Friday, June 18, 2010

The Lady States: Georgia, Carolinas and Virginia

We met up with a Dutch boat called the Brandaan in Cape Canaveral and agreed to sail together from the North of Florida.  Toine and Mira and their two daughters Eline (10) and Marinthe (8) are travelling around the Atlantic for a year on their 40 foot Halberg Rassy.   They needed to be in the Chesapeake before April 25th so our rapid schedules matched and we travelled together in and out of the ICW and the Atlantic until Norfolk, Virginia, mile 0 of the ICW. 
A stop on Cumberland Island in Georgia,  well researched by Mira, brought us to a lovely anchorage.  We dinghied into land with the Brandaan family and took a path over  to the ocean side of the island through amazing gnarled and interwoven oak trees draped in Spanish moss.  Sadly, we did not catch a glimpse of the feral horses, wild boars or armadillos that roam the island but the children collected handfuls of tiny starfish washed up on the beach and we enjoyed the immense stretch of sand and the crisp cool ocean air. 
Sailing into the Charleston Harbour in South Carolina on April 17th, we experienced a unexpected and rather royal welcome.  The Blue Angels air show was in full swing and the harbour was full of boats filled with people staring at the sky.  The show was really quite impressive from the water and we gazed in awe at the speed and precision of the planes zooming back and forth (and around and around). 

Seb's birthday (April 18th) was celebrated in style with a visit to the Charleston aquarium,  a second impressive air show, a wander along the old streets admiring the churches, parks and old houses and ending with dinner and birthday cake (artistically decorated by Emma and Macsen) on board with the Brandaan crew. 

One of our favourite sounds as we drifted along the ICW was “Emma clear! Standby on channel 67.”  Emma has developed her own VHF radio-speak and we heard this at least eight times per day. Her favourite time to pull out this particular line is just before bedtime, setting Macsen off into peels of laughter.  She has taken enthusiastically to VHF communication and uses the radio to call up the Brandaan several times a day as we motor next to them.  “Brandaan, Brandaan, this is the Pjotter” pipes out over our agreed channel 77 before she launches into various descriptions of what she has seen, played with, eaten, smelled or thought;  closing each line with a proper 'over.'
Norfolk is a pretty but very industrial port city and was quite a shock after the stillness and beauty of the ICW.  Here we bid goodbye to the Brandaan as they entered the Chesapeake Bay and we headed out onto the ocean for a 3-day journey to New York.  

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