Savannah – Not long after I woke up on Wednesday morning, I heard Savannah Pilots call “Cutter Eagle” (USCGC Eagle, WIX-327) on Marine VHF Ch. 14. There was no reply to that call, but a couple of calls, later Savannah Pilots got a reply (they could hear Eagle at the time, I couldn’t). Based on the one side of the conversation I heard, Eagle was to meet the river pilot at the Racon Bouy and come in to Savannah after a cargo ship. Yesterday, I made some plans to give my nephew a ride over to the Savannah NWR around 0900, so I wasn’t sure I’d have the chance to catch some photos of the Eagle‘s arrival later in the morning. Luckily, after I picked him up, he was interested in seeing it as well, so we ended up at Old Fort Jackson with the plan of touring the fort and catching the Eagle. After a bit, we hung out on the top level of the fort and kept watch for the ship to come around the bend near Elba Island.
The top level of Fort Jackson was a nice place to watch the river from. While we waited, we saw the cargo ship that I heard Savannah Pilots talking about earlier, the CMA CGM Moliere. Not long after that, Savannah Fire and Emergency Services new fireboat MARINE 1, “Courageous” passed by going upriver toward downtown but came back later and hung around just upriver from Fort Jackson waiting for the Eagle. An interesting sight during the wait was the tug John Parrish towing some pipeline (I’m guessing that it is probably related to the dredging operations on the Savannah River) up the river with assistance from the tug Kelly Anne at the rear of the pipeline.
Shortly after 1100, COAST GUARD 6555, one of the MH-65Ds out of Coast Guard Air Station Savannah flew up the river to downtown then came down toward Elba Island and orbiting around. I figured that it was a sign that the Eagle wasn’t very far away and it turned out to be the case. Sure enough, I heard them tell the Air Station on 345.000 that the Eagle was at Elba Island, about 15 minutes from Fort Jackson (I think that was for 6530, which I heard later with Eagle on Marine VHF Ch. 21 regarding some PIO photos). The Eagle soon came into sight with an escort from 6555, Coast Guard Auxiliary 578, and Coast Guard 29200. As she passed by Fort Jackson, one of the fort’s interpreters fired a salute from their cannon. The only lens I had was a borrowed 150-500mm zoom lens and I couldn’t get the ship and the salute in a photo together (next time I’ll remember to bring the camera bag and a smaller lens).
Throughout the morning, I kept an ear on Marine VHF channels and the Coast Guard Station Tybee and Air Station Savannah Rescue 21 frequencies. Both of the Rescue 21 channels, CG 113 and CG 410 were encrypted, but there was also traffic from Eagle, Savannah Pilots, 6555, 6530, Auxiliary 578, 29200, and Savannah Fire MARINE 1 on various Marine VHF channels. Channel 13 was also active with the ships and working boats traveling the river. These are always good frequencies to keep an ear on if you’re watching traffic on the Savannah River:
- Marine VHF Ch. 16 – 156.800
- Marine VHF Ch. 13 – 156.650
- Marine VHF Ch. 14 – 156.700
- Marine VHF Ch. 21 – 157.050
- CG 113 – 150.300 (P25 NAC 293)
- CG 410 – 413.000 (P25 NAC 293)
Getting to see the USCGC Eagle is always a treat and this time I’m glad I was able to give my nephew the opportunity to see it, it was his first time seeing the United States’ majestic tall ship. It will be in Savannah through 19 March; River Street will be an awful mess during the St. Patrick’s Day Weekend, but if you want to brave the madness, it might be worth it for a look at the Eagle if you’ve never seen her before.