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Outdoor Matters: Get outside even during the cold months
Hector Claudio Outdoor Matters mug
Hector Claudio is a Richmond Hill resident.

Wow, this month has flown by. We hope everyone is having an amazing, holiday time with their friends and family! If you happened to be out and about recently, enjoying any of our local boat parades during this festive season, you may have seen us. After many weeks of preparation and wonderful creativity from Art Wright, we turned out to have an award-winning boat in two lighted boat parades.

It’s not really that big of a deal. We just like to enjoy ourselves and are proud of being called “award winning.” You might have seen us when we first participated in Savannah’s Boat Parade of Lights, sponsored by the Savannah Harbor Foundation, where we heard we were awarded Most Spirited. Next came Richmond Hill’s annual Ogeechee Lighted Boat Parade, hosted by Fort McAllister Marina and Fort McAllister Sport Fishing Club, where we won first place.

We want to thank all of you who supported us and gave us a shout out. It was awesome to see and hear the sounds of kids yelling, “Hey, that’s Santa’s hat!” This is our third year participating in these fun boat parades and we learned a lot, as we always do. Thanks to our “award-winning” lessons, we look forward to providing spectators with the next level of creativity in the years to come.

Since we’re still playing bi-polar with the weather – 70s and 40s with no end in sight – you may be wondering what there is to do outdoors. I would have to say: don’t be a stranger in your own town. One of the biggest complaints for some people are the bugs in our area so, with these cooler temperatures, now’s the chance to throw on a jacket and play tourist. I’ve been here five years and it was only this past summer that I visited places like Wormsloe Park.

Yes, in the summer it was hot and sweaty, but it was still a decent walk with a beautiful view. Now that it’s winter, I know how much better the experience will be when we head out to enjoy it again as a family.

The same applies to walking around downtown Savannah and enjoying the museums and beautiful squares after the holiday rush has passed. The busiest tourist seasons are spring and fall but there will be less crowds in the new year, so why not take the opportunity to enjoy these experiences soon?

And don’t forget our very own Richmond Hill History Museum and other historical sites on our doorstep.

Taking a totally different view of what the outdoors has to offer, don’t forget to look up. If you’re fortunate enough to live in an area where you can make a nice fire and have good visibility of the sky, watch out for a shooting star and make your wish.

Ursids meteors are near and peak just before Christmas. It’s not one of the largest meteor showers, but it’s none the less amazing to even see a shooting star.

Google “Ursids” for the best time to catch this phenomenon.

For our fisherman or aspiring fisherman, sheepshead fishing is already hot and I’m seeing a lot of friends pull up a lot of these tasty fish, although they are a little more challenging to catch than others.

They have teeth, almost like people do, that they use for eating crustaceans. Fiddler crabs are all you need for bait as well as the ability to be quick to react as they bit. In my opinion, this is a great, good-tasting, hardy white-meat fish, with a little more natural fish flavor due to their oil content.

While we’re talking about fishing, let’s look at boating during this season. I can’t stress enough the importance for all boaters to start taking action now on all the maintenance and/or any changes you want to make to your boat.

I know the sun goes down early, but don’t be afraid to put out some lights and check for proper wiring, do some cleaning, safety prep, oil changes and anything else that’s needed.

If you wait until spring then – in true boating fashion – you’ll go to fix one thing and find two others that need to be done as well. Or even worse, you’ll have to take it to the shop to be fixed.

Waiting until the weather gets nice increases your chances of completely missing the beginning, or all, of the boating and fishing season. There’s an increasing trend I’ve noticed from experiencing boat ownership in Atlanta, South Florida and now in our region. Anytime you take a boat to the shop and they give you a time frame, you might as well go ahead and multiply that time estimate by 2 or 3. It doesn’t matter if it’s just an oil change.

I’ve heard about new boats or engine re-powers that are in the six-figure range. It doesn’t matter, marine repairs are more complicated than cars. And our good friend saltwater tends to bring out the worst in engines. While marine engines are designed to handle it, they must be maintained diligently to keep your boat out of the shop. Please take care of your boat’s maintenance early and regularly, so that you and your families can continue creating amazing experiences on the water that you’ll remember for a lifetime.

As we close out 2019, please take care. I’ve seen many first responders on the roads lately. Take your time getting from one place to another. While you’re shopping, remember the person next to you may be going through a tougher time than you.

As we shouted from the boat parade – simply be good to one another. Love one another.

We wish all of you happy holidays from the EveryDayBoater family!

Hector can be contacted at or at

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