Wednesday morning dawned calm with practically no wind. We left the Duplin River before the first ferry to Sapelo Island arrived and continued our journey south. Tomorrow, we will be back in Saint Marys. In one sense, I was looking forward to being home. I know I will appreciate the large bed (that doesn’t move), the air conditioning, and the fact that we can get to a grocery store in just a few minutes from home. I definitely will not miss the bugs, the constant clamminess of clothes and linens, and trying to fall asleep at night when the temperature is 90 degrees in the salon at eleven o’clock at night. Nor will I miss the ever-present fear of sudden storms or shallow water. But I will miss the scenery, and the serenity of being alone in the middle of Nature. The names of the places we traveled through were familiar to me now. Doboy Sound. Rockdedundy Creek. Little Mud River. Altamaha River. Buttermilk Sound. I called Morningstar Marina in Brunswick to check on a slip. The dockmaster confirmed there was space available, so we would tie up there tonight instead of anchoring.
We were just a bit south of the Little Mud River — which is home to a fleet of shrimp boats — when I heard a hail on the VHF radio. A sailboat in the Little Mud River was trying to hail a shrimp boat. Obviously, the two boats were in a passing or overtaking situation, and the sailboat captain wanted to communicate with the shrimp boat captain. He hailed several times, but got no response. As protocol requires, the sailboat gave its name each time it hailed the shrimp boat. The name I heard was “Checked Out.” Suzy and I had met the crew of a sailboat of that name in Southport, NC, back in July. We were northbound and they were southbound. We both left Southport on the same day, heading in different directions. They were on their way from Oriental, NC, to Palm Beach, FL. Unless they had been detained somewhere for a long time, there was no way we could be ahead of them. Nevertheless, I got on the radio and hailed Checked Out. They replied immediately, and I asked if they were the same Checked Out that was traveling from Oriental to Palm Beach. They were! I reminded them of who we were, and they remembered us. I asked if they were stopping at Brunswick. Yes. I asked if they were anchoring out or tying up at the marina. The marina. If the marina put Madge on the face dock for the night, as was likely, we would probably be tied up right next to Checked Out. We arranged to get together as soon as both boats were secured. We pulled into Morningstar Marina at Golden Isles at about one-thirty in the afternoon. Checked Out arrived about an hour later, and was tied up right behind us on the face dock.
We reintroduced ourselves to Matt and Jan, and headed to the restaurant by the marina for a late — and large — lunch. We found out that not long after we had parted company back in July, Checked Out had developed a leak in its fuel tank. The tank had to be removed and replaced, and it turned out to be a long and difficult task. The work was done at the boatyard in Thunderbolt, just south of Savannah. The tank work was completed about the time Tropical Depression #9 was developing, so they waited out what would become Hurricane Hermine in Thunderbolt. That’s how we ended up being ahead of them on the waterway. We got caught up on what had been happening over the last couple of months, and we told them about meeting some of their friends while we were in Oriental. After lunch, we decided we’d get back together again for Happy Hour on Checked Out, since it had air conditioning. Then, we all headed off to do chores, but more importantly, to take long hot showers. Having had a late and big lunch, and the usual potluck apps and snacks for Happy Hour, we didn’t need dinner. We stayed aboard Checked Out and talked until after ten o’clock. We decided to travel together the next day. Matt and Jan were heading for Fernandina Harbor Marina, just across the river from Saint Marys. We invited them to Saint Marys, instead, but they planned to tie up in Fernandina for a couple of days to rest. We did agree that after they’d had an opportunity to rest up, and we’d unloaded Madge at home, we’d get together in Fernandina on Saturday.
While we were aboard Checked Out, I had missed a call from my brother. I called him back, and we discussed Mom’s funeral, which would be September 15.