Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Skull Creek: a change of direction: camp fire

        Fred, the dock master and my near neighbor, who in his many years in this area after first experiencing it in Marine Boot Camp at Parris Island and who has stayed on board through I think four hurricanes, here at Skull Creek and at Beaufort, suggested that I should on my departure sail southwest on Skull Creek rather than go north to Port Royal Sound.  He is obviously right, particularly if the wind is north as forecast.  I will save about ten miles and get to see part of the island from the water that I haven’t.
        In the screen shot above, the radius of the circle around GANNET’s position is one nautical mile.
        As you can see Hilton Head Island is shaped like a shoe, about eleven miles long and five miles at its widest, running northeast to southwest.
        I was surprised to learn that after Long Island, NY, it is the second largest barrier island on the Atlantic Coast.

        Today was much like yesterday:  cool—again 34º outside when I got up, 40º inside—sunny and windy, but it warmed into the low 50s and I was able to bike to Walmart.  The wind decreased significantly once I was away from the water.
        I have not checked weather sources since this morning, but a Friday departure was still on then, though another front is forecast to pass quickly on Thursday.  I hope it arrives and leaves on schedule.
        Fred gave me permission to move from our slip to a side tie on A dock, which I will do tomorrow if the wind permits.  I will be able to sail off there in a north wind.
        The people at this marina could not be nicer.

        Yesterday I received an email from Tom—not the shipmate of Baby, but a different Tom, this one a rancher in east Texas, which has brought me great pleasure.
        First let me repeat something I have written in this journal before.  I was formed—no, I formed myself—on the legends of the opening of the American West and of Ancient Greece.  I know the flaws in both, but both were epics, and I have for as long as I can remember wanted to live an epic life.  Whether I have or not is a matter of opinion, one of which matters to me more than others, but I don’t take a step back from that even as a seriously old man.
        Go back sixty, seventy years and imagine a solitary boy sitting in his bedroom in a small house on the edge of Saint Louis suburbs, looking out at an undeveloped field, and not wanting to be there.  He was a reader and books took him beyond what he could see.  To the west, to the sea, to the world.
        The Gateway Arch had not been built then.  I consider it, along with the Sydney Opera House and the Viet Nam Memorial in Washington, DC, to be the greatest public constructions of the 20th Century. 
         I have no fondness for Saint Louis, but located as it is at the junction of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, it once was the gateway to the west and caused my mind to go that way, and when my grandparents retired to a tiny house in Mission Beach, California, my body did too in the summers as a teenager and again after I graduated from college.
         The west meant freedom to me as it has for many in the history of this country.
         Yesterday Tom wrote that he follows my journal and has viewed many of my videos and that each year in early November his family and friends get together for a few days and cook and sit around campfires and drink various liquids, toasting people they know who aren’t with them and some of whom they only know through reading.  
         A few years ago Tom brought along a bottle of Laphroaig—I have sold a few bottles for that distillery, which I hope to visit some day—and they raised their glasses to Webb Chiles.  Tom gave me the words of the toast which I think immodest to share.  They please me greatly, as does that people I have not met drank to me around an open campfire.  
        Not even knowing them, Tom, your words are how I have sought to live.  I am trying still.