Back to the Boat – Thanksgiving 2012
The holidays were always the hardest times for us emotionally during our cruising life. Away from our family and friends, it was lonely out there during our first year. Thanksgiving in St. Mary’s, Georgia changed all that. Our first year out we met Ann and Lynn aboard Sea Tramp. They were the principal organizers of the St. Mary’s Thanksgiving. We stopped in 2007 and have gone back two more times. This year would be our fourth visit.
The refrigeration needed to be attended to before we went anywhere on the boat. The one and only marine refrigeration company in Brunswick was called and we agreed on a time to have the unit fixed. We made a special trip up and met Tom from Air Adjusters. He methodically (read, slowly) went through the system and repaired the broken line. I asked his opinion of my installation and the problems I had been having. He saw nothing wrong with the installation but I was startled when he said that he thought the unit may have been slowly leaking all this time and could have been a cause of the shutdowns. We paid him (well) and left for home the next day.
The week before Thanksgiving we headed north once more. Our plan was to take the boat to Brunswick and then south to Titusville after Thanksgiving. We were pleasantly surprised to see the refrigeration still working but also it was colder than it ever had been before! We actually kept ice in the freezer, imagine that!
On Monday, the diver showed up and cleaned the bottom of a summers worth of growth. He said we had a good crop of barnacles and oysters but everything was now clean and ready to go. By noon it was high water and off we went to clear Jekyll Creek before the water went away. It was good to be back on the water but it was cloudy and chilly which took the edge off the experience. As the sun dipped below the horizon we slipped into our anchorage near St. Mary’s. We had just enough time to launch the dinghy and make the first of three happy hours before Thanksgiving.
Cruiser get-togethers always include two main ingredients; drink and really good food! Having gone on the wagon we had no choice but to eat our share or more. We were concerned that we would gain back all the weight we had lost but you gotta eat! The food as always was fantastic. Monday was light hors d’oeuvres (chips, crackers, dips, etc.), Tuesday was heavy hors d’oeuvres (you can make a meal of them) and Wednesday was hors d’oeuvres plus steamed oysters. I’m not a big cooked oyster fan but this year I had my fill. Since turnout had been so good in the past they bought 8 1/2 bushel of oysters. This year turnout due to Hurricane Sandy was about half the usual. Lots to eat! I was able to grab as many raw oysters as I could carry and shuck away. Everyone else waited around the table for steamed oysters while I quietly shucked and ate my fill. I would walk away only to return later and do it all over again. I lost track after the second dozen.
Just when I thought life couldn’t get any better Thanksgiving Day dawned. Mary had volunteered for kitchen duty prior to the feast. We would be carving turkeys. This turned out to be heaven on earth. I love picking at the bird. Crisp skin and tasty morsels of dark meat are my favorites. We had eleven turkeys to carve and as I carved I picked and ate. Recall that there were fewer cruisers this year than in the past; lots of extra turkey for everyone. After the meal we packed a box full of turkey and two nicely crisped wings for me. The afternoon was beautiful and we walked through the historic downtown.
Friday morning was slow going. After the gorge fest we had just enjoyed it was hard getting motivated to go anywhere. We decided Cumberland Island would be a good a place as any. It was a beautiful day as we walked the beach. Goliath, as always, loved the sand, birds and stinky spots he could roll in.
We couldn’t put it off any longer, so Saturday we weighed anchor and set off for points south. It was cold and we were all bundled up despite the beautiful sunny skies. The tides were all wrong and we would be transiting a lot of shallows at low or near low tide. Our least favorite is the Fernandina Beach area and south through Nassau Sound. We made it through but saw some awfully skinny water in the process. Fifty-five miles later we dropped anchor at Pine Island north of St. Augustine.
Sunday would take us another sixty-five miles to Daytona Beach where we anchored just off the ICW near Holly Hill.
With absolutely beautiful weather we continued on our way and passed along our new home waters near New Smyrna Beach, Edgewater and Mosquito Lagoon. Shortly after noon we tied up to a mooring at Titusville where “Marylee” sits waiting for her next adventure.