Have you heard that there’s “something going around”? Yeah, me too, and it’s made the last month so difficult for all of us. I hope everyone is doing ok – as for us, we are still on the boat, still social distancing, but not in Florida anymore.
After much discussion, worry and deliberation, we decided it was time – and more importantly safe – to leave Titusville, Florida where we were when this all got serious. We’d been there for a month, first for Danny to recuperate from his pneumonia, which he’s done, and then to watch what was happening with places to fuel and dock for our trek north. Last weekend we did some research and decided there’s enough open that we made the leap, and I’m glad we did.
On Monday we traveled to Daytona Beach, Tuesday to St. Augustine, and on Wednesday to Fernandina Beach, FL. On Thursday we left Florida! Our boat has been in Florida since November 5th of 2019, so more time in that state than any other this year. We went to Jekyll Island, and on Friday to Kilkenny Creek, both in Georgia. Today we arrived in Hilton Head, South Carolina, for a total of just over 280 miles traveled this week. This brings our rolling total nautical miles traveled since leaving home somewhere around 7,380! Wow!
This is the third time we’ve traveled this coast and I’m truly grateful that we were able to visit so many spots in the Fall of 2018 and last Spring during our first two trips. Although we haven’t had trouble finding dockage so far, it’s really sad to see familiar and favorite cities like St. Augustine “closed up”. The exception to that experience so far has been Jekyll Island, Georgia, one of my favorite stops from last year while we were looping. Jekyll Island is mostly undeveloped and has miles of beautiful live oak trees, palm trees and fairy tale-like beaches with lots of driftwood and trees that the tide has taken over the years. We rode our bikes all around the island as we did last year, but this year there were hardly any other people which made the bike path that much more enjoyable. It was a beautiful, fun day, and the first day I’ve felt anything near to “normal” in quite a while.
Moving was a good decision (so far) and has been good for us. It’s really nice to legitimately have something to do every day – the charting, the cruising, and general maintenance of the boat fills our days. There were more dolphin sightings than other boat sightings for the first few days, but as we got closer to the weekend and through Savannah today, we really saw a lot more boat traffic. We’ve seen a few other Loopers that we met last year and have been more or less traveling with a fellow New England couple, Scott & Donna on “Aleka”; they’re bringing their boat back to Portsmouth, NH so we are hoping we’ll continue to see them as we travel north. We chatted on the dock in St. Augustine with them and another loop couple (Tuscarora) the other night, being sure to keep at least 6 feet of distance. The docktail experience, at least for now, is a thing of the past, we are all trying to follow the guidelines. We are making the best of it when we can, though. We just got back from another ride here on Hilton Head. We’ve never been here before, it’s really pretty and we rode to a beach where there were more people than we expected.
How the guidelines are being followed differs from port to port, as I’m sure it does at home with places you go from day to day. Most docks require that you go to an office to register, I’ve worn a mask when asked to do so; sometimes the dock master is wearing one as well, and in St. Augustine there was a plastic shield between them and me. In Kilkenny Creek, it was the same as it always was – just the old guy that works there and a pen and a log to “sign in”. Today the dockhand took our information at the dock, so we weren’t required to go to an office. We both wash our hands every time we handle the lines that a dockhand has also handled, or a pen, or a pump – just about anything. Danny actually wears gloves when he pumps fuel or operates the pump out; he does NOT want to get sick again!
We’ve been eating way more meals on the boat than we have in the past which is good for the pocketbook, but we were also doing a lot of snacking while we were sitting, so bad for the waistline! We have gotten takeout a couple of times along the way and had great meatball sandwiches (take out of course) tonight. There’s often wine. When in Rome right? Or Florida, or Georgia or South Carolina or………
So, that’s where we’re at. Looks like storms coming late Sunday into Monday, so we may move on to just south of Beaufort early tomorrow and then sit out the weather. If we keep moving at this pace we’ll get home when it’s still cold – did I hear it snowed there today?!? Time to slow our roll!!
In spite of the lack of snow and really good weather, and the privilege to travel and see beautiful spots, I really wish I was home. We’re on our way.
Thanks as always for following along our journey,
Captain Dan and Cruise Director Jodi