We are finally back on our journey after the latest engine situation. We thought the cylinder head was cracked but, on our first full day in Beaufort as Clay started pulling our girl apart, we found it wasn’t so bleak as that. There was definitely some work required where old bolts had rusted through and others had seized so badly they refused to come out no matter how much heat, WD-40 or swearing Clay threw at them. He spent a full day in and out of the engine compartment, multiple trips to the hardware store (which required getting in the dinghy, rowing it to shore, getting on a bike, riding a mile up the road to the most exstensive, locally owned hardware store ever, and then back again). It was a dark evening, weather and morale wise.
The following morning though, the sun rose and the engine started right up; I’m not sure which one of those Clay loved most. As fate would have it, just before we left the Lady’s Island Marina, we saw our friend Jason coming into the creek. We met Jason a mere four days into our journey, on the north end of the Dismal Swamp, when a shortage of bridge space required us to raft up to him. His stories of lobstering in Maine, 20′ waves off the coast of New Jersey without a life jacket and plowing through locks single handed had us in awe. He was a staple in all of our stories since. We were delighted to be reunited and stuck around an extra evening to catch up and watch the Redskins lose.
After leaving Beaufort, we anchored right above Savannah, GA nestled in between two grassy islands. Dolphins were playing against the shore and would occasionally come by to check us out. Because we wanted to bypass Savannah in the early morning with a favorable current and less water traffic, we had chosen to anchor earlier than usual, around 3:30. This left plenty of daylight for extracurricular activities like fishing for Clay and exploring for me. The island on the north side of the creek was a sand beach that ran up to a deep set barrier of grass and looked perfect for a late afternoon yoga session. With no houses or boats for miles, the symphony of the land had a chance to shine: dolphin splashes every few minutes, birds calling to each other, soft lapping of the water against the boat. The time was right. With my yoga mat tucked under one arm and the VHF in the other (safety always, then fashion) I popped into our dinghy and paddled over to the island. My landing was firm and as I stood up in Chad (the dinghy) I could see a great sandy path leading to the island’s plateau. In my excitement and total lack of experience with islands that usually stay under water 12 hours a day, I jumped from the dinghy with both feet and immediately sunk 1′ into the ground. In an effort to catch myself, I was able to rip one booted foot from the ground and took a gigantic step forward in hopes of finding solid ground. No such thing existed there or anywhere within 100 yards. I didn’t know this yet though so I kept going and I kept sinking, deeper and deeper until I was thigh deep in what felt incredibly close to quicksand, speculation of course because I’ve only heard about quicksand back in elementary school. It was from this very distant, very small memory file full of so many other things from elementary school like addition and subtraction, spelling and animals, where I pulled up the image of a cartoon guy in a cartoon jungle in a cartoon pool of quicksand. He’s neck deep and looks concerned but he’s got ahold of a plank of wood and is saving himself from certain quicksand death by clinging to it. I always wondered, even as a young child, where the heck that plank of wood came from because that seemed just too convenient and here I was, waist deep in quicksand and there were no planks in sight. Luckily, in my haste to jump into exploring, I left my yoga mat behind and instead took along the paddle, an image that reiterates landing on the island, standing up and immediately jumping off onto land, paddle and all; no time to switch gear, no time to check for quicksand. I dropped to all fours, paddle laid horizontally across the ground and I army crawled back to the safety of Chad, dragging my mud filled boots behind me, each knee sinking deep before slurping its way back out for the next “step”. I rolled into Chad and pushed the shore, covered almost entirely in mud and sand, soaked from the elbows down.
Now every time Clay sees a small mound of mud or patch of grass sticking out of the water, he yells “Ooo look! An island!”. 😑