Synchronicity in Savannah
19 November 2007 | Isle of Hope, GA, Mile 590
Beth - sweater, morning and night - T-shirt in the daytime
We pulled into Isle of Hope Marina late on Friday afternoon after a very windy trip from Beaufort. The wind blew 15-20 all day long with frequent gusts to 30. I was longing to put up even a bit of sail but the ICW twists and turns so much, and is so narrow in places that it just wasn't worth it. Besides if a gust caught us and pulled us sideways in one of the narrow bits, we'd be aground in a flash.
Just as we were coming out of Fields Cut into the Savannah River, we saw a huge container ship go plowing by. I wish I'd had the camera handy - it would have been a good picture to see the ship completely covering the channel. We slowed a bit to let him clear and then proceeded out. The city of Savannah is upriver from the ICW route so we decided not to go up to the city itself with the boat, but to find a marina where we could safely leave the boat while we went exploring. We didn't end up doing quite as much exploration of Savannah as we had planned, but it was a magical stay nonetheless.
The Isle of Hope Marina was a very pleasant place - in a sweet bend in the river - and mercifully, well protected from the wind so docking was easy. Along with bicycles, there are also cars to borrow for 2 hour time periods. Mary signed one out for 6-8 and Jim took the 8-10 block (the last one of the evening) so we were able to drive to the Driftaway Restaurant for dinner and then go into Savannah in search of music. Our meals were excellent - I had shrimp and grits again - this time with crispy onion rings as part of the presentation. Jim's grouper was delicious too.
Enroute to Savannah, the oil light came on in this well-used Lexus we were driving so we made a quick stop to dump in a quart of oil and continued on our way. Mary's excellent navigation took us right down to River Street where we took an evening stroll to the Irish Pub. A good musician/good raiser of toasts/not-so-good-joke teller was entertaining there and we spent an enjoyable couple of hours. It was interesting that he played a couple of Eric Bogle songs (we have loved Bogle's music ever since we first heard him at the Winnipeg Folk Festival 20 years ago), and even one of Terry Kelly's (a musician from Halifax, NS!)
On Friday morning, Jim spent a profitable few hours hooking up a cable from GPS to the NMEA-Out terminals in the Raymarine Seatalk box. Translation: that enables the GPS to transmit latitude and longitude of the vessel in the event of a Mayday, and to send position reports to other boats who know the MMSI number assigned to Madcap. Further translation: in the event of an emergency, all we have to do is press one button which will broadcast a Mayday with our exact location. Friends can also locate us more easily.
I borrowed the marina's van and went shopping, returning with a full load of groceries and some fresh Georgia shrimp.
There were infrequent buses into Savannah, but we caught a midafternoon one - a whole hour-long experience in itself. I had a thoroughly good time listening in on all the conversations around me, trying to hear the differences in dialect, and enjoying the interaction of people; there was none of this silent, mind-your-own-business stuff that is often found on northern buses. It must have been a regular crowd because many of the folks knew each other, but it wasn't just that. At one stop, a woman was sleeping, and a voice called from a few seats back - "Wake her up! This is her stop!" The man sitting beside her complied, and off she went. A young woman and her boyfriend were on the way to the Greyhound station. She said Savannah was just too small for her. There was lots of conversation with the woman across the aisle who patted her arm and wished her well as she got off. I didn't manage to catch where she was going. A fellow got on board and discovered that the boyfriend was a fellow cook. High fives followed and an animated discussion followed on burns and expectations of managers and stories of meals returned because of allergies or diabetic diets that the diners had not mentioned before ordering. A young fellow with dreadlocks and piercings and a hood over his head accidentally stepped on my backpack, and surprised me by flashing a big smile with his "Sorry" and wished us Happy Thanksgiving!
We found a T-Mobile store on Bay Street where we bought some more minutes for our cell phone, took pictures of the Cotton Exchange building - built over an existing street - and then wandered along the waterfront to see if any of the boats tied up there were familiar ones. To our delight, we spied Ripple Effect from Nyak, NY, and this is where the synchronicity part of this tale begins.
We had last seen Jane and Lou in Beaufort and had wanted to talk more with them, so we called down a Hello! They promptly invited us and the other couple standing along the wall near us, down for drinks. The "other couple" - friends neither of us had met before - turned out to be Phil and Margaret on Sunshine (a PDQ) from Indiana. We had a very fine time sharing stories there, but this story gets even better. Phil and Marg were planning to meet their friend Dan at a sushi restaurant and generously invited the rest of us to join them. More animated conversation, and some very good sushi followed. Phil and Marg had offered to drive us back to Isle of Hope (about a 20 minute drive from Savannah - unless you are on a bus) as they went off to McAllisters Point, but Marjorie, Dan's friend, turned out to live right in Isle of Hope and so offered us a ride. How wonderful is that?
As we walked down the street with Marjorie, we met friends of hers. One 25ish young man has a brother in Toronto, is a surfer and has Nova Scotia on his list for future destinations. This young man is just back in college, focused and determined, while at 20 he was still exploring options and discovering himself and his place in the world. This was reassuring news for parents of a 20 year old who is doing the same thing!
We kept marveling for days about all the connections and similarities we found among this little microcosm of the cruising community. This is what it is like! How absolutely beautiful to encounter, and all it takes is a willingness to say, "Yes" when opportunity presents itself.