I've written many press releases as part of my job, but as we prepared to leave Florida I searched for ways to say farewell to our friends (and put a more positive spin on it than, "We hate the way the state is handling the virus; we've gotta run, 'bye."), it felt like I was crafting a press release for my own life. It went something like this:
We'd been planning to cruise Cinderella north next spring, since coronavirus has pretty much destroyed our El Galeon trips. But now we've had an unanticipated opportunity to get Cinderella to the Chesapeake for about 2 years beginning this fall instead. (Going north in November? Yikes!)
Sadly, we're going to have to relinquish our slip at the Municipal Marina downtown. It just doesn't make financial sense to hold on for 2 years. We'll come by later in the week to say goodbye and tell everyone the details. It has been absolutely delightful living here for the last 7 years . St Aug will always have a special pull for us; I'm certain we will be back for many visits.
Beginning Nov 2 we will be trucking Cinderella to her next home port in Annapolis, MD. ETA November 5. I'm very, very, conflicted – we love St Augustine for the town's Spanish history, its physical beauty, and the committed cruising community … but the sailing is underwhelming. We're happy to explore new cruising grounds for a while.
We've done the entire ICW or US East Coast outside 8 times south and 7 times north on Cinderella and the Spanish tall ships we work on during the summers, plus several sections more times on paid deliveries of other private boats, so we don't feel like we're “missing” anything doing this one by truck. And we got a great rate since most trucks are carrying boasts south this time of year and we're going the “wrong” direction on what would otherwise be an empty deadhead load.
Sometimes I think I know what people must feel like as they go into exile; I look longingly at the pretty little Spanish town we can't safely live in any more. I remember walking those cobbled streets, eating in those restaurants, watching the sunrises from those beaches. “You'll be back,” quipped my friend Michelle. She, like me, is from Colorado, traveled by boat, docked in St Augustine, fell in love and didn't leave. “This town has a bungee cord. The farther you go away, the stronger the pull to return.” “It's dug its hooks into my heart,” I agreed. “And it's ripping me up to leave it.”
Other times, my emotions are flat. As though I'm reading a badly written book about things that happened to someone else, I can't remember ever feeling those feelings of love and familiarity for this place.
As we drove north in our giant bright yellow rental van with all our possessions except the boat in it, and passed the Florida state line for the last (?) time it was more a sort of sadness without passion or anger; just, "bye, Florida, sorry it didn't work out."