Standing in the dinghy looking at my (James’) frozen hands, trying to will them to work!
…my hands wouldn’t work and I could feel the rest of me shutting down, starting with my version of reality, and hypothermia was, of course, the last thing on my mind.
I somehow managed to get out of the little boat and back aboard Nomad in a completely blacked out state, where I, what(!), came to, when I could feel my hands again holding the warm vent-output of the heater.
I told her through hyperventilated breaths that this is a change in my life happening in realtime.
We talked, we hugged. When I (Dena) cried, he took it like a gift, like something better than forgiveness. Togetherness is better than forgiveness.
We weren’t okay. We were faltering from the poison of South Carolina’s 3rd-world water and the poison of the mold drip dripping on our heads as we slept and the sapping weakness of night after night of temperatures under 25 degrees Fahrenheit and days underway at 26. Both of us, weakened, taxed beyond coping, beyond just-get-through-this, turned to each other and said, enough.
This is the change.
Southing ain’t it…
We sailed south to Latitude 18 on the Big Island and South wasn’t the answer then and it isn’t now.
The change is: a new boat, or rather, another boat, yeah…
Sailing North out of Chuck-ton just to get (the fuck) out of that trap, that trump-confederate stronghold, that town, and then we ran aground, ugh…in the marina, a marina (!!!), wow, I have no idea where-the-fuck-I-was, oh yeah Isle of Palms, S.C., right, powered a trench in the sandy bottom, then we epic-walked to pizza…
We did a short offshore from Isle of Palms to the North Edisto River because we didn’t want to be running aground on the ICW anymore.
The next day’s weather didn’t look good for doing the same thing, so we negotiated the cuts between rivers, down to 5.5 foot depths at times, and then grounded hard where we should have had another 100 yards of deep-enough water!?!
The chart said 9 feet, the chartplotter said 10 feet, the fucking depthsounder read 6 feet and suddenly I was ass over teakettle staring up at the slate gray sky, fast aground! I (James) hailed a neat little gaff-rigged schooner by the name of 3 Crows, that was passing us by, and they pulled us off almost as fast as we’d run aground, but…
We’d landed on some upcropping of muddy what…oysters?…that made the many miles to get offshore and the many miles to get back in look much better all of a sudden.
By this time I was beginning to recognize the effects of being poisoned by a foul’d water tank and, just like that, things started making sense in a slow way. My joints started to stiffen and the sun genuinely hurt my eyes.
Anchored in Skull Creek off Hilton Head, South Carolina as the dolphins swam around our anchorage and the White Pelican crept up the beach with the tide, I saw my reality as a thing I was in absolute control of, not just once again, but still.
We were sick, really sick, and not getting any better (by that time a pain in my lower-middle back on my left side was steadily intensifying and my mouth was dry and crusty all the time). I (Dena) felt puny and weak, my stomach wouldn’t settle, and headaches were the norm.
We made the call to go offshore for the next 48 (or so) hours, heading in decidedly the wrong direction, North, back to Wrightsville Beach so Dena could apply for a job that she would have to design that didn’t exist yet that could very well set us up to buy another boat…
…That boat we found in Mexico on e-bay while we were in Beaufort, S.C. (Oh yeah that was the name of that town!), eating Mexican food after another epic walk.
…That boat, the boat we need for the sailing we do as opposed to the boat we have, that boat which we wish could do the sailing we want to do.
We, at this point are, knowingly, completely poisoned by our water supply and for the next 55 hours we sailed,
…And motored back to our digs on the hook in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.
The first night hurt badly. The second night, though…
Glorious. Glories of the sky – the moon through binoculars, craters at the edge of the crescent looking absurdly 3D; the globular cluster M42 in Orion’s skirt; the seven sisters called the Pleiades racing across the sky and diving one by one into the water, riding the bull backwards into the sea.
And there was a blue streak, from south to north, that exploded into a white flash before going red, orange, and breaking into four pieces that turned green and disappeared without a splash into the glass that mirrored the event with eerie precision.
No one saw it better. The American Meteor Society, the coolest geeks we’ve discovered this week, got a look, but not like that.
I haven’t taken a single picture since we’ve been back in North Carolina.
This is all about perspective, you see. From my perspective things are getting much better!
We rented a car and drove to Annapolis. I interviewed for a job, I killed the interview, got a new job and started the detox-flushing of my hammered immune system along with the aforementioned job.
Dena invented a new job and is, at this moment, taking over the company we now both work for.
…And we’re okay!
Now we’re gonna work on getting THAT boat, the next boat, whatever boat that may be.
Oh, my darlings. I am feeling for you so hard. This episode, even with these beautiful postcard images and the blessings of space rock, sounds scary on top of fucking miserable. You kinda ran aground in several directions, huh?
The part I love best? That your sickened desperate escape flailed you into running a company for a heap of cash. That’s the Captains I know! And yes, you are ok. You know how to stay ok. But I’m sorry this fever dream is was the path.
Welcome back close to meeeee and may the cradle of a familiar shore restore your serenity with a quickness. Spring is coming.