Tuesday, March 27, 2018:
The forecast is for mostly cloudy with winds out of the east at 7 to 10 mph and a high of 67. The tide at the Frederica Bridge is low at 1236, so I’m trying to wait until near then to shove off from the dock. We borrowed the courtesy car from the marina and went over to Winn Dixie (mind you, it’s no Publix, but it’ll do nicely for what we want to stock up on). We get all the heavy items we can, like water and wine and laundry detergent and bleach. We also stock up on $30 worth of quarters for the laundry machines and go straight back to the marina. Jane got all our goods stocked while I washed up the boat and refilled the water tanks. We untied from the dock at 1205 without assistance and eased out into the Frederica River radioing the Morningstar Marina that we enjoyed their hospitality especially the Times Union and fresh muffins each morning. The cruising was delightful and we had picked a spot to anchor that we could reach in only a few hours.
We were fighting the tide as we churned through Buttermilk Sound. After crossing Altamaha Sound and Doboy Sound, we arrived in New Teakettle Creek at 1645 to anchor in 15 feet of water with only 100 feet of anchor rode out. It was very private with only the marsh surrounding us for miles.
The afternoon was breezy and the skies partly cloudy. I remarked to Jane that it is so private, we could skip around the decks in our birthday suits, but she wasn’t game. After a while, the sailboat, Ariel, that we had passed earlier, came into our private anchorage and anchored just downwind from us. I kept an eye on our points of reference to make sure we weren’t slipping down towards him, but finally discretion got the best of me and we cranked the engine and moved about 300 yards up the creek to the east. We thoroughly enjoyed our evening and danced on the fly bridge. It was a perfect anchorage with slight winds, calm water, and no bugs.
Wednesday, March 28, 2018:
Another beautiful forecast for a high of 74 and south winds of up to 14 beginning in the afternoon. We were late to rise, but didn’t care and pulled up the anchor at 1110. As we exited New Teakettle Creek two boats were passing ahead of us and the lead boat turned out to be our friends, Susie and Jerry Pick, on Happy Ours. The cruising was so nice we kept resetting our plan on where to anchor. We traversed Sapelo Sound, St. Catherine’s Sound, and kept chugging along to get through Ossaba Sound via the dreaded Hell Gate on the rising tide.
At 1715 we anchored in the Vernon River near the village of Montgomery. We will only have to go about 14 or 15 miles tomorrow to get to Thunderbolt Marina in Savannah.
Thursday, March 29, 2018:
Looks like another perfect day for cruising with the forecast of SSW winds at 10 mph. The low tide at Thunderbolt Marina on the Wilmington River will be at 1354 hours. We took our time getting ready in the morning to time our arrival with the slack tide. Docking in the current can be a real challenge with only the one screw and no thrusters for control. We pulled anchor about 1030 and it was a nice day for a short boat ride. We meandered past some beautiful homes on Skidaway Island. We’ve heard other boaters complain about the arriving at Thunderbolt Marina so at 1235 it was close enough to slack tide that the current was a non-issue and we nestled easily against the inside floating dock by the seawall. We immediately ran into AGLCA legend Eddy Johnsen and his wife Linda. Their Grand Banks 36, Spiritus was moored just ahead of us. Eddy writes Eddy’s Weather Wag which gives looping boaters wishing to cross the Gulf from Carrabelle, Florida, going east to Steinhatchee and other ports south. His advice on whether to cross or stay at dock is greatly respected among our members. We also met the Loopers on Hydrophilic (John & Ann Marie Tyrell) who had been running just ahead of us for a couple of days. At one point I wanted to hail them on the radio as Hydrophallic, but Admiral Jane would have none of that nonsense. Later on the dock, they said that one of the boats that had previously travelled with them kept calling them Homophobic. Apparently, John and Ann Marie are good sports.
We cruised around the Thunderbolt area on our bikes for the afternoon to get some exercise. Later, we met the other Loopers at Tubby’s Tank House for dinner and enjoyed getting to know them and a new Looper, Jim Grenade, who’s preparing for departure soon aboard his recently purchased trawler, Idle Time.
Since we are docked so close to the seawall, the oak trees are dropping their stuff all over the decks and Jane got out her battery powered blower to clear them. Twenty minutes later it was a mess again.
We woke up early and went for a run-walk around the neighborhood passing a Thai Restaurant that beckons our return. Some weather blew in and I spent some time on boat maintenance repairing a split A/C duct to the forward cabin. Then I turned my attention to the Northern Lights generator and changed the oil and oil filter and both primary and secondary fuel filters. I got some needed advice from Eddy on priming the fuel filters. Once I was done, I cranked up the genset and it purred happily.
After showers in the adequate marina facilities, we grabbed an Uber into Savannah for dinner at Alligator Soul. This place is in a basement, but it is upscale. The hostess asked if we had reservations and of course I told her that yes we did, but we came anyway. She got it with a smile and directed us to the bar. They encourage dining at the bar, so we were happy. We have been here before and know that the chef always has something special for the vegan diner. It was awesome and Dan and Bridget, the bartenders, did a superb job serving us. After dinner we walked down to River Street where most of the action takes place. We found our way onto the only free stools at the piano bar in Vic’s Supper Club and imbibed therein a couple of the specialties.
Some more strolling along the riverfront gained us some souvenir T-shirts before Ubering back to the marina. On board, we broke out the cards for a game of Gin which I won getting lucky on the last hand.
Saturday, March 31, 2018:
Saturday involved another lengthy bike ride, this time to O’Reilly’s Auto Parts to exchange what I had bought in St. Augustine as white paint. It turned out after I had the primer applied to the generator pan, that the paint I had was some sort of peel off product. I’ve got way too much work invested for any peeling off. The exchange was painless (unlike the biking), and I got cash back. We also stopped at River Marine for other various boat maintenance items. It’s a great store, well stocked with good prices and near the marina.
For the evening, Uber is our friend again. Uber whisked us over to dinner at the Atlantic with our friend Sam. She is a Savannah resident, who has just returned from her wedding trip. She delivered us back so that she could see Sabbatical and we visited on the fly bridge.
The full moon brought a ten foot swing in tide. Note the pictures taken from the same spot.
Sunday, April 1, 2018, (Easter):
I whipped up a batch of walnut pancakes for breakfast which were met with rave reviews from the entire crew. (ok, it’s only Jane, but still….) Then we’re off on another biking adventure to attend Easter Service at Connexion Church. We needed to go through Savannah State College campus, but the gates were closed so we trekked the long way around, but still made it in plenty of time. Connexion Church is the result of three churches that merged just over a year ago. They were two black churches and one white church. The congregants were most friendly, but their youth-led Easter service was less than spectacular. In the afternoon we rode our bikes over to nearby Bonaventure Cemetery and walked around the beautiful grounds. Didn’t find any dead people we knew.
We have continued to meet other Looping boaters and Docktails at 1700 in the screen porch of the marina was attended by Jean and Jerry Coleman (Making Memories) from Tarpon Springs, Jim (Idle Time), Dan and Jenny Lynn Girvan (Melody in Sea) from Michigan, and Ken Purcell and Ruth Frank (Horizons) from Chicago. We were lucky to have such a group to share their knowledge and experience of various places on the Loop.
Later that night, we chanced upon Jesus Christ, Superstar on the TV, which we hardly ever watch, but we were trying to see if we would be able to watch the basketball game on Monday night. That is one great musical. Amazing energy.
Monday, April 2, 2018:
We spent time prepping to leave with Jane doing more laundry and I filled the water tanks and attended to engine room checks. The forecast called for fog before 1000, but afterwards sunny with a high of around 83. South winds around 10 mph should boost our cruising. With the high tide scheduled for 1043, I’m in no hurry to escape the dock. We cranked up at 1000 and eased on over to the fuel dock, not for fuel but for a pump out of the holding tank. Patrick was there to help, but we were not getting suction. Finally, I noticed that the other end of the hose was not connected to their pump. Patrick screwed it back in and then the two of us wrestled the giant twisted anaconda (poop hose) to get it straightened back out.
With the tank drained we eased out into the river at 1030. By 1125 we were crossing the Savannah River and into South Carolina. While the crow may only have to fly 100 miles to cover the coast of Georgia, our circuitous route through the marshes and creeks seems like twice that. Crossing the river, there was no commercial traffic to contend with. At 1222 we were in the Cooper River and decided that we might as well enjoy cruising further and Jane called the Downtown Marina in Beaufort to see if we could have a mooring ball. It looks good so we abandon our plan to anchor out and continue on. At 1425 proceeded into Port Royal Sound. There is some light boat traffic and ferries operating. It also appears that we have spotted the cruise ship American Star again, but this time it was Independence.
We made it around Parris Island and into the Beaufort River and picked up a mooring ball at 1630. With the dinghy deployed we putted into the dock, got registered and after walking about a bit stumbled into Luther’s for dinner. We took a bar-height table near the bar. I recommend Luther’s for drinks. (They have a help wanted sign up, and I think they’re desperate.) The bartender seemed personable though, but she was a little overworked. There was a couple sitting at the bar very near us and as we finished up our repast he eked out one clearly-audible flatulence. Unembarrassed, he spun around, held up his hand and looking at Jane said, “My bad”. Frankly, that’s an ice-breaker. Turns out they are from Long Island, NY, and looking to move to Beaufort. He was enthralled about out trip and we left him a card to follow the blog. Now he’s in it. We returned to the boat with the dinghy at giddy-up throttle and bathed aboard in the tiny tub. We couldn’t get the NCAA championship basketball game on the TV and turned in after a long day. We better be able to get the Masters this weekend, wherever we are.