We are in Southport, North Carolina preparing the boat for a two week layup when we'll go home to celebrate the holidays with family and friends. At the outset of this "adventure" for lack of a better word, we thought we would be further south at this point in time. I need to point out that I am not complaining in any way about our progress made, I think we are doing great. We have moved at pace with our interests and curiosities and our ability/willingness to tolerate adverse conditions. We have met wonderful people and spent time in small towns we might never have even known about had we been zooming along in a quest to get south at all speed and at any cost.
I labeled this post "expectations" because that is the most surprising realization of this journey...our expectations, which we thought realistic, were way off the mark. We expected a pleasant daily sail/motor through scenic waterways with wildlife and waterfowl waiting along the shores to enchant and entertain us, part ICW part Disneyland. The truth...the landscape is no greener in the Chesapeake and along the northern part of the ICW in October than it is in New England...brown and leafless. The wildlife and waterfowl, if they are even in evidence in the summer months, have long ago flown south or burrowed under the dead leaves to escape the chill. The only birds we saw at the beginning of the ICW were snowbirds, like ourselves, heading south to try to beat the frost. The pleasant daily sails are intense, hours spent with one of us at the helm driving and watching water depth while the other closely monitors the charts and the marks/buoys that we need to honor to stay on course in the channel. It is challenging and exciting but it is also stressful thus exhausting.
I thought I would have time...plenty of time to paint the scenery underway, time to compose interesting blog entries describing our experiences, and time do nothing but relax and be in the moment, appreciating that we have the resources and ability to do this trip. The reality is that we are governed by weather, wind and tide, current, available hours of daylight and the mercy of bridge tenders. A typical day starts at 6 am with coffee and putting the boat to rights for sailing. We cast off at about 7 am with plans to cover 35- 40 nautical miles or 7 hours underway whichever comes first. Sometimes we lose close to an hour waiting for a bascule or swing bridge's scheduled opening so we can pass by. When we get to our destination for the night we shut down, check engine and electrical systems, make log entries and then have dinner. After dinner we sit down to make the plan for the next day starting with weather forecast, then charts and tide tables and crossed fingers.
Once the plan is laid out and recorded we close up shop for the night and go to sleep. We look forward to days when we can stay in a place and explore and get a feel for the community, catch up with provisioning and laundry. Often weather will dictate that decision but some days we realize we just don't feel like moving...so we stay put. We are hopeful that those days become more frequent as we get into warmer weather and don't feel compelled to keep moving further south.
Then I may have time to paint all day.