"When I think of all the fools I've been it's a wonder that I've sailed this many miles." -Guy Clark

Saturday, April 22, 2023

day twenty - no room at the inn

A bouncy night with a southwest wind pushing chop into the cove.  Finally calmed down early morning hours.  Drift off anchor at 6:50.  Motor at idle speed on glassy water.

7:55 wind, and the flood tide is with us.  Making 3.2 just after 8:00.

It's the last day and I'm in no rush.  Slow sailing is fine with me. 

A low overcast  but I look to the north and see blue skies .  Better wind at 9:45, making 3.7.  

More wind, steady and solid, making 4.6 than 5.5.  Noon wind goes away, suddenly very hot.  Motorsailing.

1:35 wind fills in from the east, 2.3 and the breeze feels good.  2:05 round Forrester Point, the Palatka bridge in sight.

I motor past the free public docks and find them wrapped in yellow warning tape with signs saying stay away.  I call the marina asking for a slip, leave a message but get no immediate response.  There are two finger piers near the bridge and I tie up there just after 3:00.  Soon a man walks down the pier and asks me is my boat is a Drascombe.  I laugh and say no, thinking of Webb telling me (for years now) that SPARTINA is just a wanna-be Drascombe.  I visit with the man for a few minutes and then he heads off.  I get a return call from the marina telling me their docks are full.  This is bad news.  I need somewhere to leave SPARTNA while I take a train to get my truck and trailer.  I text the marina saying the boat is small, I don't need much space.  A return text tells me there is no room for me.

I grab a late lunch at Angel's, the classic old diner just a couple blocks from the water.  I'm trying to figure out where to leave the boat.  I walk to a hotel that has some docks.  The woman there says the rules are that the docks are for guests only, but then says she is not much at following rules.  So maybe yes.  There is the finger pier but I'm not sure if it is for overnight use and there is no security.  So my backup plan is the hotel marina, they aren't great docks but they will work.

Evening I motor over towards the marina to see if just maybe there is a little space for me, why not make one more appeal.  As I near the marina I see a man on shore wave at me from the backyard of his house.  And his house is on the water and there is a nice pier there.  I turn towards the dock and start waving back.  Soon the man stands up and I realize that he was enjoying time in a hot tub with his wife.  Not great timing.  As he gets near I also realize that he's the guy that met me at the dock earlier asking about a Drascombe.  

I come along side the pier and explain my dilemma.  I just need a place to tie up while I head to Charleston.  "How long?" he asks.  Just one night I tell him.  And he says of course I can leave my boat at this dock.  He says his name is Bobby and he shows me the best place to tie up, right in front of his trawler-style boat.  I thank him, tell him I'll anchor out tonight and be back at his dock tomorrow.  

I motor away, set the anchor and rig the boom tent and sleeping gear.  And I go to sleep thinking about people I have met on my trips, and how kind they have been to me.

27.56 NM


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