Most sailors get pretty wound up when they leave the US. Do we have the right amount of cash? Fresh food? Rice and beans? Do we have adequate safety items? Harness, jackline, lee cloth? Did we pick the right weather window? Should we wait another few days for perfect weather? Did we stock up on enough maintenance supplies? Did we say all of our goodbyes as we lose our beloved cellphones and wifi? Are we properly rested?
Maybe we would have gotten wound up. I don’t know. We left Charleston, SC and were headed, with another boat, to St Augustine. We were planning to get wound up there! This trip was going to be about 35 hours along the US coast. We had a mooring arrangement there that would make all of our final provisioning and trips to town very convenient. As we turned south out of the Charleston jetty, with Planet Waves just behind us, we realized that the southwest course to St Augustine was going to be a motorboat ride. Sailing was not ideal. But turning more southeast, toward the Bahamas, would be a better point of sail. So, Bill asks “should we just go to the Bahamas now?” I quickly responded “Yeah!” And off we went.
Sorry Planet Waves, we will see you soon when you come to the Bahamas in a week or two. This is cruising. Go with the wind. Don’t say goodbye. You never know when you will leave, return, or meet up again. Meet ups happen daily. Sometimes with new people, sometimes with long lost friends. Sometimes planned. Sometimes by chance.
So we realized we were short a jar or two of peanut butter, we should have napped first, and we could have used a boom cheek block that we twisted on our downwind slog to Charleston. But there is always something missing, and we could deal with this. Improvisation is the best skill a cruiser can develop, a life skill that we rarely develop when Amazon is just a click away, and grocery stores are available daily.
Charleston was a happy memory and we realized that we would have to come back someday. We reflected on our fun visit with our York friend Kathy and her friend Linette. Kathy lives in a sweet carriage house that you could never find in New England. A short walking distance to King Street, we enjoyed a salad and drink at a piano bar.
As we were heading out, we realized that we never took a single photo! This is often the case when you are having such a nice time and you don’t stop to click. So we documented our exit, with it’s classic Charleston charm. Mansions lined the waterway just before the Battery. We love our AIS, which indicated that the huge cruise ship was not underway in our path yet. And our final click was the less charming, but highly noteworthy, Fort Sumter, where the American Civil War started.
Out to sea, after we radioed Planet Waves to tell them of our plan change, Bill set out a hook and soon had a dorado. Seeing how easily we could fish, we regretted not having a freezer. We couldn’t take more than one fish; it would go bad in our fridge. So we kept our hook on board after this catch. The only fish we caught after this were flying fish. Poor buggers; we only found them after they died on deck. This is one of the many times we missed Captain, our beloved cat, who cruised with us last time and took care of all birds and fish that ended up aboard. She was not so good at clean up though, as we often found carcasses and feathers in messy heaps.
Switching course to the Bahamas proved to be the right decision. We had a grand time and arrived in the lovely Bakers Bay three hours short of three days after departure. Not bad for a Gulf Stream crossing and 400 miles of southeast work. This time of year, the wind is usually from the southeast, so going in this direction can be problematic. The wind stayed east, sometimes a bit north of east, and kept steady at about 15 knots the whole way. Can’t ask for a better trip. Okay, it would have been better if we could have shared this experience with family or friends, but we can’t have it all.