my sights beyond Jesup.
Another mixed blessing occurred shortly before Christmas. A salty sailboat couple, Nancy Schwalbe Zydler & Tom Zydler, who have been live-aboard cruising and charting every mudbottom, sound, and tidal creek in these parts, published their book The Georgia Coast - Waterways and Islands . It is MUCH more extensive than any documentation of a two-three week upriver trip dairy I might have turned out. The good news is it contains excellent charts of all the waterways, great information about points of interest, wildlife, DNR regs for camping/fishing/hunting on the islands and banks, and marinas servicing the area. The charting information alone is worth the cost of the book. I have read it cover to cover twice now, and there is still information to be gleaned from it (I must get on the water with this book in hand). A lot of the narrative information relates to history, people, places and nature to enjoy. The information about anchorages, marinas and services, Island accommodations are probably not that applicable to our trip. I still think it unlikely we will want to sleep at anchor unless absolutely necessary. The majority of the marinas, island points of interest, etc. may be beyond the reach and rough water capability of the craft I am building. The only campground on salt water is on the ocean side of Cabretta Island. But a friend of mine assures me that it is okay to pop a tent on the beach at Blackbeard, which we might try if we can get to Cabretta cut without being pounded too much. Also the book states that the beaches of nearly all the islands are essentially public property up to the high-tide line. Which I guess means one could enjoy some wilderness camping as long as the night fell between the flood tides. The book also focuses on the salt water areas. The charts run upriver only a short way on the Altamaha, stopping at the Altamaha Water park in Everett City. Since I have explored that far myself, I found no new information about campsites in the book (though they confirmed the ones I had found already). So the bad news is that the book doesn't tell me what lies between Fort Barrington and Jesup. The good news is there is still room for a rav & dp book about camping up the Altamaha River in a small outboard boat.
In preparation for, and beyond the rav & dp adventure, I know this book will serve me well the next couple of years.
*More Equipment* purchased March 16, 2002
I just bought a smaller lighter tent and a marine toilet. I got a Thetford at Boat US. It was the smallest Thetford model I could find. It seems plenty adequate for our camping needs. The two week trip with dp may strain its capacity, we'll have to use it sparingly. But for the rest of the time, it should be perfect for my solo camping weekends or for two if I get the lovely one to come along.
*Stranding my parents* September 8, 2002
After months of looking for those elusive used outboard motors, I
What will we eat?This is certainly a consideration. We want to eat well, not chew on bark and briar shoots. On the other hand, we won't have any refrigeration to speak of. We may have a cooler for the first two or three days of travel, but after that ice will be hard to come by.
We may wind up supplementing our diet with fish and shrimp (when in saltwater) here and there. But we can't really count on that. So we will need to plan on bringing enough rations to live on for the entire trip, without overloading the boat.
As a first step in this process, my wife and I are compiling a list of foods which do not need refrigeration. Then we hope to plan the most savory, lightweight meals possible. We are focusing on meals that might be easily prepared on a two-burner campstove (because we already have one).
The list so far. Suggestions on meals or rations appreciated.
Where will we sleep?
How far and where will we go?This question is largely unanswered at this time.
What type of equipment will we need?