Thursday, December 26, 2013

Oh the weather outside is frightful

... so we are taking the inside route south, notwithstanding our preference to the contrary. Tonight we are anchored in the Vernon River, just north of where it joins the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW), near the Savannah suburb of Montgomery (map).

We left the city dock in Savannah this morning in time to catch a rising tide all the way here. That meant pushing against current for part of the trip, but we've learned the hard way that the best time to travel the ICW in Georgia is on mid-tide and rising. Shoving off at 11:30 had us pushing against 3/4 knot in the river, but gave us nearly three feet more water in the tricky South Channel Shortcut, which cuts three and a half nautical miles (a half hour for us, and two or three gallons of fuel) off the route to the southbound ICW.

The ICW section from there to Thunderbolt felt very familiar, and passing Thunderbolt Marine, where we bought the boat and where we spent a bit of time for repairs early on, felt like a closure of sorts. Turning off the Wilmington River into the Skidaway River, just before the turn-off for our old friend Turner Creek, put us into new territory, and we are now further south than we have ever been with the boat.

There was a bit of familiarity, though, with Skidaway Island, which passed along on our port side, as we spent some time at the state park campground there a couple of years ago. From the water we finally got to see some of the palatial homes that were forbidden to us behind locked gates from the landward side. We also saw the other side of the marine research station we had ridden to on the island's lone public road.

Since our rolling visit there, the bascule bridge to the island has been replaced by a high fixed bridge, so we did not need to call for an opening. We also passed the very popular boat launch facility and beach that I wrote about on that visit.

After six hours on the water today, we're really not any further south than the southern reaches of Savannah itself. We traveled 23 nautical miles, but, owing to the winding nature of the ICW, we are just about ten miles from where we started in downtown Savannah this morning.

We had a great time in Savannah, and, honestly, we could easily have stayed another week. Even though we ate out every night, we only scratched the surface of the restaurant scene, and we hardly even began to explore all the history. But, despite a very pleasant start to the week, overnight temps have dropped into the 30s, with highs in the low 50s for just a brief moment each afternoon, so we decided to get moving, and come back for more when the weather is again more pleasant.

Unfortunately, as my post title suggests, ocean conditions are unfavorable at the moment, and it looks like they will remain so until Monday. Even though our plan had been to continue out the Wilmington River and through Wassaw Sound into the ocean, we opted instead to pick our way south on the ICW, in order to make some progress. We have one more trouble spot south of us on this route, appropriately named Hell Gate, and we'll get a late start tomorrow morning in order to hit it at mid-tide and rising, around noon. At least tomorrow is forecast to be somewhat warmer.

Tomorrow's route will take us west of Ossabaw and Saint Catherine's Islands and into Sapelo Sound, which is the next place we would have come in from the outside. We will again be looking for an anchorage on one side of the sound or the other. The timing of the tidal cycle right now means we will make the best progress in the afternoons, in order to avoid traveling at low or falling tides. At this writing it is looking like we will make Brunswick or Jekyll Island before we have good weather for an outside run.

This morning I posted a long (favorable) review of the city docks on Active Captain, to include details of power, water, and other nearby dockage, and I will not repeat all that here. Instead I will say that our favorite restaurant of this visit, suggested by friends, was Corleone's Italian (yes, like Don Vito) -- we still have leftovers. That said, we also enjoyed the Chart House for our holiday meal, as well as Boar's Head, Vic's (suggested by a reader), Ciao Bella (nice, but too far to walk from the dock), Tequila's Town, and Moon River Brewing. We also had breakfast at Goose Feathers and B. Matthews, as well as too many overpriced bagels from the coffee stand in the Hyatt, which I felt entitled me to use their restrooms as needed.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I hear the call of a holiday cookie, and my final glass of Merlot awaits. Happy Boxing Day to all.

1 comment:

  1. Glad you got to Vic's I was just trying to be helpful.

    Tom B


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