Friday, May 11th, 2012
By Kate “Bob” Addison
Underway again and sailing is a good time to look back and reflect, so I want to tell you a bit more about our last port, Savannah, and the nice times we had there. Called Charleston’s “naughty little sister” she might be, but Savannah is a great historical port in her own right. Twenty miles from the sea, right on the river that divides South Carolina from Georgia, the town was built on the European cotton trade – at one time seeing the river full of ships, the view dominated by wooden masts, colourful flags flying from spars and white sails drying in the sun would have been commonplace, now it is a pretty special sight.
Savannah today is the third largest container port in the USA visited by eight or nine big container ships a day. The only other place I’ve seen so much commercial traffic is the Panama Canal. These ships look absolutely huge going up the narrow river and so close to our ships moored along the waterfront. The Picton Castle was moored right astern of the USCG Barque Eagle and we could look at the ships from the rooftop restaurants. The juxtaposition of past and present exists throughout the town too: the old cotton warehouses on the waterfront are now full of the bright lights of cafes, bars and little shops; the big old moss covered plane trees offer shade to people playing on their iPads. There was a real buzz about the town, and not just because of Tall Ships: people were graduating in caps and gowns, having their photos taken by proud parents; there were celebrations for Cinquo de Mayo; lots of people having lots of fun.
An enormous thank you is owed to the liaison officers and volunteers who gave their time to help make Savannah such a success for the Picton Castle too. Thanks especially to Harry J Fox and Ben T Franklin: for driving us all around town to get jobs done, taking the off watch to a fabulous lunch at the famous Mrs Wilkes’ (serious down-home Southern Cooking to which we were all invited) and delivering buckets of ice cream to the on watch at the end of a hot hot day. Thank you.