J+G Sailing; Home for Christmas


Oh, the whole last month? Where have we been? Right, good questions. Some people think we never left the boat while others will ask us where we are living now that our trip is “over”.  It’s not over! We have spent a few weeks away from the boat. But, lil “Sundaze” (Which, by the way, is the name of our boat) is waiting patiently for our return. Actually, we struggled with the choice of whether to come home for the holidays. We had finally made it to the land of Manatees and warm weather. We wanted to keep going. Winter was on our heels and we struggled with the idea of giving it time to catch up. But, my oldest sister, her new husband and our sweet baby niece had come home from Costa Rica. Which meant our whole family would be home for Christmas. And, if we ruined that, I knew we’d have to endure the torture of constant texts and calls letting us know how much we were missing.    
 

          Coming home, however, meant leaving the boat. And, leaving the boat meant we had to find a place to dock it. Being sailors on a tight budget, finding a place to leave the boat is a little more difficult. Marina fees can be a hard bullet to bite. Our ideal option would’ve been to find someone with an open slip or dock who would allow us to tie up for a few weeks. And, in North Carolina and maybe even South Carolina, we might have had a chance at doing so. But, we were in Georgia and neither of us knew anyone living along the ICW (Intra Costal Waterway) in Georgia. As we pushed forward, trying to get as far south as possible before our departure, I sent messages out to sailing groups and friends searching for a connection. One after another, everyone graciously answered, but each regretfully responded that they too knew no one.
          Finally, with only a day left to find a place to dock, we started calling marinas. I’m pretty sure we could write a book analyzing the pricing for every marina along the Georgia ICW. But, after many phone calls, we finally decided our best option was to take a five-mile detour, up a river, to Coffee Bluff Marina. Not only were they reasonably priced, but they were located closest to Interstate 95. Being close to 95 was important because our plan was to jump in the car with my good friend, Danielle, as she made her way up the coast from Saint Augustine. 

offee Bluff marina was beautiful and the staff was extremely friendly. However, the bugs were insane. The no-see-um bugs swarmed together in clouds so thick that we could definitely see them. After tying our boat off in the slip that night, we were dying from bug bites. But, before we even had time to think about what it’d be like to cook dinner in the midst of no-see-um clouds, we were invited to dinner. A local artist, Leigh Harris, lives close by the marina. I had noticed her artwork for sale in the marina’s office. The dock master told me she comes to the marina every night to watch the sunset. Being an artist myself, I was excited to meet her.  Honestly, I was really just excited for a chance to talk about something other then marinas and navigation.  Just as the dock master predicted, Leigh arrived at the marina just as the sun started to set. We quickly became friends. She invited us over to have dinner with her and her husband. They told us stories of college (they both graduated from Joel’s alma mater!), their bluegrass band, art and downtown Savannah. As Leigh dropped us off after dinner, Joel and I reflected on how sweet it was for them to have us over and how many amazing people we would’ve never met if we hadn’t taken this journey. Thanks for your kind hearts and hospitality Al and Leigh!
 

One of Leigh's beautiful paintings she gifted to us.


The next morning, we packed our bags, double checked the dock lines and caught a ride to 95. Danielle picked us up and together we drove, in seven hours, a distance that had taken us six weeks to travel.  

ut, being home for Christmas was well worth the efforts it took to get there. We had two weeks of sweet and irreplaceable time with family and friends. Joel and I got to know our new brother-in-law, Julian. We practiced our Spanish with him, watched the annual bullfights, and got a few lessons on Costa Rican cuisine. 


Of course we took advantage of a full size kitchen, doing all the traditional Christmas baking. We even got the espresso machine out of storage, and spoiled ourselves with delicious coffee. Then we put the two together and whipped up a Tiramisu cake for my middle sister, Rachel’s, birthday. 

Speaking of Rachel’s birthday, we enjoyed our first triple date between all three sisters and their husbands. Poor Rachel has to share her birthday with Christmas. But, we did our best to make it special with king crab, ice-skating and O’Conner’s.
 

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For our few weeks there, our house was always buzzing. Friends, dogs, babies; there was never a dull moment. Every night brought new entertainment. If there weren’t people over doing acro yoga, then Otis (my dad) was pulling a whole fish out of the freezer for dinner. And, our sweet baby niece is so wild just having her around never allows the opportunity for a dull moment. To say the least, we were refreshed and our hearts were full. We were even blessed with some swell and a few good waves while we were home. 

New Years was an equally refreshing time for us. If you didn't already know, Joel and I met in Hatteras, N.C the summer after our junior year in college.  We both came down for the summer to be a part of Three1six skatepark ministries. And, we fell in love with not only each other (hehe)  but the people, the place and the ministry. So, of course, anytime on the island is special to us. For New Years, we were invited to the island for a reunion  of  Three1six volunteers through the years.  Without a car, getting from Chesapeake to Hatteras presented a problem.  But, our sweet friend Hannah let us jump in the car with her from Virginia beach to Hatteras. Which was great. I'm beginning to believe you could travel anywhere just by catching a ride one step at a time. Maybe one day we'll travel across the country one ride at a time... Live out of a backpack... I don't know, just dreaming here.  Anyways, our time in Hatteras was full of beauty, friendship, laughter and good conversation. It was a perfect cap to such a memorable year in our lives.   
 

Until Next Time
Much Love,
-G