Friday 15 Jun: Arriving Savannah
Oana’s birthday today! When Glen asked her what she would like to do on her birthday, Oana said “I don’t want to be at sea on my bday!”. And Glen, with his usual “I’ll listen to all your wishes”, not only he planned for a passage, it was a night passage too. So Oana’s birthday celebrations started with a 1-4.30am shift.
It was in fact a lovely broad reach birthday sail throughout the night with constant 11-15kts south-west wind. We make a good speed of 7+kts, and this would get us to the entrance of Savannah channel too early, so after midnight we furl the genoa away and sail with the main only, to slow us down a little.
By 5am we are at the safe entrance buoy and gradually turn higher into the wind, sailing up the channel as the dawn comes in. There isn’t any traffic and it is a very long channel, 20nm up the Savannah river. There are no particular pretty sights, except the huge Pulaski Fort from the civil war on our port side.
As we enter the town docks area, it all looks very industrial; an LNG terminal, dock cranes and container ships everywhere. And we start to wonder if Savannah really will be the jewel at the end of the journey, or not.
But as we draw level with the old town quay there is the Riverside Market Dock, and across the other side Westin Hotel. It looks very inviting to go explore and we can’t wait!
But first things first: mooring. We are booked with the Riverside Market Dock, but our place is taken by a large RIB, so we go in circles for more than an hour waiting for our dock to clear. And all this time huge cargo ships stacked with containers are going up and down the river. We feel so tiny next to them, and certainly glad to have an insurance!
At long last, we are moored between a large motor cruiser and a 150ft super yacht, whose single mast must be 3x taller than ours. Again, we feel tiny, like a toy boat compared to these too 🙂 It’s a floating pontoon so no need to worry about the 3m tidal range here. The over-boom sunshade is up within minutes and the relief from the sun heat is almost instant. Not much breeze here, we would melt without our sunshade. When the large cargo ships are passing, there is very loud lapping on our stern, and we wonder if we will manage to sleep with all this noise.
All in order on decks and we are ready to head to the town! Quick stop in the very well organized tourist information office, and we are armed with maps and brochures which we read through over a very nice coffee in the French Cafe M.
We skipped the trolley tour today, and chose to walk instead. The historical center is amazing! Magnificent buildings, very nice roads shaded by large oak trees, and scenes from “Gone with the wind” or “Forest Gump” come to our minds. If we disregard the people walking around us, we can imagine ourselves back in time, when it all started in 1733 when James Oglethorpe landed to set up an English colony here. In 10 years he had an area of 1 x 2 miles cleared and the town plan laid out, pretty much as the streets are today. It was the first street planned city in the new world.
Uniquely it has lots of garden squares, 22 in total, all very shaded by Southern Oak trees and each one hosting a monument, with explanatory boards. Today we walked the middle row, Bull Street, from the Johnson Square to Forsyth Park. Till we got very hungry and overheated, at which point we caught a free DOT bus back to the high street. Our cravings for today were ice cream and Thai. Proper gelato didn’t come our way, and the Thai was closed, so the next best thing was a noodle bar, with Thai dishes. Green papaya salad, red curry and Phad Thai were our choices, yummy.
Then we walked a bit to lower our lunch, did some shopping, and investigated several bars for the live music scene this evening. Found a jazz bar, roof top bar and few other generic ones. And back to Cloudy Bay for a little siesta. After all, we only slept 3-4h last night. Well, siesta for Glen, reading for Oana; who only does day time naps when “sick”!
At sunset we are looking pretty and head to town again. What a difference from earlier, the streets are buzzing. Lots of people about, and music everywhere, both on the streets and inside bars. The river front is packed with stalls, selling all sorts.
Our first stop is at the Rocks on the Roof, at the Bohemian Hotel. Very nice upmarket roof top bar, with live music. The band sounds very good, and the male singer has an impressive voice. So we order our cocktails and blend in, enjoying the atmosphere. Brilliant bar.
Later in the evening, armed with the map of best bars in town, we walk the streets hoping to find another one equally good. What we didn’t know, was that we need IDs to enter the bars (which we didn’t have with us), so our quest is not very successful. We come across some where we could get in to check out the atmosphere, but in most we were politely declined access. Overall, a very nice evening, we love this town.
At midnight we are back at Cloudy Bay, looking forward to hug our pillows. It’s been a very long and exciting 24 hour day for us.
Savannah (GA), day 1 – birthday in a beautiful town
Friday 15 Jun: Arriving Savannah