Over the Bounding Main

Sunday, July 24, 2011 Road Junkies 0 Comments

ST SIMONS ISLAND, Georgia — For more than a year, our friends Cathy and Ric have been inviting us to sail with them. Somehow our schedules just hadn't clicked. Last week we realized that the opening of school would end their summer adventures this weekend, so we needed to make a big push to try to get together with them. Thanks to their terrific blog, we knew exactly where they were— St. Augustine.  After wintering the vessel in the Florida Keys, they've been sailing their dreamboat Amplexus up Florida's east coast for the last six weeks.

We caught up with them at Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island, just south of the Georgia/Florida border, and found a room in a hotel across the street from the marina where they were tied up.  "We're on the face dock," Cathy said when we called, reminding us that we were entering a whole new realm where a different and unfamiliar language is spoken.  Reading their blog, we often have to ask Google for translation:  abaft the beam, portside finger dock, bow thruster, close reach, athwartship, etc.  This time Cathy kindly explained that they were moored along the long dock running on the outside edge of the marina, rather than in a slip.

Soon we hooked up with them and walked over to Cafe Karibo, a local family-owned restaurant with an eclectic menu and its own microbrewery.  The food was excellent, the service great, and the beer very tasty.  But the opportunity to catch up with our friends after not seeing them for more than six months was definitely the best part of the evening. We made plans to meet at the boat the following morning.  Ken and Ric would sail to St. Simons Island while Cathy and I drove and did some letterboxing.

Friday dawned sunny and clear.  Ken got on board and had a quicktime tutoring session in safety and sailing basics while Cathy and I reviewed letterboxing clues.  Then we were all off.  The guys motored out of the marina headed for the channel and open sea.  Cathy and I loaded up our letterboxing gear for some enthusiastic searching.

Driftwood Beach on Jekyll
After locating a box on Amelia, we drove across the Georgia line to Jekyll Island.  Though the scenery was beautiful, the weather was sweltering.  With the temperature surging toward three digits and the humidity even higher, we were dripping but trying to make the best of things and appreciating the car air conditioning with a new fervor.  We had located four letterboxes, including two very clever HIPS (hidden in plain sight) boxes, when the guys called with an estimate of their arrival time.  We had just enough time to drive to St. Simons and maybe grab some lunch before they arrived. 

Departing Fernandina Beach                                                       Arriving at St. Simons
By the time we reached the marina, it was almost time for Ken and Ric to blow in.  They had enjoyed an uneventful trip with good conditions and even a few cool breezes.  Both reported a pleasant cruise with calm seas, adequate wind, and interesting conversation.  Much to Ken's relief (due to his complete inexperience with sailing), no situation arose that would have required him to assist Ric too much.

After we parted ways for some much needed showers, we reconvened for dinner at Tramici, a neighborhood restaurant offering rustic Italian cuisine and friendly service in a casual environment.  Prices were reasonable and our dining companions were the best.

Christ Church, St. Simons Island
Ken and I found a few letterboxes on St. Simons the following morning before we picked up Cathy and Ric for the drive back home.  They stowed their gear, battened down the hatches, and left their cherished friend Amplexus to set sail in our van for their home and, for Cathy, another year of teaching.  It was a fun-filled couple of days, and we were so glad we finally had the opportunity to enjoy their passion with them.

Aboard Amplexus