This past Saturday we took our first real trip aboard Joy Girl, heading south to Savannah, GA. By car the drive would be less than an hour, but in our trawler it was over three hours. Yes, that’s slow, but the comparative level of relaxation more than makes up for the speed differential. Adding to the lesson of not being too committed to a schedule, dredging operations in our home marina (to make it deeper) delayed our planned early morning departure by well over an hour. Still, the tides and weather were more than cooperative for a smooth journey to the south. Niki’s cousin Shari joined us for the trip and served as our tour guide and concierge ashore, having been there many times before. Upon arriving at our destination, we docked at the Westin Savannah Harbor. Joy Girl looked so proper, sitting right there in front of the grand hotel. Directly across the Savannah River from the heart of the old city, the Westin is a more secure place to leave one’s boat than the city docks on the other side, and a short and free ferry soon took us right to where we wanted to be.
As we crossed the river, we were greeted to the sight of the Georgia Queen, an immense, four story tall paddle wheel boat, docked near the golden dome of Savannah’s City Hall. This grand lady made Joy Girl look pretty tiny by comparison. But considering that Savannah is a busy port (the fourth busiest in the county!) and a city proud of its long history and heritage, the Georgia Queen seemed to fit right in with her surroundings.
A bit later the three travelers were savoring lunch at Tubby’s (which is what I would quickly become if I ate food of that quality and quantity often). Suddenly we heard the booming blast of a horn. The waitress announced “ship shots, everyone!”, and an enormous container ship came into view, making her way down the river toward the ocean. Look just in front of the big ship’s bow and you’ll see Joy Girl, looking way too much like a tiny minnow about to be swallowed up. As she sailed majestically by, I was reminded of that old drawing of a little fish about to be eaten by a bigger fish, who in turn was about to be ingested by an even larger fish. I have no idea how many containers these monsters can carry, but the larger containers (such as the red “K-Line” at the top of the sixth or seventh row) could each probably contain nearly our entire vessel and are stacked in rows 15 or more across and 6 layers high. Yikes!
Due to low tides, we took a slightly different route home, including a brief foray into the Atlantic. Then as we headed back toward Calibogue Sound (at the south end of Hilton Head Island) we were met by a small bank of fog. Our radar is somewhat antiquated and your author is thoroughly untrained in its use, but using the screen for guidance, combined with the hawk like vision of Niki and Shari, we successfully piloted our way back to clearer skies and safe arrival back home just before sunset.