Day 293, February 8, 2013 (Windmill Harbor, Hilton Head, SC): It is hard to believe that we have come full circle. We will cross our wake on Sunday morning, February 10, 2013, having traveled 6,040 statute miles through 18 states and 2 provinces in Canada. We remember the people we traveled with along the way, the people we’ve met where we landed, and the vastness of the land traveled.
People ask us, “What was your favorite place?” The question has no good answer. Every stop we made had its own uniqueness. What we did discover time and again was grassroots America and Canada, the fundament perceptions of ordinary people in villages, towns, and the big cities, their reasons for happiness and disappointments.
The other most common question that folks asked was, “What do you do all day on the boat?” Invariably, we answer that there is not enough time in the day to do all the things we planned. Firstly, we adhered to our float plan except on very few occasions. That plan was to travel no more than 50 to 75 miles per day and not even that if we were tired. Translated to real time, we spent from sunrise until about midday on the move and planned to get to a destination where we could spend the rest of the day poking around.
The second principle of our float plan was to decide over breakfast whether we would stay or move on. Most of the time we stayed more than one day in port or at anchor. For example, we planned to stay just a short time in Ocean Reef on Key Largo and stayed two weeks. We hung out in New York City for a week, Montreal for a week, Marathon for a week, Chicago for eleven days.
Some of the way was phsyically strenuous. We have locked through 151 times. Some locks were a breeze, others took all of our strength to hold the boat to the chamber wall. Ottawa’s Step-of-Eight Lock sapped us; it is out one lock into the next and there is no turning around. Some passages were straight in the open water; others traversed tortuous channels requiring two pairs of eyes forward. Tugs and tows in the inland rivers were always a challenge.
Our autopilot saw yeoman service. It is now known as Captain Pilot Blackthorn. He got sick one day in the Straits of Florida with the wind howling at 30 knots. I spent time fixing it while Edie kept watch. Then there is the constant weather watch ahead of us. Our Internet weather courtesy of T-mobile was abysmal most of the time until we purchased an iPad connected to Verizon. After that we had infallable Internet 99 percent of the time. Aboard there is always something to fix not to mention service breaks to swap out air, oil, and fuel filters, oil changes, belt and impeller replacements, and the litany goes on.
And so we will see the Charleston skyline in another day and take the time to greet old friends and plan our next adventure aboard Sequel.
Here are some of the last images from our last leg northbound.
Last time we saw white pellies was in Ontario. They come south to St. Augustine for the winter, too.
Cannon fire in Castillo San Marcos, St. Augustine, FL
The old grist mill in St. Augustine, FL
Sunset over Camachee Cove near St. Augustine.
American bald eagle perched on a range marker near Jacksonville, FL.
Gray lady in drydock, Jacksonville Navy Yard.
Wine time aboard Sequel with Rob and Gail Wynn. I participated in training Rob as a thoracic surgeon, the first of some 80 men and women who came under my tutelage.