A Tale of Two Marinas

So we nearly hit the eight-week mark At Brunswick Landing Marina (BLM), which in all honesty was probably seven weeks too long. Marinas are funny places and boy was BLM one of the funny ones, when we say funny we don’t mean funny haha we mean funny peculiar.

Unfortunately, it takes a bit of time to discover these oddities, which we will go into in greater length in a mo, but it might help our UK readers if we enlighten you on the views and belief systems of this part of the USA.  Unlike the UK as a US southerner your choice of a political party seems to dictate how you live your life.  In the UK even our farthest right-wing Conservatives aren’t anywhere near their liberals, their right-wing is very right-wing, and most of them believe that Trump is the best thing that ever happened to the USA!

So Brunswick Landing Marina (BLM), sells itself on being a 5-star marina “Everyone Welcome”, real positive comments abound on their website and the Facebook pages, (unbelievably the BLM cruisers net Facebook page is moderated by the management itself and not by the residents, so I expect any negative comments are deleted) and it’s true, everyone is welcome as long as you fit the profile of the type of cruiser that the long term clique want i.e. highly conservative, no intention of going anywhere, don’t like kids and live by the multi-page marina rule book – which as an example quite seriously bans children under 16 from going into the bathrooms or being on the pontoons unattended!

 

Added to that are several other issues that no-one seems to mention – it is mosquito-ridden – these are the humdinger B52 daytime mosquitoes and they are there in swarms – they just don’t spray enough, if at all.  So unless you want to be bitten to death you stay shut up in your boat with the AC on – even now when the weather is cooler you can’t be outside there unless you are covered up by clothes or drenched in repellent.

Your boat will get barnacles all over it – the water is sluggish and brackish here and you will get growth rapidly – diving to scrape the bottom regularly is the only way to protect your hull and running gear.

Then there’s the fact that it prides itself on being a hurricane hole – we had serious concerns when we were there and it looked like Dorian was coming straight at us – see previous blogs.  There was very little advice from the marina when one is coming – in fact we had to go and ask in the office and they simply said – make sure you’ve got enough ropes on.  Then they issued a 2-page information sheet at the next Happy Hour to cover everything off.  No one that we spoke to saw any visits to the pontoons by marina staff to check out any other boats – if there were ones with absent owners and with loose items or without sufficient ropes their neighbours had to sort them out as best they could – at least on 5 of the docks where we and others helped out. This is a symptom of the fact that it seems to be a totally self-service marina.  The office closes overnight and just has a security guard and even in the day, you end up sorting problems out yourself rather than bothering the staff who are never out and about.

It’s a real shame, nwith a small amount of common sense and the correct investment, this could be the marina it sells on its website, but no amount of free beer, free laundry covers the shortfalls of this site, unfortunately, the old adage still stands, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is!

So what did we do, we voted with our feet (well our sails) and moved just a couple of miles as the crow flies to the exemplary MorningStar marina next to St Simon’s Island.

Talk about Chalk and Cheese.  We visited to check it out on a weekend and the lovely Penny, a mainstay of the office, took our details, explaining that they were very busy in the marina and so it might be a stretch but that the manager would get back to us. We actually popped in again the next morning and met the manager, Chris.  He looked at his computer, grimaced and then said so sorry give me a few minutes, do you want a coffee.  The coffee hadn’t cooled when he said I’ve got it – if I move 2 boats around I can fit you in at this dock – and apologised he couldn’t give us a choice as they were doing some refurbishments.

Wow, what a difference.

We asked him out of interest about hurricane season.  Oh don’t worry he says we buy 500 metres of spare line at the start of each hurricane season.  We have guidelines on what you should do if you are leaving your boat unoccupied but we will visit every dock when there is an alert and make sure all of them are protected as they should be.  If we need to take anything off your boat to make it safe, we’ll label it up and you can pick it up when you get back.

Wow, what a difference.

Of course, we moved.

The marina has 24 hour attendance in the dock office at the end of the main jetty where they sell basics and ice and are as friendly and full of advice as you could want.  Nothing is too much trouble.

Wow, what a difference.

There are no mosquitoes and there is a wonderful breeze so sitting outside in the cockpit, walking around the marina and using the main bbq area becomes a normal thing to do.  The water is fast-moving here and the barnacles are already disappearing.

Wow, what a difference.

Oh, and did we mention there’s a really well-maintained swimming pool and a great bar/cafe/restaurant at the marina entrance.  The laundry costs $2.25 for a good wash and dry and is more than made up for by the cheaper electricity.

 

We couldn’t be happier with our move and coming back from the UK this time we were excited to be back.  Whereas returning from road trips before had not been so great.

We did meet some great like-minded people in Brunswick but they also really struggled – had it not been for them, in fact, we would have moved to Morningstar far far earlier.

So overall our advice for berthing your boat in this part of the country – GO DIRECTLY TO MORNINGSTAR ON ST SIMON’S ISLAND!

 

 

 

One comment

  1. Makes you wonder if you got off at the wrong planet sometimes. Amazing how differently some people can view the same situation as you. Happy berthing chums xx
    ps If you were a bird, having an extreme right wing would doom you to flying in ever decreasing circles until you disappeared up your own arse. just a thought.

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