Monday, January 21, 2008
Two Way Fish Camp and Mudcat Charlie's
I was foolish to think that a little sunshine was going to make Sunday an easy day of cruising. It was definitely sunny, but it was so cold that three layers of shirts under the "foulies" and three pairs of socks masquerading as mittens still didn't keep us warm. I don't think the temperature got above 40 degrees and there was a 25-knot wind in our faces much of the day.
Now, I know that doesn't sound very cold to all you Hoosiers who are enduring sub-zero weather right now, but we traveled straight through from 7:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. We took turns at the helm so one of us could go inside the cabin to warm up.
In spite of the chill, we managed to log 31 miles. Our day of motoring ended at Two Way Fish Camp Marina, four and a half miles up the Little Altahama River from the ICW.
The difference between staying at a marina and anchoring out for the night is like the difference between camping out and staying at a motel. Camping out can be lots of fun, but after a few days, a motel has a lot to offer. Two Way Fish Camp Marina has friendly folks, hot showers, Maytag washers at 75 cents to wash and 75 cents to dry, and best of all, Mudcat Charlie's Restaurant.
Mudcat Charlie's and the Two Way Fish Camp Marina are about two miles from Darien, Georgia, a small fishing village, population 1,800. We are reliably informed that "Two Way Fish Camp" got its name because there are two ways to fish from there -- to the west is fresh water or go east and you're in saltwater. After we docked, checked in at the marina and straightened up the boat, we made our way across the docks to Mudcat Charlie's.
Mudcat Charlie's looks like a lodge, with knotty pine paneling and floors. The walls are decorated with stuffed deer heads, huge fish, and one nasty-looking wild boar. There is a bar in the middle and about 50 tables, which filled rapidly after we arrived, leading us to believe that Mudcat Charlie's might be the cultural center of Darien.
The waitresses were friendly and informal. Phil ordered the grouper dinner and I had the home-made crab stew, a deep fried soft-shelled crab, and cheese grits. Talk about heavenly..... these coastal Georgia cooks know how to prepare seafood. The Giants/Packers game was on several big-screen televisions and beer was flowing freely at Mudcat Charlie's.
We planned to leave Two Way Fish Camp Marina Monday morning, but once again, the Georgia weather changed our plans. We awoke to a rocking boat fueled by a fierce 35-knot wind that made us feel we were riding out a hurricane. The howling wind continued all day, convincing us that Two Way Fish Camp was the place to stay for now.
We checked in with the marina office about a taxi to town. (Some marinas offer loaner cars, but Two Way Fish Camp is not the loaner-car type of marina.) Darien had no taxi service, but a waitress from Mudcat Charlies came into the office and overheard our conversation. She said, "I have a truck that y'all are welcome to use." She didn't even ask our names, just handed us the keys. We gratefully accepted and drove the two miles (and four bridges) into Darien's only grocery store, a Piggly Wiggly, where we stocked up on what we expected to need for the next week or so. On the way back, we filled up her tank with gas. It was the least we could do for such generosity.
It's Tuesday morning. The hurricane winds have given way to sunny skies, calm water and an expected high today in the lower 60's. After we finish the laundry and fill the diesel tank, we'll continue our journey south.