Fernandina Beach Report
(Fernandina Beach)

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Report By:  gbailey    Date: 4/23/2005 
Rating:Trip Rating     Photos: None     Map & Directions: View

Paddle around Little Tiger Island

My Report:

by Greg Bailey

We had a fun paddling trip today, in spite of the winds, but no rain and mostly sunny skies. With the winds coming from the west all day we were able to complete our planned route, but we had a few dicey situations which everyone handled well enough. We paddled west from the west beach on Ft. Clinch, directly into the wind so we could get to the lee shore. The winds were probably 12-15 mph. After making the lee shore, the bright sun felt nice and we gathered prior to turning again west to move up Little Tiger Creek. Several dolphins frolicked ahead of us, taking advantage of the low water conditions to corral their prey. Turning into Little Tiger Creek, we knew the outgoing tide would be against us and when the wind was combined, it appeared that we were sitting still and not moving at all! However, everyone understood that it might take a few moments until we pulled away from the point, and gained some forward momentum. Soon enough we were rounding another bend and out of the wind. At one point we pulled our bows into the muddy bank to rest while the water rushed by not 20 feet away. Almost like paddling in a moving, white water stream. Only no rocks or boulders!

Another difficult time arose when we were making our final turn and paddling directly toward historic downtown Fernandina. The winds were now behind us and blowing 20+ mph, with the waves bouncing back from the docks, creating confused seas and lots of blowing foam. I wanted to paddle just close enough to the docks so everyone could see some of the city, but because of the challenging conditions we moved on rather quickly. We had the outgoing tide with us now, along with the following 20+ winds and it was a pretty wild ride. The waves weren't that large, just lots of whitecaps and the sounds of a rushing sea. Soon we were back around in the lee shore, across from where we launched, so we took a nice long siesta (1+ hour). Browsing the beach, we were able to locate a few interesting items: 1) a floor shifter from a '69 Chevelle SS 396, 2) a piece of angle iron from what had to be a sunken ship, and 3) a 100+ year old smoking pipe. We took verifying pictures of these items, each a fully encrusted hunk of rusting iron.

After our break we had to cross the Amelia River again, back to Ft. Clinch, with following seas and now 25+ winds. It took us only 5-6 minutes to make the dash, again with blowing foam and whitecaps. Franklin's wind meter registered winds between 22-25 and a gust of 37 while we were loading the boats. We finished just in time and were able to avoid the real nasty conditions.

We were all excited about finishing the loop and enjoyed our time on the water, but the conditions were not suitable for everyone. With a larger group with varying degrees of skill, I would probably not have done that trip, in those conditions. Probably gone on to Nassau Sound or one of the inland creeks along A1A/Hwy 200.

Five of us paddled: Mabel, Robert, Franklin, myself and Dane, a guest who paddled a sit on top cobra touring boat.

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Location Data:

Distance (miles): 9
Fees/Costs $: n/a

Special Interests and Comments:

Special InterestsFernandina Beach, Ft. Clinch

Post Date: 3/1/2009

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Notice: Reported conditions may change and there may be errors in this text. Apalachee Canoe and Kayak Club and author(s) of individual reports shall not be held liable for any omissions and inaccuracies contained herein. Readers are cautioned to supplement reports with other sources of information when planning a trip.