15 December 2010
Florida greeted Puffin today with temperatures far less benign than snowbirds expect as they flock to Florida fleeing the frigid fingers of a frosty New England winter. (At times, I cannot resist these ribbons of redundant alliteration, no matter how lacking in meaning. The useless nuggets stream through my brain like a ticker tape - I am simply addicted to this diminutive stampede of sound-alike consonants and I apologize.)
If I have said nothing meaningful yet about our travels today, it is because at this point there is seems little difference on the waterway between southern Georgia and the very upper reaches of the Florida salt marsh. The rolling patois of the native Georgian is now largely disappeared from the VHF radio chatter between bridges, barges and other locals we meet. In Florida it becomes the more neutral, flat "American" dialect that is probably more characteristic of Florida today.
I see some birds I don't recognize and haven't noticed in Georgia. The birds are small, dark and flitter in small flocks across the water and I can't retain an image so I don't look them up.
Temperatures have been freezing at night since we left Charleston and little better during the day with a nasty wind to ensure a thorough penetration of the inadequate clothing we brought to wear. But the forecast is for warmer weather this coming week and we continue south with surging optimism.
Tonight Puffin anchored in the Ft. George River a few miles south of the Florida border and just off the ICW to enjoy another beautiful sunset. One of the several boats nearby was from Vermont, which we had learned earlier by radio. After coming to join us aboard, our new friends said they had endeavored to set two anchors. Unfortunately, the rode from one became entangled in his propeller. During that commotion, the current set the boat aground at the beginning of a falling tide of about 3 feet. His sailboat was compact at 27 feet and the wind had died down, so the boat wasn't in particular jeopardy. As he explained the plight, we concluded that there was little to do but drink wine, munch and wait for the tide's maximum ebb three hours hence. At full ebb, his boat was heeled over and the propeller was less than a foot under water. I brought over a serrated dive knife, which Nancy located, along with a underwater spotlight. Our friend's diligent efforts at hacking and sawing with his arm immersed in the 48 deg water for an hour or more was finally rewarded with a freed propeller and at about 4:00 AM the stout little sailboat finally floated free.