After much preparation, planning, discussion and hard work, we have done it. We have actually started on our much anticipated voyage. We have no particular destination in mind and our aspiration is to make this be about the journey. Travel, meeting friends new and old along the way, experiencing a place different from where we started this trip, all of these are ambitions that we hope to satisfy.
If you have spent any time at all aboard a sailing vessel, you quickly come to realize that the boat ( and you) are constantly in motion. The boat rolls and bobs. I find myself reaching to steady myself washing dishes, climbing the steps in the companionway, getting on and off Sea Change. I catch myself bracing my foot or my leg or even my back so that while sitting, I don’t move a lot. My body is quick to remind me that even when I don’t realize it, I am moving. Each little ache or pain tells me over and over how much I am moving.
Since leaving Turner Marine in Mobile, Alabama, we have been in motion more that I had anticipated too. We made the trip across Mobile Bay and anchored our first night out in Pirate’s Cove (which can be found on the map designated as Robert’s Bayou). It was magical watching the herons building their nests and feeding their young as the day began. All was quiet back in the bayou and the water was still as the herons swooped across the water and returned with treats for the young herons still nesting in the tops of the pine trees. Then anchors up and on we go.
Next stop was Little Sabine Bay at Pensacola Beach. We actually spent a couple of days here because cold and wet weather arrived. Rainy weather gives you the opportunity to find those pesky places where water will seep into your boat. We did boat projects and found many more that needed doing. I found myself regretting not packing more layers to wear.
Then on to Destin where we pushed our comfort zone and made our way into the harbor at Destin Beach. While the marine forecasts sounded a little ominous with 2 foot swells and choppy water, we found that 2-3 miles off shore the sun was shining and the swells were easy. After a dose of Bonine to ward off motion sickness, I laid down in the sunshine and napped like a cozy kitten for most of our trip. Unfortunately, the effects of Bonine last a long time in my system and I slept for most of the 24 hours after taking it. I was awake for our approach to Destin however. The tide was coming out and the swells were crashing against the sea wall creating a surfer’s dream. Sea Change took the swells and rode them until the wave would break just forward of the mast. Each time we came down the wave, we would find ourselves in more shallow water ( making Michael anxious and concerned about breaking something). Finally we were able to turn at the breakwater following a large motor yacht that had decided that the waves were more fun than they wanted to attempt. We saw them make it to the breakwater and then turn back. The entrance to the harbor entails going almost to the edge of the bridge there (only 48 feet high with the mast on Sea Change at 52 feet) and then taking a near U turn and following the channel markers closely to stay out of the constantly shifting shoals so that we don’t run aground. We made it but I don’t know that I would recommend it to others. It was nerve wracking. Anchoring seemed a breeze after the gauntlet we had run.
The next morning it was anchors up and on to Panama City Beach. Again the swells were gentle and the sun was shining. The trip was easy and the beach is all that is advertised, white sand and bright sun. We stayed an extra day at Panama City and then made our way on to Port St Joe.
It has been ten days since we left Mobile and we have jumped from place to place. It feels like we have been in constant motion. We needed to slow down just a little and spend time catching our breath and looking around where we were. We spent time with friends, Randy and Linda Layman. Through the wonders of Facebook, we became reacquainted with Denise Holmes from Fayetteville who was in Florida on an extended sabbatical. She joined us when we met up with Andy and Judy Falls and with Randy and Linda and our sailing partners, Jimmie and Sue White, to have a fabulous time at Indian Pass Raw Bar having oysters and shrimp, all local and fresh. There was a lot of fun and love at the table that evening with good friends and good food.
In ten days, we have moved on to stay in 6 different ports. Now we will journey on and try to slow the motion just a little since we are not yet pushed by the clock. Now is the time for us to pause and look around and be present in this world instead of just passing through.