Lird, I'm three, Lord, I'm four,
Lord i'm five hundred miles from my home.
Not a shirt on my back
Not a penny to my name
Lord I cannot go back home this-a-way.
--folk song popularized by Peter, Paul, and Mary
We're still 500 miles from home in the seaport of Beaufort, SC, tired, and ready to head home for another break from southern heat, humidity, and flying, biting scourges of the earth.
Not wanting to show up in prestigious DC dirty, broke, and scraggly, we are cleaning the boat, ourselves, and our laundry and hitting the ATM before jumping ship and heading for the nearest airport, 70 miles away at Charleston.
Chaos on board while packing for home
Our last days on board brought about as much excitement as middle-aged-going- on-elderly hearts can stand.
Yesterday the threat of a thunderstorm with 35-mph gusts and half-inch hail scared us into dropping sails and dropping anchor near shore. At the marine base next door on Parris Island, loudspeakers blared: "all personnel take shelter IMMEDIATELY!" The eye of the storm passed us by, however.
Earlier, anchored alone in a remote Georgia marsh, a different storm lived up to expectations. Black clouds and lightning streaking across the sky. Heaven's tears washing our deck.
Then there is the social life. hard to keep up! At Green Turtle Cay in the Bahamas, Pope discovered a distant relative, George, from the same small town in South Carolina. We called him up as we neared Bluffton on Saturday. Not a good day to 'drop in'! Whaddya know. He and his lovely wife Lillian were home and throwing a barbeque in two hours! We unfurled the jib, raised the main, and cranked up the iron jenny. Got there in time for kebabs, and yakked half the night with cousins, neighbors, and other hangers-on in their rambling old riverside home with a big screened-in porch, southern style. Sailors included. Tales and tall tales on the menu; followed by breakfast and shower at Carolyn's --another cousin.
Once again we abandon Echo II with mixed feelings, at a storm-protected marina in Beaufort.
Echo II at Lady's Island Marina
It's been fun, but hard work, and we need time for the bruises and scars--and insect bites--to heal. Even after traversing three states, Chesapeake Bay still seems like a long haul.
Regrettably, we are indeed 500 miles away from home.