Snowbirds and Turkeys

The annual southward migration of snowbirds is underway as we approach the end of the official Hurricane Season and the arrival of cold weather in the higher latitudes. Those cruisers heading south along the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway will pass right by St. Marys, while those heading south offshore can duck into Cumberland Sound and the St. Marys River for a well-deserved rest along the way, if they so choose. The concurrence of the weather, routing and holidays usually means that a number of cruisers stop over in St. Marys at Thanksgiving. A number of years ago, a local restaurant owner (a former cruiser, I believe) decided to provide the space, table settings and some turkeys for a Thanksgiving dinner, asking the cruisers laying over in our fair village to bring dishes of whatever they could for a potluck, covered dish feast. Several years ago, someone claimed to have counted upwards of 200 boats in the river, though the number fluctuates widely each year. It’s a great time to meet up with old friends or to buddy up with other cruisers heading to similar destinations. We hope to meet some who are heading to the Keys and the Bahamas.

In the 10 years we’ve had a home in St. Marys, Suzy and I have only been around for three Thanksgivings. This year will be our fourth. Local boaters, including the St. Marys Yacht Club — of which we are members — pitch in to provide assistance to cruisers stopping in. We’ve added our names to the list of drivers willing to provide transportation to groceries, drug stores, laundries, hardware stores, and even to some of the chandleries as far away as Jacksonville. We’ll help with the dinner as well. On the Friday after Thanksgiving, the Yacht Club will be hosting a social for cruisers at the Club’s house boat in the marina.

If you are a cruiser, or know of any who may be heading south about now, who might be in the area of St. Marys around Thanksgiving Day, please let them know they are welcome to stop by and join us for dinner.