We’ve been meandering our way north at what feels like an excruciatingly slow place, and currently we’re tied to a dock at Barefoot Landing Marina in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Which, if you check out the weather, is in line for a direct hit from tropical storm Ana, the first named storm of the year, developing 3 weeks ahead of official hurricane season. We’ve been monitoring Ana’s progress since the storm spun up over Cuba several days ago and we made the decision to wait out the bad weather in civilization, rather than anchored in some backwater creek off the ICW. Barefoot Landing has 100 shops and 14 restaurants within a stone’s throw of our berth, and plenty of things to do as long as we don’t mind outdoor entertainment in the pouring rain.
In the track projection above, AVATAR is the blue dot! We’re not expecting anything excessively damaging or scary from this weather system, but the projections of wind gusts up to 60mph and rainfall measuring several inches, threatening local flooding, are enough to convince us to hole up for the duration. To add to our nerves, as the storm gets closer to the coast the forecasters have been upping their estimates of potential wind speed.
For the past six weeks we’ve been making our way through the low country of northern Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, enjoying bucolic scenery consisting of vast expanses of coastal salt marshes or wooded areas of tall pines and live oaks draped with Spanish moss. White egrets, great blue herons and ospreys abound. Black headed laughing gulls follow in our wake. An occasional bald eagle occupies the highest branch on the tallest tree. Surprisingly to us, small groups of bottlenose dolphins have been languidly cruising in every waterway, marina, and anchorage we’ve frequented.
Yesterday we spotted a river otter in the beautiful Waccamaw River (the first freshwater stretch we’ve hit). The southern cities en route, including Fernandina Beach FL, Savannah GA, and Charleston SC, are
historical and beautifully preserved, with buildings and landmarks dating to pre-Revolutionary War days. It was a pleasure to stroll through the neighborhoods along the shady sidewalks and admire the gracious old homes.
We’ve had very few sunny days however – earlier in April we had nearly two weeks straight of chilly grey, overcast, gloomy wet weather, interspersed with drenching downpours. We did luck out and enjoyed a clear night for the total lunar eclipse on April 4 which I watched from the dock, dressed in my nightgown, as the blood moon set over an industrial neighborhood near the marina in the very wee hours of the morning.
The sun finally came out just as we took a brief trip back to Tucson (where the weather was glorious and the wildflowers were in full bloom) so that Mike could attend a business meeting and I could catch up on six weeks worth of backlogged mail. Then off to New York City for the Artists’ Reception (video & photo gallery here) for a new exhibition at Agora Gallery, where several of my works were on display. The folks at the gallery in New York were thrilled with their weather – 65º, overcast and breezy, but the best they had seen after an abysmal and unrelenting winter. We went walking in Central Park and it was in full bloom with flowers everywhere, and the city streets were lined with flowering fruit trees. I didn’t have my camera with me so I had fun taking panoramas with my iPhone and turning them into art projects!
Then back to AVATAR in Charleston, SC, to resume our trek northwards. We finally got to enjoy 3 or 4 days of true spring weather, balmy and sunny, before the grey skies caught up with us again. The northern migration is in full swing now, with a parade of boats all heading in the same direction. We are getting familiar with the names of several of the boats that we pass, or who pass us, in the narrow waterway. Winding through the shallow salt marshes they can sometimes be mistaken for land yachts!
SLIDESHOW – Click any image below to open a full screen slideshow: