May 26, 2010
In a hotel room near Brunswick, Georgia
Spin spin spin. The whirlwind ejected 4 dazed cruisers and one still-working boat onto the Florida shores. Where did the last 8 months go?
Two weeks ago we were in the Exumas, sharing a dinner with buddies on O’Hana, exploring the dinghy creeks at Shroud Cay and eyeballing beaches. One week ago, we were in the Abacos, anchored by ourselves at Bakers Bay and finding incredible shells at the spoil island created when a cruise ship company created a passage for one of their behemoths. Today, I am in a hotel room with the kids, our rental car stuffed to the gills with boat treasures. Jeremy is at Marc’s dock, cleaning up the boat and getting ready to singlehand up the East Coast.
We had a fast passage across the Banks and across the Stream to Canaveral last Saturday night, averaging 6.6 knots before we entered the Gulf Stream. The weather picture looked grim if we had delayed even for a day – we could well have been unable to get across for at least another week. So we cut our time short a couple of days and had an uneventful, if lumpy at times, crossing. We crossed on May 22 – we had done the reverse exactly 6 months before, crossing to the Bahamas on November 22.
Entering Florida was relatively easy. Our course northward had 4 cruise ships converging on our track between 1 and 3 am, which was, umm, interesting. The steady stream of small boats heading out of the inlet, bound for Atlantic fishing, reminded us that it was Sunday. Dolphins and manatees played near our bow. By 1 pm we were once again tied up at Marc and Colleen’s, our first dock since the Turks and Caicos sometime in March.
My first culture shock? Marc very generously loaned me his truck to go grocery shopping. The truck is as big as Calypso (ok, small exaggeration), only with more freeboard. Driving was a shock – which side do I drive on? The last time I was behind the wheel of a vehicle, it was a golf cart and in the Bahamas, you drive on the left. 40 mph? How do I possibly go that fast? My world has been at 5 knots for a long, long time. The grocery store defies mention. It took me 10 minutes to decide on which kind of boneless chicken breasts to buy. I mean, in the Exumas, if you see any boneless chicken breasts that are not freezer-burned, you are in luck.
The kids will be back in school on Friday, I will be frantically (or methodically, depending on my state of mind) getting the house back in shape, and Jeremy has about 3 weeks of solitude as he drones his way up the East Coast.
So should we sell the house and keep going? Settle down to a “normal” existence of school and work and soccer and sailing? Find a great place to live near the water and move there and pick up #2?
Whatever our long-term decision, our challenge and priority will be keeping the simplicity and wonder we found this year.
Maybe I should seed the backyard with shells and sea beans, and take us all for strolls to find them every now and then.
Update, May 26
Charlottesville Public Library, while the kids search for books to read.
We arrived at the house at 6:30 last night, dazed and discombobulated. A friend passed by in her van and waved as if nothing was out of the ordinary. After organizing rooms, checking on favorite things, grocery shopping, and making beds, we crashed at about 10 pm. Today has been filled with errands, a task that will not end any time soon.
So, to all Charlottesville friends, we are indeed back. Call me on my cell, if you wish to talk!