On Day 25, we took a real vacation day.
Now I can only guess what you are thinking. This whole experience is a vacation, right? Well before you continue that line of thinking, perhaps give some thought to some of your own vacations. Ever had a vacation that felt like lots of work leading up to and during the supposed time off, making your return to work feel better than the time off? Those kind of vacations are often filled with back-to-back events, getting everyone to agree on places to eat and places to go, early risings, lots of coordination, planning, rescheduling when plans go awry, assuring everyone is happy, arranging transportation, etc. Honestly, our first 24 days have been like that that, x 10. Dudley might say x 100. Cruising ain’t for sissies. Sailboats are hard work. Ask any sailor.
And then there are those vacations that, quite frankly, feel like vacations. You actually unwind, relax, put your feet up, and experience pure peace. Everything falls into place. Everybody is content, including you.
That was our Day 25.
The planning for this idyllic day began less than twenty-four hours before, when I expressed disappointment that we would have to miss a stop in Southport because of our extended delay in Wrightville Beach due to boat repairs. I had heard great things about Southport and especially nearby Bald Head Island, and really wanted to get there. But Thanksgiving plans have been made, and we really need to make some nautical miles south soon.
It was Captain Studley Dudley who suggested that we do a day trip by car/ferry/golf cart to Southport, none of which would be adversely impacted by the wind forecast that was our fear of Cape Fear. Wow—great idea!
And the icing on this cake was that Gail and Ron had never been to Bald Head Island, so they were excited to go too! This of course led to Gail suggesting that we make a full day of it, complete with a picnic lunch as well as appropriate provisions for toasting the island sunset.
We kept it simple so it would indeed be a vacation day. We made the 10 am ferry, and easily rented a golf cart that could hold the four of us with beach chairs and picnic provisions. We visited the lighthouse,
hiked through preserves,
explored the island at 15 mph (wee!),
set up a picnic on the beach,
walked the beach, and collected shells. And just sat. Or just napped.
No one was on a schedule. No one was in a hurry. We played everything by ear. It helped that the ferry still ran late, so we could easily return when it felt right. And the weather was picture perfect, in the mid-70s, and breezy. For the first time in a long time, I breathed deeply, and felt truly relaxed.
After this blissful day, we watched the sun set, returned the cart, caught the ferry back to Southport, and had dinner at Fishy Fish. Which meant that we got to see the quaint town of Southport too. And then Gail and Ron dropped us at the boat, so we could sleep in our own bed for an early start down Cape Fear the next morning.
So it was a road trip, not a sea visit, that got us to Southport and Bald Head Island. It didn’t matter. It was a real vacation day. Finally. We all need those.