Sunday, May 29, 2016

New Territory

This is the third time we have floated past Moon River just south of Savannah.  THE Moon River.  Each time, I play the famous song as we mosey past the small inlet Johnny Mercer wrote about just off of the Vernon River.  It is not wider than a mile but has the switchback bends, tall grasses, and great white herons fishing on the banks that are characteristic of Georgia rivers.  Craig was at the helm up on the fly bridge as the new version of Moon River that I discovered sounded out over the calm waters:

            Craig: Is that a guitar?
            Me: Yup
            Craig: Who’s playing?
            Me: Eric Clapton.
            Craig: That guy’s not bad.

No kidding.  No point in telling Craig that Beck is also playing along.  Not much to the lyrics but both songs, Moon River and Georgia (which I also play every time we cross the Florida/Georgia border), have the sway and gentle, lazy swing reflecting life in Georgia.   

Georgia has become my favourite state, and the competition is tough.  I love everywhere we have been in the US by boat and land, but Georgia has my heart.  It is no different from any other state with its complex history, stunning scenery, and welcoming people.   It just seems less likely to boast and I wonder if it’s because it wants its wonder to remain a secret from the rest of the world.  I love rocking chairs on porches, quiet winding creeks and rivers, delicate magnolia blossoms, oak tree canopies dripping with Spanish mosses, and buzzing cicadas.  It has always been melting hot when we’ve visited and the food is up my alley; biscuits, shrimp, mac and cheese, and lots of butter.

It is the second state we have motored through on our long journey up to Georgian Bay, Ontario.  We flew down to our new boat a couple of weeks ago, spent a few days provisioning and tweaking a few things before heading out of Palm City, Florida and turning north.  We equipped this new boat almost from scratch, but with a few miles at sea under our belts, we were somewhat more savvy in what we needed and as much fun as it was, spent less time guessing than we did in Argentina.

These past two weeks have been over familiar territory through Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and into North Carolina.  

Pulling up the anchor at Beaufort, South Carolina
There is a big stress reduction in retracing one’s routes.  Familiarity with the conditions, potential hazards, and where best to overnight helps create a more relaxing journey.  We continued the shake down rodeo trend when late on our first day out, we hit a nasty thunderstorm and pulled quickly into Cocoa Beach where we dropped the anchor in horizontal rain and 35-knot wind gusts.  Knowing the area enabled us to make the quick decision and we were tucked inside within a few minutes.  Anyone watching would have been impressed.  I know well enough not to get too smug.  There will be plenty more of these to come: 

All the waters past Georgetown, North Carolina are now new to us and we are alternating between anchorages and marinas.  We discovered the funky Swan Point marina run by Evelyn Hobbs who delivered hot cinnamon bread to us just as we left the dock.  The evening before, we had walked about an hour to a local and infamous seafood restaurant where the fourth generation owner insisted on driving us back after the best shrimp dinner we've ever had.   

Dock at Swan Point filled with sculptures, plants, and an outdoor kitchen
Henry Boyd at Belhaven Marina gave us a golf cart to putter around his quiet and eclectic town where it seems every house has a generous porch.  Henry is restoring the manor next to the marina which will showcase the history and architecture of the area.  
Belhaven Marina
We started at mile 987 on the Intra Coastal Waterway and are already at mile 50, doing between 80 and 140 miles a day.  The mileage chart turns over tomorrow as we arrive at Norfolk, Virgina and we start counting up again through the Chesapeake Bay and into New York.  Our little boat is taking great care of us and seems to have read the same adventure book that our former Alberta Crewed subscribed to.
South Carolina sunset

A North Carolina sized glass of wine

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