Water maker: repaired. Rigging: inspected. Freezer: cold. Auto pilot: functioning (we hope.) Holding tank: new filter installed. Hole in hull that the repairman made as he installed the new filter: filled. Engine possible leak: all ok.
As we made plans for the next phase (1,000 miles) of our journey, I was excited, in theory, to explore places along the east coast of my own country: Cape Canaveral, Florida, Savannah, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina. How, I wondered, could we have missed visiting these places as we raised our children?
But as we sat at anchor waiting for weather, fully provisioned, Mike and I both felt the pull to get North, to go, to get there already. Did we really want to exit the Gulf Stream and go out of our way to see these places? Our stop and smell the roses attitude gave way to impatience. We itched to get “home”. The pull of home is strong.
The winds and seas, however, don’t really care about pulls and itches. A day and a half into our passage, the wind died. The sound of the motor droning on and on was getting to us. The boat rocked uncomfortably in the swells. Thunderstorms were predicted, and if there is one thing we are not fond of at sea, it is thunderstorms. We decided to divert to Charleston, forced by nature to slow down and smell the roses.
And what a sweet smelling rose Charleston turned out to be. It wasn’t just the amazing architecture, the gas lanterns and cobblestoned streets, the wonderful food, the museums and galleries. It was also the southern hospitality, the sincere “how y’all doing today?” Strangers asked where we were from. Store clerks engaged us in long conversations, and as we said goodbye, they offered a sincere “y’all have a great day here in Charleston.”
A short weather window allowed us to do a 200 mile overnight from Charleston to Beaufort, North Carolina, where we await yet another weather window. It has been gray, gray, gray and more gray here, rain, wind and thunderstorms. Mike and I look at each other every once in a while, and ask rhetorically, “and why did we leave the Caribbean?”
In Beaufort, we find ourselves in the middle of a “big purse” fishing tournament. Winners can claim prizes in excess of $1million. In between periods of rain, Mike and I walk the docks. We see more than a few “Trump 2020 Keep America Great” burgees flying from multi million dollar fishing yachts, and we get a sick feeling at the bottom of our bellies, and it is not from shrimp and grits. We try to get a look at what kind of people are on these yachts. Would they be the same people that would wish us a “have a wonderful day, y’all” and truly mean it?
Over the last six months, we have tried to learn to separate people from their politics, as difficult as that is. Many Trump supporters have shown us such kindness and acts of friendship over the last six months. We have grown to love them as people, while their politics repulse us. We struggle to reconcile how good people can support this misogynist bully. This remains a mystery.
Today, the sun is shining and the wind is blowing in the right direction, and we will soon be off the last 500 miles to Newport, Rhode Island. I am pretty sure no one in Newport will ask, “how y’all doing?” in the same sincere way that they do in the south.
I’ll miss the hospitality, but I will be happier to finally have made it safely home.