News & Events for Chesapeake Bay

From St. Marys to St. Augustine - the Rally cruises on...

Date Posted: 2015-12-03
Source: Waterway Guide Cruising Editor

Sail-to-the-Sun-Logo-125.jpgHow do you celebrate Thanksgiving when you’re hundreds of miles from home? If you’re a cruiser anywhere near St. Marys Georgia, you head into town, tie up at Lang’s Marina or anchor out, and join in the Cruisers’ Thanksgiving Potluck, along with over 100 fellow cruisers.

That’s what the Sail to the Sun ICW Rally folks did. The day started with local boaters bringing out Bloody Marys to the anchored boats – and it just kept getting better.

Rally-Txgiving.jpgThe town of St. Marys supplies the turkey, while over 100 cruisers bring a huge variety of sides for all to share. A great time was had by all, and many new friends were made. I personally had the pleasure of running into two couples who are good friends from the ICW rally I headed up last year. Thanksgiving simply doesn’t get better than spending it with folks you care about – friends old and new.

Rally-Cumberland.jpgPrior to arriving in St. Marys, the ralliers explored Cumberland Island. This fascinating place was once the winter home of the famous Carnegie family, who abandoned it in its entirety after the financial crash of 1929. Most of the buildings are now in ruins, but it’s a fascinating look at a lifestyle that few of us can even begin to imagine.

From St. Marys, the fleet traveled an entire seven miles, to Fernandina Beach. This lovely town is an undiscovered jewel in the north of Florida. It’s still got friendly locals, not having succumbed to the tacky tourist ambiance of many other Florida locations.

I was unable to locate the ralliers our first evening in town, and resorted to checking our Facebook page – and sure enough, there they were, having found a pub selling $1 margaritas.

After still more exploration, the following evening found us in my favorite Fernandina Beach location, the Green Turtle Tavern. The drinks were cheap and cold, the music was hot and the ralliers were just loving life.

St-Aug-Lights.jpgFrom Fernandina Beach, we traveled south with the tide pushing us rapidly to Little Sisters Creek, at the junction of the St. John’s River and the ICW. There, the county has put in free docks at Jim King Park where we stopped overnight. Naturally, a dock party ensued and went on well into the evening. Several of the group found this spot "charming" – enjoying it immensely even though it’s located in the middle of nowhere.

The following day, we again were carried along, as planned, by the friendly current, ending up in historic St. Augustine. The ralliers quickly fanned out to discover the town, exploring everything from the historic fort, to the local cruisers’ consignment shop, Sailors Exchange. Two of our group stopped at Camachee Cove to get scheduled work done on their boats, joining us in town while it was being done. (This historic city is also the home of the St. Augustine Cruisers' Net and the Cruisers' Shuttle bus service.)

icw-rally-ryans.jpgFrom St. Augustine, the Sail to the Sun ICW Rally continues south to Cocoa Village, where the town has a great welcome set up for us, and I cannot wait to get there. If you’re in the area, consider yourself invited. Details of the events are here:

Follow us and be part of the fun at's Sail to the Sun Rally section, or on the Sail to the Sun Facebook page – and follow the movement of the fleet via Wally’s Delorme InReach satellite tracker at

The entire group has been enjoying the comments and questions from fellow cruisers and those dreaming of cruising, so if you have questions about the Sail to the Sun ICW Rally, or the ICW, or cruising in general, post them on our Facebook page and we’ll get back to you. 

Wally-Aduana-rally.jpgPrevious Sail to the Sun ICW Rally updates: 

Special thanks to the many sponsors and vendors making the Sail to the Sun ICW Rally such a success:

The Deltaville Maritime Museum
The Table at Wilton
Fishing Bay Marina
Deltaville Yachting Center
Dozier’s Regatta Point
Norton Yacht Sales and Marine Services
Norview Marina
Bluewater Yachting Center
Dismal Swamp Welcome Center
Elizabeth City Area Convention and Visitors Bureau
Albemarle Plantation and Marina
River Forest Manor and Marina
Town of Belhaven Chamber of Commerce
Spoon River Restaurant
The Tavern at Jack’s Neck
Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association

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