Georgia.....but STILL cold!

Melvyn Brown
Fri 10 Dec 2010 15:32

32:01.5N 81:02.8W


We know we can’t expect any sympathy from those having to dig their car out….but we are experiencing ‘record breaking’ low temperatures here and a couple of days ago there was ice on the inside of the windows….which melted and dripped onto my as-yet-unused sun hat….oh the irony!


We have been anchoring for the past three nights, making a dash from Georgetown for Savannah in order to capitalise on the ‘weekend special’ car hire so we could do some sightseeing.  The best laid plans an’ all that.  We experienced a couple of hours delay when we encountered a swing bridge which refused to open.  We arrived for the10 o‘clock opening, only to be told they were experiencing a malfunction.  At noon it was decided a quick fix would be to open the bridge manually to let the motley collection of yachts through – some of which had been there since 9.00am.  We were asked to proceed carefully through the half opened bridge as manual opening was a slow process and the traffic had already been halted for 15 minutes.


This morning we left our anchorage at first light in order to reach a swing bridge a mile away which – according to the guide I was following – opened on the hour between 7-9 and 4-6 and every twenty minutes the rest of the day.  I used the VHS radio to request an opening on the hour and was told he would open it if we got there before 7 o’clock but it wasn’t really scheduled to be opened until 9.00am.  Either the guide was incorrect or I had misunderstood.  We arrived with two minutes to go and the very kind bridge controller stopped the commuter traffic and let little ol’ us through.  There was a lot of traffic and I dread to think what was being said about us.


There are still a lot of bridges that have to be opened to let yachts through (it must be chaotic at the height of the so-called snowbirders’ migration).  We have found the bridge operators to be very pleasant and prepared to be accommodating - holding up the opening for a few minutes to give you a chance to get there in time - and they usually send you on your way with “Have a nice day” or “Good sailing”.  There was only one that was awkward, and we were forewarned by a sailor in the nearby Marina.  He was in charge of a bridge leading to a very exclusive private estate and the residents were his first priority.  The arrangement was supposedly “Upon Request” but when we arrived at 9.04 he seemed to have arbitrarily decided on a timetable of his own and he told us the next opening would be at 9.30.  The problem was we then missed the next bridge opening on the hour.  Many of the bridges have been replaced in the last few years, I know that because our guide is somewhat out-of-date and many of those described are no longer opening bridges but huge concrete fly-overs.  We only just missed having to pass through the last pontoon bridge on the ICW, its replacement is only a couple of months old and the wooden pontoon is still there – but now permanently open.


The strong tides in the rivers we passed have proved a problem in that we NEVER seem to have them in our favour.  The boat’s speedometer will show something like 5.5 knots when motoring, but there is another which shows Speed Over Ground (SOG) and a knot or more can be lost to a tide in the wrong direction.  Occasionally the body of water will be large enough - and the wind in the right direction - to put up some sail, but mostly that simply cancels out the negative effect of the tide and brings the SOG back up to match the engine speed.  However should the tide be pushing us AND the wind is in the right direction well then the boat races along at a heady 6.8 or 7.0 knots.  On one occasion, on the Wacamaw river, the conditions were perfect and we flew along at 9.5knots – practically made my nose bleed!