58 Vero Beach, Fl to Jekyll Island, GA

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I went through a crash course in how to see again as we headed out from Vero Beach. Seeing a car or stop light at an intersection a half-mile ahead when driving is very different from being able to pick out a faint red or green ICW mark at the same distance from the helm of Tranquility. My lasered eyes and I are still getting acquainted and we’ve had some very uncomfortable moments as I learn a new way of seeing through them. Comments such as vision blurring (dismissed by me prior the surgery as happening to the other guy) showed up and make my turn at the helm hell at times. Slowly I’m coming to terms with my new eyes. I’m terrified at times that I’ve made a bad life decision and will forever have sight problems. As time progresses however, my eyes and I (we are temporarily separated) are learning to become the integrated entity we once were. Slowly, ever so slowly the problems the doctor and the written disclaimers talked about are showing up and slowly fading away. Slowly my vision improves as my eyes continue to heal. Given a little more time I’ll admit to improved vision, but not yet.

Dolphins decided to tease us. Instead of playing in our bow wake, they chose to ride our quarter wake, where from the helm they were very visible. Just to keep things interesting, they would randomly surface on either side, so it was difficult to anticipate when and where watch next. Our dolphin show went on for a half-hour.

St. Augustine’s tourists faded away with the last golden rays of the setting sun. A few street musicians now without an income source snuggled in entrances of closed shops and picked out one last tune in the fading twilight. Their notes hung in the air entertaining the tired musician rather than coaxing one last dollar from tourists hurrying to be snug back in their motel rooms before dark. A street statue street performer, complete with silver washtub pedestal, silver suit, silver shirt, silver top hat, and silver hands face and hair chatted with a friend. Her movements were out of context. She should be frozen in a pose. Then we could stare to see if she’d move, feel guilty if she didn’t, and reward her with a dollar. Rick and Joan, experts at finding great places to watch the passing scene lead us to a second floor balcony overlooking the streets and fort. Just to prove they could top themselves, the second night they took us to a restaurant out along the shore of the ICW. There under the limbs of live oak trees as the sun set we enjoyed a superb dinner. Our third night together, we don’t talk about except to say our guides managed to find the place where the college kids hang out, on ladies night, with quarter well drinks for the ladies. We know we visited other bars, enjoyed a band we thought was fantastic and remember getting kicked out after last call. However it’s best not to talk about the details.

We moved north to Amelia Island. Jeff and Debbie, fresh from a wonderful visit with Grammie, pleased with their Universal City stays and excited about buying a time share condo joined us for the night. We swapped stories, grilled a London Broil and talked late into the evening. Reluctantly after too short a visit we parted the next morning. The kids were out of vacation time and had to head for home.

As we backed out of the slip the wind held Tranquility’s bow down and we crabbed backward down the fairway to the main marina channel. There we attempted to go forward, gain speed and turn up into the wind. Too much wind, too little room. We were rapidly closing on a boat on the end of the dock. Ruth backed down, but now the wind had us and our bow pulpit hit the lifeline of the boat as I tried to fend off. Not damage, but embarrassing as I apologized to the couple now on deck to confirm there was no damage. We slid by, fast figuring our options as the wind pushed us deeper into the marina and more boats. Ruth used reverse again to swing our stern out and up into the wind. Once the bow pointed downwind we accelerated forward headed for a large trawler on the end dock of the marina. At the last possible moment Ruth swung the wheel hard to port. Tranquility came round clearing the trawler by about 4 feet and with just enough speed to come up into the wind. Things were back to normal and we were on our way out of the marina. What a practiced team we’d become. Throughout the entire time, there was very little conversation. We both understood the problem, knew what needed to be done, anticipated one another’s moves and exchanged a minimum of words. As we headed north along the ICW we went over what happened and found we agreed on what we should do differently next time.

Our new bikes were waiting for us when we arrived at Jekyll Island. Back at Vero Beach the front handlebar column broke apart without warning my on my 15-year-old folding bike leaving me sprawled in an untidy mess in front of oncoming traffic. With that we sold our old bikes and ordered new folding bikes. The new bikes now have 55 miles on them as we put them to good use exploring Jekyll. Our week at Jekyll evaporated. Boat chores were mingled with a leisurely lunches at the Jekyll Island Club and other restaurants we enjoy. We checked on the growth of baby alligators in the little pond we been watching for almost two years now. We’re even becoming better acquainted with some of the live aboard people at the marina. Someday we may stay for an extended period we find on each visit there’s always something new to discover on this quiet island. However for now we are itchy to move again and headed north.

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