10 December, 2014
Pretty dark, but a lot better visibility than when we arrived as we pull off the mooring ball at Beaufort. 0523 is an early start, but we want to hit the tide just right for a shallow spot a few hours down the line at Field’s Cut. As we reach Port Royal Sound, the mouth of the Broad River, it’s light enough to see that we’re going to have a gray, windy day. Up ahead a smallish (35’ or so) catamaran is making her way out to the ocean. We wonder if the captain has checked the weather report, as they’re calling for 6’-8’ seas and 20 knot winds today and tomorrow. On our starboard is a Coast Guard patrol boat at anchor in 20’ of water, guarding the waterway entering Parris Island Marine Camp. Bet it’s been a fun night, bobbing around in 2’-3’ seas in a 40’ boat. As we pass Hilton Head Island, we are joined by a pair of dolphins swimming in our bow wave-very cool. As we enter the Savannah River, we call the City Dock to see if there are any spots open on the first-come, first-served face dock. The young lady informs us that the dock is closed through Tuesday. (What?) As the $3/foot rent at the Westin’s dock is a little dear for us, we decide to head down to Thunderbolt, GA, which is around 5 miles from Savannah. Hinckley and SeaRay boats both have yards there, and transient docking is often available. On the way, Suz calls Amy, the lady that runs the dock at Hinckley (on the cell # that Lisa (Changing Course) gave us). She’s home, decorating for Christmas, but she thought a boat was leaving from her otherwise-full dock today. We were welcome to pull in if there was room. As it turned out, there was about 45’ vacant on the end of the face, so we backed in between the highway bridge pilings and the sailboat behind us on a 1.2 knot current with 15 knot winds. Time for an undergarment change! The Girl didn’t mind hanging 8’ past the end of the dock as long as she was securely tied, so all was well by 1117. After a quick rinse of the boat, we walked over to Thunderbolt, on the other side of the bridge, to Tubby’s (a local watering hole recommended by Amy) for a little NFL football. Multiple screens indoors and out, with NFL Ticket make this an ideal spot to watch “your” game. The waitress doesn’t know where they come from, but there is a huge local contingent of Cleveland Browns fans here that comes in every Sunday. They’re here in force, and not a bit too quiet, as the game comes down to the last play when their boys lose a tough one. Monday morning, we’re on our way in to Savannah, but stop by the office to check in with Amy first. At the end of the dock where there should be land, we find nothing but water. The winds have been up, and the tides extreme due to a full moon. Our sea boots get us across the lot-it’s kinda comical to see boats up on blocks surrounded by water. The techs drive their trucks up to one, set up the ladder in the truck bed, then climb aboard. Amy tells us its waaaay too far to walk into Savannah, she’ll call her trusty guy, Jack, who’ll drive us in for $18. Jack is not answering his phone right now, but she’s sure he’ll call back. We’re chompin’ at the bit, so after she tells us that there are sidewalks all the way in, we decide to start walking. Jack can call us and pick us up along the way-sounds good, right? A mile later, we’re out to the main drag, a 4-lane boulevard, with an overgrown median and shoulders, but no sidewalk. The traffic is jammin’ during rush hour, so we decide to brave the median until a sidewalk appears. After picking our way maybe a mile farther, we figure plan “B” is order. The Admiral spots a bus stop sign, so goes to the website, which is virtually indecipherable, with small print in the bright sunlight. While she’s doing this, a young man arrives by foot, and sits on the guardrail by the sign. Oh yeah, the bus should be here in 20 minutes, and will drop us off at Martin Luther King Boulevard, where a transfer will get us to a stop just a short 4 block walk from our downtown destination. He’s a valet at the Hyatt, and is going that way, but seems kind of puzzled by us wanting to ride the bus. $6 gets us 2 tickets and 2 transfers as we board, and we’re off. As we take our seats, we can see why he was puzzled-we’re strangers in a strange land. Oh well, we’re all folks that need to get somewhere, never stopped us before. At our stop, the bus driver gets out of the bus, and walks us around the corner to our next stop, while the bus and passengers wait at the corner for him. Our young guide gets out too, as he’s transferring as well. After waiting for a few minutes, we decide to walk to the next stop down the line. Our young friend does too-I think he’s looking after the old folks. Savannah’s historical district is gorgeous. There are many pre-revolutionary structures, and tons of history here. After an obligatory trolley tour, we retrace some of the route to see the sights on foot, along with a tour of the history museum. Along the riverfront, we check out the town dock to see what’s going on there. It’s about a 250’ floating dock, well-maintained, and empty but for a 40’ sailboat. We talk to the lady next to the boat who turns out to be the Harbormaster. She’s off on weekends, and this boat pulled in over the weekend without contacting anyone. She has a small cruise liner coming in today, (which was why the dock was closed to transients) and is trying to figure out how to move this padlocked craft out of the way. She’s just about to call the Sheriff, when the owner saunters up, and asks “Can I help you?” We don’t stay for the ensuing conversation, but are sure that it was interesting. I can say that Savannah is definitely worth the stop. The restaurants are said to be excellent, and there are plenty of them. (Can’t say first-hand, ‘cause we’re restauranted(?) out) The renovation of the downtown historic district appears to be a decade or so behind Charleston, but has been well thought out, and is a quality effort, to say the least. Getting near dusk, so we head back to the bus line for our next adventure. A walk through the neighborhood will obviate the need for a transfer, so off we go to the #12 line. We’re back at the ranch way before Monday Night Football, so all is well. Next morning, we check in with Amy, who tells us that Jack had called. He was up at the hospital in Savannah having cataract surgery. Had he been here, we would have missed some story value. Today, we’re headed to St. Bonaventure Cemetery, featured in the movie “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”, featuring some really old, really cool markers . It’s just back up the Intracoastal a few miles-we passed it on the way in. It’s a great walk there, and we spend a few hours snappin’ and strolling amongst the parks’ 28,000 inhabitants. By noon, the sun’s coming out, and we walk back past the Hinckley yard to Thunderbolt, where we want to check out the marina and a marine supply store that’s purported to be very well stocked. The marina is pretty plush-lotsa pretty boats. Along the way, we stop at the dive shop, and chat it up with “Gear”, who is very much in need of some conversation. A quick stop at “Tubby’s” for a Pepsi and some popcorn, and we’re off to River Supply Marine store. Ohmygosh, it’s a great store, and we spend over an hour there, yakkin’ with the knowlegable folks about thisandthat. That was the day, leaving tomorrow.