|Doesn't it look like this egret is dreaming of sailing away? We are too.|
The thing I love most about cruising is the interesting (non-cruiser) people we meet when we linger in a place. In some ways the boat makes that easier -- having the story of living and traveling on a boat makes us somewhat more ‘interesting’ ourselves and opens many doors. At the same time, the thing I hate most about cruising is saying goodbye to those people as we inevitably move on. I suck at “goodbye.” Whether it’s leaving a party at the end of the evening, or leaving an anchorage at the end of the season, I’d be happier just ghosting away quietly, no announcement needed, just “e-you later; see you online until I see you again.”
Well, of course it didn’t happen that way, as we delayed our departure for one last happy hour, one more lunch with friends, one last visit to the Castillo or El Galeon, one last time walking down St George Street in pirate garb. A farewell pizza after work with friend Grace turned out to be a surprise going-away party, followed a few days later by our last Saturday night sail with our friends on Black Raven, and then we all hung out aboard afterward, one last round of drinks together. Days were spent preparing the boat, topping up fuel and water, checking sails and navigation lights that we haven’t needed in almost 6 months (!!) of stationary marina life.
I've said it before: I can’t remember when I've had so much fun, or met so many people I liked all in one place, as I have in St Aug. But we were both feeling itchy and restless, feeling the heat humidity increase and knowing that soon hurricane season will be on us. It was time to sail north.
So finally, on a bright Monday morning, we went through the Bridge of Lions – ringing our ship’s bell as we passed El Galeon at the dock and getting teary-eyed to see the crew lining the rail waving goodbye (see you in the next port, friends). At the 9:00 VHF net, instead of checking in as “regular listeners” we checked in during a different part of the broadcast, the “departures.” And then out the inlet, gently rolling 3-foot seas, and steered a heading due north.
The trip was pretty, and comfortable; our boat had a pleasant motion with the mainsail up, but the ocean seemed to me to be scarily empty of life. We passed a single pod of dolphins, a total of 6 turtles … and lots of jellyfish. I couldn’t help but wonder if they were multiplying unchecked because all their predators have been overfished.
After 10 hours we turned in to the St Mary’s entrance, wide and well-marked for big ships, and tied to a mooring at Fernandina harbor.
I’m dreaming of visiting new places and reacquainting ourselves with old favorites along the route. And because our social calendar has been so crammed, because we’ve been in a marina in the heart of downtown, I’m especially dreaming of quiet nights in some secluded anchorages along the way. Enough city for now, I want nature. Staying on a mooring for a while instead of at the dock is a great first start.