18 January 2019

Just One Dance is once again easing her way up the dark brown waters of the ICW. It’s a cold day, but its sunny and the sky is blue. With the panels of our clear eisenglass enclosure all zipped up, our cockpit stays warm and cozy. Waterborne traffic this far up the coast is light, most of the cruisers having headed south to warmer climes months ago, so we see fairly few boats along the way.

Normally, we would have had a short first day of travel heading north to Savannah and then anchored at our usual spot at Buttermilk Sound. One of the realities of moving along the Intracoastal Waterway though is that the tides really matter. Water levels can swing six to eight feet between high and low tide. The mouth of the Mud River, which we traverse on this trip, is extremely shallow at the low tide mark, so we needed to avoid hitting it any near low tide. That requires us to push on further today so that we can cross into the Mud no earlier than mid-tide. Cindy found a new anchorage on the Rockdedundy River, a short waterway that feeds into the ICW and at around 3 in the afternoon we drop and set our anchor.

We very quickly realize we love this anchorage. It sits peacefully amid the Georgia marsh grasses and there’s no boat traffic to be seen; the only sounds we hear are the gentle lapping of the waves against our hull and the plaintiff cries of the marsh birds. I fix us a couple of cocktails and Cindy and I settle into the pillows in our sun-warmed cockpit to read and enjoy the quietness of the late afternoon. Max, bold and curious as always, goes out to explore the top of our bimini and discovers our sailbag.


Peaceful anchor spot on the Rockdedundy River

I can’t tell you how important the simple pleasure of this spot is in this particular moment. After the tribulations we had endured taking the boat up to Savannah the first time and the frustrations of trying to figure out and solve the issues we’ve had since leaving, we had both openly questioned if we wanted to continue sailing. All it took was this one sweet moment to remind us of why we love doing this. As the sun goes down, I make us dinner and we watch a couple of episodes of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” that Cindy downloaded onto her iPad before heading below to bed.

Max explores her boat at our Rockdedundy anchorage

The next morning, we haul up anchor and push on northward, hitting the mouth of the Mud River at mid-tide as planned and still seeing the water depth dropping to less than 6 feet. The day, as the previous one, is cold but sunny and blue-skied and we stay toasty-warm bundled up in what passes for our cold weather gear inside our cockpit enclosure. Jack, as per usual, hides in the aft cabin but Max, our adventurous little girl-cat is all over the cockpit, exploring everywhere, riding in Cindy’s lap and curling up on my feet. Missy is right back in her element, patrolling laps around the deck and chasing down the few fishing boats that speed past us.

Sunrise departure for the Mud River

In the late afternoon, we dock at Kilkenny Marina, the quaint little spot on Kilkenny Creek we found on our way up to Savannah the previous time. Since we arrive on a Friday night, the adjacent Marker 107 restaurant is open, and we opt to head up there for dinner. The short walk up the roadway to the restaurant winds through huge ancient live oaks, dressed in the Georgia style with masses of Spanish moss dripping from their limbs. We’re both hungry since we only had a light lunch underway, but we end up having to wait for 30 minutes outside the restaurant since they don’t open until 5pm.

Once it opens though, we both find we’re quite impressed; the ambiance is a nice combination of elegant and casual, with a row of floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Kilkenny Creek and the marsh grasses beyond. We start our meal with a warm crab dip served on a hollowed-out boule of French bread; both of us agree, this dish is a winner. Cindy gets the redfish topped with lump crabmeat and I opt for simple chicken tacos (closest thing I’ve had to Mexican food in a while); both are delicious. After dinner we meander on back to the boat, watch a couple more episodes of “Mrs. Maisel” and settle in for the night.

No idea what this foam is but the swirl its very artsy…

The next morning, we push off at first light, needing to time our passage through the notorious shallows of Hell Gate to coincide with the local high tide. We pass through without incidence but as predicted, the weather today is cloudy, and the enclosed cockpit is filled with a bone-chilling cold. Cindy and I are bundled up in the few warm things we packed with us to the boat; we resolve to get some additional warm weather clothing once we get to Savannah, in spite of the fact that we’ll have no use for it once we get to warmer climes.

After our early departure, we arrive in Savannah on Saturday at about noon and, with the help of a couple of fellow cruisers, tie up on the marina facedock (Side note – I’m still surprised at the number of experienced boaters who will still simply hold a dock line that’s been passed to them rather than taking one wrap around a dock cleat. In a tug-of-war between you and a 16,000 pound boat, you will lose without the leverage that cleat will give you!). A heavy gale is expected later in the day, so we run out extra lines and put out our “big boy” fenders. As the wind picks up, we settle in and wait for work to get started on Monday morning…

Just One Dance returning to the hard