February 9, 2016

"Simon Says..."

St. Simons says come here.  
St. Simons says touch me. 
St. Simons says hold me.
St. Simons says sail me. 
St. Simons says love me. 
Simon says stay with me.

Even if my return was only for 6 days, it was a welcome relief to be back in the charms of Glory Days.  A comfort. A deliverance. A diversion. A respite. A moment to just be. It's not a whole season of sailing this go around, but it'll do in a fix. 

In my landlocked suburban life, all too often I find myself being a "human doing" instead of a "human being"... do this, do that, get this, get that, go here, go there, you get the idea.  But boats are demanding too, and if you're not careful, a week on the boat can easily turn into a human-doing week.  Because there's never really an end to all the things that a human must "do" to keep a boat  in top notch and safe operating order. 

It goes without saying that the only way to really stay on top of all a boat's needs is to live on her.  Prolonged absences for weeks at a time on a boat are an invitation for all sorts of break-downs including rust, mildew, degrading hoses, barnacle growth, and stiff joints from lack of use.  Some boats even come down with a condition known as LBS (Lonely Boat Syndrome) It's a curable emotional condition a boat goes through from lack of use.

But alas, LBS is a not a permanent condition.  Usually all it takes is a little massaging of her topsides with a scrub brush combined with a strong dose of salty wind in her sails to cure the affliction.   :)

So with that said, here's some random thoughts that came to me during the week I spent aboard Glory Days before departing on February 3.

The sunsets and sunrises around St. Simons Sound are often quite spectacular.  Maybe it's because of the uncluttered view to the west.  Or maybe it's the smog from the local paper mills that contributes to the multi layers of color and texture seeping through the sunlight.  Or maybe it's just God smiling down on any given day.

The sunset for January 30 was one such miracle.  It arrived, it settled in, it fermented, it climaxed, and then it fell asleep quietly. 

This 60' triple masted schooner arrived and anchored near me for a couple of nights.  It was uplifting to see this young Canadian couple with four children living out their dream aboard such a gorgeous boat.  And to think their kids ranged in age from 2 to 13 tells me there are some joyful as well as challenging moments aboard. Here they are below returning home after a day ashore.

A man who lives on the street envies a man who lives in a car.
A man who lives in a car envies a man who lives in a trailer.
A man who lives in a trailer envies a man who lives in a house.
A man who lives in a house envies a man who lives in a mansion.
A man who lives in a mansion envies a man who lives on a boat.
A man who lives on a boat envies no one. 

The special eve when these shots were taken was just breathtaking.  At first, it did not appear we would have much of a sunset, then suddenly the western sky started to brew and before long the glow grew and grew and grew lighting the whole evening sky on fire.  Definitely one of the best I've seen in quite some time... Pardon my redundancy with so many sunset pics here.

The Sidney Lanier Bridge at Brunswick, Georgia

And then she closed her eyes and said good night.

The weather conditions on the following Sunday were ideal for letting Glory Days out of her stall.  Like a pony in a coral she was ready to get her frisky self out for a Sunday romp in local waters.
My boat neighbor friend, Malcolm, joined me for this Sunday outing.

During this Sunday day sail, the trip log meter turned over to 3000 nautical miles as noted above.  Two trips up and down the Florida coast, a winter in the Bahamas, and a winter in the Keys adds up to some quality hull time for Glory Days.

A wash down of her deck after a day sail makes for a happy situation. And back safely in her slip with no more signs of LBS for this vessel. 

Back home for now.  My dock is at the bottom of this photo.
 How's this for a new fad I am starting?  For some reason, it hasn't caught on yet.

Ah yes, the old Joker valve ... no joke!

 The following Monday was spent working on various boat projects with great success.  I repacked the transmission stuffing box, serviced the batteries, cleaned the interior, scrubbed the topsides, had the bottom cleaned by a local diver and repaired the head (toilet) by replacing the "joker" valve.  This important valve controls and prevents human waste from coming back into the toilet bowl.  Why they call it the joker valve I don't know.  It's certainly no joke when poop comes back the wrong direction after flushing it away.

Fishing was the order of the day for Tuesday.  My alarm went off at 6 a.m. and by 7, I had procured coffee, a dozen live shrimp, and fuel.  The dink was already cleaned and readied for an outing into St. Simons Sound in search of a hungry trout or redfish.  You can do some big time thinking when you're out there dinking.

Pelicans know.

These towers serve as aids to navigation in St. Simons Sound. These cormorants seem to appreciate the towers for other purposes.  Courting, resting, and drying their wings to name a few. 

This aerial view shows how tricky getting from the river out to the sea can be.  The tan or dark brown areas are where shoaling has occurred making for extremely shallow and often treacherous possibilities.  You can't always trust markers and local knowledge is often helpful when navigating out to open sea.  Sometimes you just have to "read" the water. 
I continued to try my luck at fishing, but this is the best I could do.  One would think that a live shrimp on a hook at low tide at the recommended spot would be the perfect combination for reeling in a keeper... Think again.  

It doesn't matter tho.  It's all good, whether I'm casting into a creek mouth at anchor or drifting aimlessly dangling a shrimp in the shipping channel, there are no complaints.  It always beats the alternative.

The sea is The Great Intimidator.  
She deserves the honor, always gets the right of way, earns the benefit of the doubt, and inspires the hope that she will spare you another day to bask in her grandeur. 

There was a brief moment of shirtless weather during this week in winter.
You take it when you can get it.  It's like a teaser, but I am patient and I know must wait, for there is more on the way.

6 days at the boat is better than none. And with that thought in mind, I am off back to Atlanta to care for my mother and prep my home for sale... 
Simon Says, "Please come back soon."
Rest easy girl, I shall return.