June 9, 2012
We sat in the covered veranda out back and watched the river over the dock. A sliver of green separated our river from the Intracoastal Waterway. We drove into downtown Savannah from Wilmington Island, past marshes and houses with docks. In downtown, we walked around Oglethorpe Square. On this day in 1732, James Oglethorpe was granted a charter by the British crown to found a colony south of the Carolinas. The colony of Georgia was founded in 1733 with the establishment of the city of Savannah, named for a nearby river that was named after a local tribe. Off Oglethorpe square, we ate at a local restaurant called Zunzi’s, which serves food originating in another former colony, one that entered British hands some 70 years after the Georgia colony’s founding, around the same time Savannah suffered a great fire and Abraham Baldwin was struggling for money to get his fledgeling University of Georgia off the ground.
We stood in line outside on the corner of a block of wrought iron windows and a stone house where the Marquis de Lafayette once spent the night. I ordered a “Boerewors Roll” (‘farmer’s sausage’ in Afrikaans). The woman behind the counter suggested we try first. The sausage was pitch-black, stuffed with spices, sour, and delicious. I got a boerewors sandwich on French bread with gravy and onions. We all ate outside under a tented table.
Back on the island we took the boat out. We lit out from the dock and slapped the waves along the side of Wilmington and Skiddaway Islands on the way to Wassau National Wildlife Refuge. The air was crisp and we could stand on deck to take the bumps in our knees, so long as the Coast Guard didn’t see us. My friend’s father pounded the waves to Wassau, where we passed boats moored by swimmers on the beach to a spot where the sandbar stuck out like the corner of a big pillow in the ocean. We dropped anchor and waded onto the sandy shoal littered with dry cane, and ran back into the ocean. We played in the waves. I waved to my friends far over the swells, and they waved back. I waded around, and then he was waving backwards. I heard, “Come here!” A little black ball bobbing on the whitecaps was our friend, a girl lost at sea. Our host leapt into the ocean and swam to her, hooked her under one arm and hauled her back in. None of the others had realized she was being swept away, and the boat was gone fishing, but our host saved her life.
On the shore were an old fort’s wall and cannon turret. Around the bend was a dead tree forest. Trees killed by the waves were rotting in the ocean and growing slime. A new tree grew out of a tick stump. The waves had piled sticks and logs against the shore. We climbed over the trunks, the roots and the sand, and there was a primeval forest. Our feet sank in spongy earth, and we were faced with dense palms and giant ferns.
We ate lowcountry boil on the dock. Red skin potatoes, corn, sausage, and shrimp boiled in a big tub on a propane flame and were dumped on the table. We peeled shrimp and chucked the shells in the ocean. We ate corn with Cayenne pepper and beer.
NB: Some information in this post came from Frommer’s Portable Savannah 5th Edition.