|Craig, me, Lee, and David trying to stay dry|
Weather has a wonderful way of reminding us who is in control when it senses our complacency, but apologetically leaves us with unexpected gifts in return for its necessary wrath. We had a perfectly timed route 600 miles up the Intra Coastal Waterway to get us from Vero Beach, Florida to Wilmington, North Carolina where we will be leaving our boat for the summer. My brother and sister in law, David and Lee, are here for this trip and our perfect plan would get them to their flight home in good time. We envisioned meandering along the picturesque islands of Georgia, sight seeing in Savannah and Charleston, and time for a bit of bird watching and alligator spotting along quiet Florida creeks.
Not. On day 8 of our 3-week cruise, we have ground to a halt in Fernandina Beach, Florida, immobilized by a long and nasty system bringing wind gusts of 45 knots to the entire south east coast. We had thought the protection of the Intra Coastal would enable us to venture out in stormier weather but this one is big. All I remembered of Fernandina from last year was our one night stay because of the looming and smelly pulp mill right next to our mooring. We are now onto day four here. Weather’s gift in return is the chance to get to know the quaint and historic town, unbeknownst to us during its annual Shrimp Festival weekend. Located on the west side of Amelia Island, Fernandina Beach has a resident population of 9000 and attracts 100,000 visitors to the Festival. This year the weather is a bit of a damper but festivities continue and a little torrential rain with horizontal wind doesn’t slow down coastal folk.
Festival day one began with the invasion of the pirates. We are not sure what pirates have to do with shrimp other than being an excuse for women to pull out their favourite (and somewhat inappropriate) corsets and men to wear eyeliner and yell “AARRRGGHHHH” a lot. Moored in the middle of the harbour, we have the best seats in the house. Last night, a canon blasting battle from decorated “Pirate” ships ensued right in front of us followed by a spectacular fireworks display that rained down over Alberta Crewed. The fireworks boat was a bit too close for comfort but the local Sheriffs kept an eye on things as we laughed hysterically at the absurdity of this once-in-a-lifetime and birds’ eye view of the explosions of stars. I felt like the queen on the royal yacht.
|Fireworks boat on the left|
Today we will venture out for the ritual rocky and wet dinghy ride to savour another round of fresh shrimp and good wine. The local boutique and cafe staffs are beginning to know us by name and we haven’t even noticed the pulp mill.
|Lee and I enjoying shrimp boiled up by a high-energy high school group.|