Monday, October 18, 2010

Sailing Trips - Savannah to Brunswick cont

The twists and turns of the ICW made the trip back just as long in hours as the sail up to Savannah on the outside. This meant we needed to find a spot to anchor. We got through Hells Gate - a tricky stretch and then pulled off in Redbird Creek. The chartplotter was alarmingly off in terms of depth but we did ok. Shoaling no doubt. We tossed out the hook and settled in amongst the marshland with no one for miles but thousands of birds. The current of the creek kept us in the middle however it swung us around 180 in the middle of the night so that our nose was headed out and the stern was into the wind. It was weird. We didn't realize the current would do that. Live and learn. *Little Mud Creek was the other hairy spot. We hit it at high tide and got through fine. No way we could have made it at any other time.
The next morning we headed out just before dawn.
It was chilly so we busted out the fleece, foulies and caps. I kept my feet warm in my sea boots. One of the best buys I have made.
Traffic was fairly light on the ICW. But we weren't the only ones.
Twelve and a half hours later we pulled into our slip. We completed trip up and back to Savannah, covering approx 195 nm. Perfect way to celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary.

Sailing Trips - Savannah to Brunswick

For those non-sailors out there, the Inter Coastal Waterway or ICW as it is known to cruisers is a sort of water highway system that runs from Norfolk VA to Corpus Christie TX. It connects rivers and creeks, allowing boats to travel south without having to go out on the ocean.

Great in theory. However the ICW has it's own challenges. The biggest being the upkeep. Rivers flow into the sea - as many songs tell us. Tides rise and fall. All of this causes shoaling. Upkeep takes money and a very coordinated effort. Have you been watching Cspan? None of that is happening in at any level of government. This makes navigation on the ICW a challenge at times. Especially if you are traveling on a vessel with a 5'5" draft and 58'1/2" mast. Very little sailing if any gets done on the ICW. Constant attention is required in ICW navigation.

However, the flip side is traveling through some truly magically countryside brimming with wildlife of all types. Many quint little villages and marina's can be found on the ICW. Americana on the waterway. No, I did not copy that out of a cruising guide. Those are my flowery words!

Sailing trips - River monsters cont

Crap! I spoke too soon. Look what was coming around the bend on the river to greet us when we departed Savannah.

Sailing trips - Savannah river monsters

We did not know the port of Savannah is the 5th busiest container port in the US until we got there and read it in the cruising guide. This port does more container volume than NY and New Jersey together. Target, Wal-Mart, Ikea, Best Buy, Dollar General and many more have massive warehouses close by.
OMG! They are HUGE. And close!
And alarmingly quiet with very little wake. They ran day and night up and down the river. It was entertaining to sit in the cockpit of Honey Ryder at night and watch them ghost by.
And fast. One of these behemoth's radioed us before dawn as we were approaching the outer Savannah sea buoy. You would have thought Hammer Down Sea Salt was at the helm. It steamed by in no time flat. *Check out the orange escape pod on the back of the one above.
Of course the tugs were on the scene as well. Monsters in their own right. We found their movements fascinating. I have decided that I want to go out on a run with one of these workhorses.
Each one was different with different equipment.
Seeing these giants made me realize how lucky we were that it was only the USS Monterrey that overtook us on the sail up the Savannah River. While the warship was big, at least it had a moderate beam. These monster container ships basically take up the entire width of the river.

Sailing trips - Savannah people we met

3/4 of the fun of any adventure is the people you meet. This adventure was no different. Chaz is the dockmaster. If you go to Savannah - get river front dockage with him. He will take are of you. The pub Molly MacPherson's came recommended from sailors Tim and Melinda in Brunswick. Good call. Friendly regular Dave was interesting and pub owners the Boulanger's were super nice. Food was yummy and authentic....I think.
Our attempt to tour the warship failed but these two mates (Tony and Jon) were willing to chat about their lives as US seaman. We told them how impressed (and a tad intimidated) we were when they sailed pass on the river. They were equally impressed to learn that we sailed there on our own boat. They joined us on s/v Honey Ryder for a cold beer and more sailing talk. Really nice guys but then I have told you before....sailors in general rock.
They returned later with a gift for our hospitality, an official navy sailors hat. I had them sign it. Special K aka Kim had joined us by this time with boat gifts that include wine and beer. Soon we were trying to auction Kim off to raise $$ for future Honey Ryder adventures. Just kidding. As a navy brat she could talk the talk with them.
s/v Sirocco Irwin 46 with Bob & Lily and m/v Sea Love (?) joined s/v Honey Ryder along the river front. A quick visit with Bob and Lily convinced Tom and I to take the ICW back. They even loaned us their Waterway guide and Shipper Bob so we could make some notes before headed out. What did I tell ya....sailors are good people.

Sailing Trip - Savannah continued

We tied up along the historic river front, straightened up the boat a bit, rested, cleaned up and then hit the town. Savannah is SO historic. Very interesting. Below is the old river front wharf, now a shopping and tourist area. *But DON'T get in the way of the hundreds of women tourist coming to eat at Paula Deen's restaurant, buy her gourmet mixed and hopefully catch a glimpse of her or her family. I mean to tell you they will mow you down. 1/2 off all the tourist piling off a tour boat were there for the "Deen tour". You go girl!
Various historical groups have sponsored this monument or that plaque or this walking trail. All very well done.Some of the old buildings have been converted into law offices and dining establishments. We ate at 17 Hundred 90 with our sailing friend Kim. The name is from the year the house was built.

Below is the cemetery featured in the book and movie "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil." A little further down the ICW is THE Moon River. The one Johnny Mercer sings about. And of course the Mercer/Williams house is a dominate character in the above book.

Not all was old. Below is the Olympic cauldron from the 1996 Atlanta based Olympic games. Seems the yachting events were held around Savannah.

Sailing Trips - Savannah

We decided to sail up to Savannah GA on the outside. The new chart software (that we are still learning to use) said it would take 20 hrs total. Savannah is approx 7 miles inland from the sea. We wanted to enter the Savannah river during the day light hours so we left Brunswick around 4pm. We made a nice over night run up the coast with an east wind that clocked around to the west by the time we hit the outer sea buoy. However the seas were a bit rolly. Four hour shifts were fine. By the way, we made it in 19 hrs and the new chart software rocks!
The Savannah river seems wide enough until this bad boy sailed up behind us. This is the warship USS Monterrey. OMG! Seriously. I was at the helm when they first sailed into my rear view mirror so to speak. However they radio us asking our course and then instructing us to stay as close a possible to the red channel markers and they would slide on by. And that they did. Very courteous. Sorry the pic is blurry. We didn't think it was smart to click away as they went by. Personally my hands were tightly gripping the helm. As you can see, they were already in their dress whites and on the rails. Once we reached port, Tom immediately looked it up on the web. Big time techie warship. Again....OMG!

Southern Fried

Yes my friends, that is FRIED corn on the cob and it is delicious! I am not a big fan of fried stuff but perhaps this is because here in Kansas we don't fry much. We are big hunk of beef country. Fried food items in Kansas are iffy. It might be good, it might not. The south on the other hand has not only perfected it but it seems made it a past time. The fried corn on the cob at the Oyster Shack was tender and yummy. Good stuff.
This on the other hand...not so much. Really? It's 2010.

Honey Ryder upgrades

If you remember back to our May 2010 trip from Panama City FL to Brunswick GA, Captain Mark called on several friends in various areas of the marine industry to ask questions and help troubleshoot....
a marine electronics friend when the autopilot quit for a while, a rigging friend when the headsail furling gear looked wrong, a marine radar friend and so on and so forth. I remember thinking....MUST get some friends like that. Well - we have.
Meet Jay Sellers our NEW marine electronics friend. Officially Guru Marine. And check our his ride. Is that awesome or what! We have hired Jay to help us with our VHF communication challenges. But more on that later.

Sailing gear - watch necessities

Exciting, fun, safe sailing is partially about forming good habits. We are using well proven sailing and ship habits that we formed through the years and adding to them as we get to know s/v Honey Ryder better. Thus improving our sailing skills and the fun factor. Sheesh...I should write ads for sailing manufacturers.
Above are all the things that go into the cockpit when we go sailing.
This rail bag is especially handy for keeping track of small items.
All nice, neat and easy to reach. *Note the kewl new FLOATING handheld VHF. More on this later.

Sailing gear - head lamps

There are a bunch of headlamps on the market. One of the sailing mags had a good review of this one and it has turned out to be a great headlamp for sailing. The Petzl e+lite with whistle. Check it out on the web for all the whistles and bells...get it....whistle? Anyway, we use these at night on watch and off. For the watch person, it's light weight with many settings. I was able to check the sails with mine in red mode without ruining my night vision. The off watch person can locate items below without turning on main lights and thus ruining the watches vision. Good stuff. A must for us.
Thanks Mom and Dad, we have put these handy Xmas gifts to work!

Honey Ryder maintenance

Maintenance. It is a constant thing on Honey Ryder. The marine environment is brutal. These pilers have been on her since May. They looked new back then. They have been tucked away in the canvas tool bag in a locker below. Maybe I will become Cinderella locked away polishing the stainless only to be whisked away to the yacht club ball- NOT! The glass flip flop won't save me. Besides - yacht club ball? Me? Yeah- right! We are just going to have to stay diligent in our maintenance schedules. Yes, I said schedule(s) as in plural. We have multiple spreadsheets for maintenance. Thanks to Emily & Barry for sharing theirs. I also copied Beth Leonard's maintenance lists to make our multiple schedules.

Honey Ryder -Around the boat

To us, s/v Honey Ryder is a HUGE boat. She is so much longer than our C30. Especially when you count the bow sprit and dinghy davits. She is bigger inside with tons of storage. A key feature is her sturdy construction. And so on and so forth.
However....overall we are still talking about a relatively small amount of space for two people and a ton of gear. At home I have 3 of the 4 closets. Duh!
So where is Cap10 Tom's area of the boat? Where can he be found?
Nav station? Some.
Helm? Some.
Salon? Some.
But when space gets really tight, Cap10 Tom heads for HIS locker. A quiet little place where he can think, ponder and figure things out - like how in the hell he is going to heft out the batteries off Honey Ryder when that day final comes...hopefully years from now.
Cap10 Tom's locker even comes with a pillow for comfort or when things get really bad and he is forced to sleep in there. Just kidding.....MAYBE. Actually it's the engine room on Honey Ryder.

Honey Ryder upgrades

Old docklines. Stiff, heavy and chaffed in areas.
New docklines. Yay! Supple, light, and chafe free (for now). We definitely sleep better at night knowing these are on.