The long and winding road

I’ve traveled between Chesapeake Bay and south Florida by small boat seven times. Each trip is a combination of slogging down the ditch, the ICW, and wafting gracefully through the ocean, on the ‘outside’. After our first trip south, on Adriana with wife, daughter and dog I wrote about the trip. Here are some snippets:

Gale warnings were being broadcast on the radio so we pottered down the ICW for the next few days. Fifty miles of hard road between sunup and sundown was tough going but the passing scenery broke the monotony – swamps, marshes, fishing boat docks, shrimp boat fleets off-loading their catch, majestic houses with fluted columns three floors high, clapboard shacks.

We had the occasional bridge opening to transact:
“Barefoot Landing Bridge, Barefoot Landing Bridge, Barefoot Landing Bridge, this is Adriana requesting an opening.”
“Adriana, bring her on, skipper, I’ll hold her open for ya’ll”

On we motored through South Carolina, through the narrow Rock Pile cut and on to the delightful Waccamaw River, passed huge live oaks draped with Spanish moss, abandoned rice fields and dense forests. We anchored each night and where it was possible went ashore for a walk but otherwise we’d stay on board, cook a meal and compete in another round of the marathon Trivial Pursuit contest we’d started the day we left Chesapeake Bay, two weeks earlier.

The gales blew through and we went outside again at Caribogue Sound, near Savannah, Georgia. We made Florida at the end of October, our landfall was Jacksonville at the very top of the state. It felt like the journey was nearly over but Florida is a long state and we still had many miles to go to the Keys – we were little more than halfway. The weather was chilly this far north in early November but sunny with powder blue skies as we plodded on, sometimes out in the ocean and at others in the ICW.

The water in our anchorage off Peanut Island was gin clear, the weather warm and sunny. We’d arrived in south Florida.