Ice, Ice, Baby

As we move south, the butter watch continues and there are signs of it softening, but it’s far from melted. Here in Georgia where we’ve washed up, temps fluctuate from low 80s to mid-fifties now that we’re transitioning into spring. It’s hard to believe we’ve been here a month. Somebody stole the month of February. But as most of the country is experiencing record lows and unprecedented inches of snow, we are not going to complain…. Too much. At one point I thought to myself that if we didn’t already live on a boat I may have started building one since it torrentially rained for over two weeks.

Breaking through the ice as we sail out of Virginia. It made a startling, initially unidentifiable, rumble throughout the hull.
The sun took the sting out of the brisk air on the embarking of Daniel’s first overnight passage.

A huge perk of this little Georgia county we’re in is that both Paul and I qualified for the vaccine. When we first went on line to the Glynn Co. Health Dept. website and it told us to sign up to place our names on a waiting list to then get on yet another waiting list for the vaccine, I have to say, it didn’t sound that promising. But a month later, we are now the relieved recipients of both doses of the Pfizer vaccine as of one week ago.

A wood stork on St. Simon’s Island. Paul got this shot! The bird life abounds here in the Golden Isles region.
A roseate spoonbill, the reason I joined the Coastal GA Audubon on a few bird watches while here. Open-mouthed we watched a flock fly overhead when we first arrived and said, “what are those?”. This pic I borrowed from the internet.

Before leaving, as the weather in VA got colder and colder and as we worked diligently while on the hard ( “on the hard” being the expression to indicate the boat is on land not in the water, but as far as I’m concerned it’s more accurately referring to the work needed to be done at this time) in VA, we grew increasingly anxious to get south. Even if where we eventually go involves a huge element of unknown, thanks to Covid, we hope for the best and for things to continue to improve. But we had a slow move down since there was just one turbulent stormfront after the other. We had to tuck away and hide from nasty weather all along the approximate 600-nautical-mile-way. One particularly long stay was spent in the little village on Bald Head Island in North Carolina.

A curved beach on Bald Head Island in North Carolina
There were well-groomed yet jungly trails all along. No cars allowed except for commercial vehicles on BHI.
The boardwalk leading from the residential area of Bald Head Island (historically known as Smith Island) to the marina where we waited for a weather window.
While waiting 5 days for a weather window we biked coast to coast and explored some hiking trails.
A shiny Rita Kathryn in the Bald Head Island Marina. Someone said they thought we were s/v Delos sailing in. I said, “No… better than Delos.” Except for that tattered genoa sail which is now replaced with a new one. More on that later.
Most vehicles are golf carts. Lots of bikers and walkers all along the winding, quiet wooded lanes.
This great egret was begging for his picture to be taken while we were biking, we stopped and indulged him.

Daniel planned on spending his mid-semester break with us, and we told him he’d need to block off at least 3 weeks since we were sailing from VA to GA and potentially had 2 stops in North and South Carolina, plus we had to wait for the ideal weather window. So he did. A near perfect weather window is particularly important when you take into consideration the conditions going around Cape Hatteras, which can be treacherous. Also dealing with sailing across and/or along the Gulf Stream, the waves and wind need to be just so in order to have a comfortable trip.

Daniel communing with the dolphins.
Daniel got some great shots. Here you see how this curious one is turning on its side to look up.
Dolphin Spotting YouTube play

Daniel was excited to do his first overnight passage and this trip had a potential of four of them, and it delivered. Blake and Brendan have both had their overnight experiences and that’s when I’ve taken advantage of the extra crew and take the time off. So, I was off night-watch duty. I’d pop my head up just to make sure no one needed a break, but for the most part, I was in charge of cooking and feeding the captain and crew. Since I’m not a fan of cooking underway, I did most of the cooking before we left while we were still in our air b-n-b. in VA. Paul helped and fried up 27 chicken cutlets. The first couple days, we had spirited sailing but eventually lost the wind and had to sail/motor-sail. It was so rough at a few points that Daniel said, “Now I understand why after you guys come back from passages, you don’t just want to go day sailing. This is intense!” But as with most sailing adventures there’s intense challenge and intense joy. We also had so many pods of dolphin visiting us along the way which made it extra special. Luckily the skies cleared and the waters calmed when they did, so going up to the bow to commune with the dolphins was a first for Daniel. There was one particular pod that was very verbal. It was the first time we all heard dolphin squeals through the hull.

These are called dune sunflowers. They caught my eye on our bike ride here in Brunswick, GA.
Paul and I try to get at least 5 miles on our bikes each day. Adventuring over to this nature trail we managed near eight miles.

We didn’t get our canvas work done in VA so we’re here in GA to get that done and then we can install our additional solar panels. Now that we’ve become solar junkies, four are simply not enough. It’s an initial investment of both time and money, but saves in the long term on running the generator which is wasteful and time consuming. It’s a pleasure to not need to do that as much with our clean and potent solar power. And since Paul has already done all the hard work of installing the wiring, these additions are just a matter of mounting. So now it’s just a ‘plug and play’ situation once the canvas mounts are sewn on.

We get an unimpeded view from the end of the dock and the sunsets tend to have all hues of orange. We’re convinced it’s why this area is called the “Golden Isles” but have not confirmed that.
This is the Golden Ray car carrier that went down in the channel three years ago. Removing: as safely as possible, trying to make the least impact on the environment as possible, and with internationally collaborated engineering feats, takes time. They’re cutting it in chunks and taking it away. Looks like those cars were in there for 30 years instead of 3.
We posted on the marina FB page that our old genoa sail was up for grabs. A couple, Carol and Chuck, showed up in about 30 minutes and took it away. Carol showed up a few weeks later with this lovely sail bag that she made with OUR OLD SAIL, as a “thank you” and I love it!

So we’re back in the land of butter cake, roseate spoonbills, shrimp and deeply orange sunsets. We’re tied up at the end of the dock along the channel and have a great, uninhabited view of sunsets and the pelicans diving for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They startle us when they splash down particularly close to the boat in a forceful dive. It’ll take us another month or so to finish the projects we’ve got going now, and then we’re off for a stop in Florida to stage for a crossing over to the Bahamas.

We were bundled up on Christmas Day but are looking forward to continuing to peel off the layers as we move on down.

2 responses to “Ice, Ice, Baby”

  1. What a great experience for Daniel. Who else at his school will say they sailed overnight and chilled with dolphins in their natural habitat? xo

    • The trips the kids have been able to share with us will provide incredible life-long memories. Thanks as always for reading.

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