I can’t find words. I have all this time on my hands, but I can’t find words. This virus. This thing that has decended on our world and robbed us of so much. It is truly paralyzing. The world has sort of just stopped spinning. So for days on end I have sat and stared at a blank screen with no words. Today I thought I’d give this a try.
Just weeks ago we rang in a new decade with our close friends. We stood on the beach looking out at a sunset, glasses raised and shouted our mantra “While Ya Can!” Who knew? Now we can’t! Now I am reading post after post of cruisers stuck on their journeys, holed up indefinitely. Many marinas closed. Access to the Keys closed. Borders closed. It makes me so sad for those who thought 2020 was going to be their year. They have dreamed it, planned it, packed it, stowed it and fueled it but now they are finding they may not be able to cast off the lines and go. It makes me so grateful to look back on our Day One.
This time of year under normal circumstances the northbound boats are on the move up this eastern ICW. Not so right now. The Waterway Guide, AGLCA and Dockwa are all monitoring and collaborating to keep would-be cruisers informed as to the numerous closures of marinas. Particularly the municipal facilities are posting closures as the virus sets new barriers in place. The prudent captain needs to stay put unless he knows the next marina he might need is still operating. This is a real-time chart which is changing by the hour!
As for Mac and I, we are blessed to be in one of the finest marinas on the east coast. Shelter Cove Marina on Hilton Head is truly a shelter. It is still open and operating as I write this post. We are on the I dock. The Disney Vacation Club of HHI is just up the ramp off of our stern. They are closed. It’s eerie. But several still move about the area since this is the live-aboard side of the marina.
Boaters are naturals at sheltering in place. A squally week or northern blow often keeps us holed up inside not moving, changing hoses, shining brass, reading, writing in our blog or purging holds. We’ve got this. Our space is our own. No one has been there and we are used to daily sanitizing and wipe-downs. We are used to hanging over the edge of the flybridge to chat up the neighbor down the dock. We just never knew it was called social distancing!
I am so grateful for a lot of things as we face these isolation days. Blues skies, sunshine and fresh air. We took the dinghy out Saturday and putted about. Since the beaches on the island are closed we found hundreds of others who had taken to the water in anything that would float. Kayaks to cruisers. They were out there. Nosed up to the oyster beds in kayaks and on paddle boards (with six feet of distance between them) the spring break stragglers found a way to get outside and have fun. In nearby Savannah our son tells me he observed lines at his local boat ramp longer than those on the Fourth of July!
So maybe, in the midst of all the stillness there is a spirit that keeps us itching to go. A spirit that will find the opening in the midst of the closings. A place where we can still be safe but also be sane. The water has always been that place for me. It’s where the Lord can whisper His message in the lap of the waves on the hull, the majesty of the sunset or the puff of the dolphin breaking the surface off the bow. He’s telling us without media coverage or social technology to “Be Still and know that I am God”.