The captain rose before dawn and inhaled coffee while the first mate hauled anchor, the vessel slipping quietly out of the crowded harbor as the sun cracked the horizon, aided by electronic navigation--because the early light was too dim to detect the red and green of the channel markers.
Into the northbound shipping channel they crept, joining work boats, deep-sea fishing captains headed for their daily catch, research ships, local ferries, and unwieldy coal barges.
The vessel rallied against one knot of adverse current, soon to increase to three knots as the tide swept relentlessly out to sea, a force as old as the earth and immune to all of man's desires and engineering miracles.
Sounds like a novel to me. Ripping adventure? Tragic hard-luck tale? Another Hemingway?
Nah. Just another routine day on the inland waterway, bringing the boat home from Charleston where we stored her for the winter, after our aborted attempt to sail to the Bahamas for a second glorious adventure.
Yesterday we crossed into North Carolina. One state down, three to go.