121 Cocoa, FL to Daufuskie Island, SC

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Signs defined the road. One warned its narrow–live oaks hug the curb allowing just a narrow two lanes. The second sign warned of low clearance due to those same majestic live oaks. Sun-speckled shade and the blue of the ICW winked in and out between oak and palm trees flashing past as we biked Indian River Drive. Cozy homes lined the street. Built before the age of trophy houses they have a comfortable, livable scale. Magically, a large flock of robins materialized and drifted north with us as we rode along. Robins gave way to bright flashes of cardinals also heading north. Reluctantly we turned and headed west toward all the commercial establishments along US 1.

Many hours and 17 bike miles later we’d visited a used RV dealer, a travel trailer dealer, and a new RV dealer. Our initial RV impressions have changed and thoughts of what we might like have been modified. Relaxing back aboard Odyssey we talked about what we learned and decide we are not ready for an RV or a trailer. Maybe in the fall we’ll look again, but for now the lure of being on the water is just too strong.

At Palm Coast marina we met Jack and Carol in person after trading e-mail notes as a result of our web site. We provided a tour of Odyssey before settling down to enjoy a glass of wine and growing new friendships. One day they too may be trawlercat owners.

Oyster Creek and marina of the same name provided a back door to St Augustine bringing the grocery store and marine consignment shop a mile closer. Groceries are routine, the consignment shop is a unique experience. Our old water pump yielded $50 cash. Then off we wandered combing the dark, cluttered, dusty aisles looking for those odd items we didn’t know we needed. Half the staff seemed to be digging through the piles of junk, or boat treasures depending on one’s viewpoint. Several are sailors working for the store to pay for the odd items they squirrel away until they’d accumulated enough time to pay for the item. The store had everything from keel bolts to masthead lights in amazing disarray. We had a ball and finally found edging to improve our sunscreen before walking out with $47 left in our pockets.

Wandering St Augustine we detoured to check out the docks downtown and found Shell y T, a sister ship to Odyssey. No one was aboard. The search was on, and shortly we met up with Tim and Michelle. For a long time we’d communicated by e-mail helping them make their decisions regarding their 36. Now in person we discovered we enjoyed each other’s company and rapidly became good friends.

Our random stop in St Augustine turned into a meeting of friends. Mike; Endeavour’s production manager was coming to do some warranty work on Shell y T. We relocated to the same to say hello to Mike and for the first time meet his wife, Donna. (Donna told Ruth the secret to eating grits, and Ruth is now a convert).

Three trawlercats were at St Augustine when Amy Boo with Ralph and Bonnie Jean came in. We’d missed our planned meeting around Thanksgiving and loved meeting now at a unique location. For us it was flattering to see what they’d done with our suggestion regarding the sunscreen set up we’d worked up. Ralph and Bonnie Jean with the help of canvas shop had expanded our idea and developed a first class set up that one of these day’s we’ll copy.

Reluctantly we all parted company. We headed north to Jekyll. Shell y T followed but diverted to explore St. Marys. Amy Boo headed south.

After a bit of studying we figured we were looking at the remains of a trawl arm and part of the superstructure of a sunken shrimp boat. The twisted piping disappeared down into a shallow pool of salt water then disappeared into the sand. The shrimp boat hull was still there, but deep in the sand as Jekyll Island slowly claimed the wreck. We walked around the remains enjoying a rare treat brought about by a full moon and spring low tides. Normally we see much less of the skeleton sticking out of the water as we pass by boat.

Tim and Michelle had joined us on our eight mile bike trip to see the wreck. The four of us got back to the marina exhausted. We’d ridden a good portion on the hard sand beaches and then struggled back the last few miles peddling into a head wind. Cosmo, Shell y T’s rottweiler, gave us his normal enthusiastic welcome by attempting to lick us to death.

A mile up the South Altamaha River we ran off the edge of our charts. We were on our own for the last three miles up the river. It wasn’t the best timing as fog closed in reducing visibility to a quarter mile and less. We picked our way along without incident and tied up at Two Way Fish Camp out in the middle of nowhere in Georgia. For us the marina had all the essentials: inexpensive dock rates, a nice restaurant, and most important, good protection from the storm forecast for the next few days.

Leaden skies threaten rain as we started our walk south toward a former plantation; now a state park. We walked the grassy shoulder of the arrow straight and absolutely flat road cutting through the marshes. Off in the far distance we could see our destination an hour’s walk away. About half way there a car stopped and backed up. We figured someone was going to ask directions. Instead friendly Georgians offered us a ride that we accepted.

“Plantation” brings to mind Gone With The Wind and Tara with its elegant southern lifestyle. The Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation didn’t fit our mental images. Rice, not cotton was the cash crop worked by slave labor. After slavery, the plantation became a dairy farm still owned by descendants of the original family. The large plantation house hinted at Tara from the distance, but dissolved into an interesting ordinary house providing a glimpse of life in the 1800’s. We wandered the grounds finding remains of dikes used to flood the rice fields.

Raindrops were just starting as we started our walk back. We’d brought umbrellas and were just about to open them when another car stopped and offered us a ride. Georgian hospitality got us back to Odyssey minutes before the serious rain started.

Daufuskie Island was named after its original description: ‘the first key.’ Each ICW trip we’d pass wondering what secrets an island reachable only by ferryboat held. A sign announcing that one of the ferryboat docks was now open as a marina caught our eye. We couldn’t resist and called on the VHF to arrange dockage. Minutes latter we were on the free shuttle bus heading for the ocean side of the island to Melrose Resort, a very upscale golf resort for an elegant lunch and a leisurely walk along the deserted beach. On our return shuttle bus trip to the marina our driver diverted to give us a private tour of the island dotted with golf courses and huge homes. Later by bike we did our own exploring enjoying deserted pine tree shaded roads. Sunset sparkled across the ICW giving us a private show as we were the only people in the marina.

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