Norfolk to Florida, the abridged version.
|The Great Bridge Lock|
[Note: In order to get caught up to recent developments, I'm just sketching the rest of my trip with Alex and Eleanor from this summer.]
Poor Joe caught a bug on the flight to meet us, but we had a great time cruising down the Intra Coastal Waterway. Even though he was suffering a good deal of the time, Joe was a great addition to Eleanor's crew. We wandered down through Virginia and into the Carolinas. There were beautiful anchorages, explosive sunrises and sunsets. One afternoon, we were overtaken by a strong squall and even had to dodge a mini tornado! [Editor’s Note: that day alone should have had its own blog post.] Just as we were trying to get to the creek we had picked
out for the evening's anchorage, we were consumed by a storm coming across the Pungo River from Belhaven. Alex had to steer hard to miss the hissing whirlwind of spray that cut across our bow. Neither of us could see as the wind raked the rain across our eyes. Yet somehow, with no visibility, Alex managed to get us into the narrow opening of Slade Creek. The sunset after the storm was a beautiful apology from the universe for our troubles.
At Charleston, there was a small Dorsey family gathering and then Joe and Alex decided it was a good time for Joe to get home over land and try to get better. I did a little more caulking and cleaned up aboard Eleanor while enjoying the chance to hike around the old neighborhoods of Charleston. It was here that Alex and I were joined by another third crewman, Wade, who was a very interesting cat and a pleasure to sail with. He helped us out a lot, right when we needed it too. [Editor’s Note: Wade should rightfully be the star of two or three blog posts.]
From Charleston, we left the ICW at Port Royal and cut the corner across the Atlantic to Jacksonville. The ICW in Georgia is notoriously shallow and Eleanor needs more than 5 1/2 feet of water. The night watches on the ocean were very special to me. The chance to be alone with the moon and the ocean, and at one point, an enthusiastic dolphin, was like going to church.
|Night Watch Church|
On the way down the Florida ICW, we took advantage of some free city docks and tried to use the dock of an acquaintance of mine. Without enough water to get all the way up next to Carl's dock, we opted to head back out and use the Melbourne anchorage. I got to chill out here with Wade as Alex went to check in on his dad. Unfortunately, Joe was not doing better and Alex chose to end the trip to stay there in Florida and help Joe. The good news is that Joe came through well and is now living in Panama near Alex and Carla. By all accounts Joe is truly enjoying life, I am super happy for him. [Editor’s Note: Actually Joe too should have had his own blog posts too.]
Wade jumped a flight home and Alex found a marina to store Eleanor until he returned to complete the trip to Panama. Though I have an open invitation to finish the trip and even to stay right there with Eleanor, I had decided by then that I needed to get back on my own plan. I learned more in two months with Alex than I can ever explain. Having lived the life on a daily basis, my nautical confidence has soared. However, the most important thing I learned is that out there on the water is exactly where I belong. My focus was sharpened on this goal and I came home determined to get back to the ocean as soon as I possibly could manage.
|Life Changing Atlantic Sunrise|