Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Jekyll Island to Cumberland Island, GA

22.5 nm
Wind: SW 10-15 knots, building to 20
Seas: Building to one-foot chop
Maximum speed: 6.0 knots
Average speed: 5.1 knots
Latitude: 30°46.02’N
Longitude: 081°28.28’W

We’re at Cumberland Island in Georgia, a place I’ve wanted to visit my entire life. My mom’s always been infatuated with it, partly because JFK Jr. was married here, and this is where sehe was supposed to come meet us if our timing hadn’t been off. Any my college roommate, Sonia, had a family vacation cottage here that we were always supposed to visit together.

The island is beautiful. This morning, motoring by the white sand beaches of Little Cumberland Island, at the tip of the bigger island, we saw people walking on the beach, picking up shells, and little houses nestled among gnarled live oaks and huge sand dunes. Later we saw wild horses grazing at the edge of the water.

I wanted to anchor up near Little Cumberland and explore the island, but Karl and I subtly negotiated, in the way we do, and agreed to go farther. As it turns out, it was a bad decision. We had to go through a submarine naval base under heightened security, were almost boarded by the Coast Guard, and now, in the Big Cumberland Island anchorage, are completely exposed to the north wind blowing at gale force against the current.

We spent all morning at Jekyll Island, where the computer had internet access, catching up on my sister Erica’s blog. She idealizes what we’re doing, idealizes beaches and islands and sun, but today, as we passed by those perfect beaches, studded with cottages, I realized how far we still are from paradise. I want to be walking barefoot in the sand, the cool water brushing my ankles, I want to be able to go back to one of those cottages for a hot shower and then nestle back against a cozy old sofa with a cup of coffee and watch the surf. Instead, I spent all day motoring at full speed into the face of twenty knots of wind. So close to paradize and yet so far away.

Here we are, anchored not 200 yards from the southern end of the island, unable to go ashore because of the wind, the waves bashing the boat back and forth. I’m just as far from my sister’s ideal as she is. So what do I do? I enjoy where I am, or try to. I have to find heaven at home. I enjoy my dirty, stinky, head-smelling boat, the warmth in the air despite the wind, our closeness to Florida. The view of the island I may never get to visit.

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