As I write this, Spartan’s rigging is shaking and her transom is being spanked by waves. We are at a dock in Dowry Creek, North Carolina. It’s a great marina, but it has a wide southern exposure and the winds of 16kts are straight outta the South. The forecast is for winds of 7kts now going to 14 later in the day. Did the strong winds arrive early or will they get stronger still? Time will tell. Best to find out from here at the dock.
When we first arrived here, and I checked in with the marina, they said, “so, you are staying for three nights.” And I said, “No, that can’t be right.” Why, I thought, would I be staying here in what appears to be the very epicenter of nowhere for three whole nights? I consulted with Kathleen, who reads things far more thoroughly than I do. “Yes”, she said, “according to the schedule, we’re here for three nights”. “Hmmm” I said with a furrowed brow as I relinquished my credit card.
I felt a loss of agency at that moment, and a loss of momentum. But I shouldn’t have. We are the masters of this vessel and we come and go under no one’s schedule but our own. I knew very well that means I’m free to stay on a dock if I don’t like the looks of a day (like today). But what I failed to be mindful of is that the same applies to leaving early. We had excellent weather yesterday, a simple route laid out, and we knew the weather would be at the very least, uncomfortable today. I should have left yesterday.
Doing so would have required breaking from the schedule, telling our fellow travellers that they’d catch up to us at the next stop, and heading out by ourselves. It also would have been the exact right thing to do. So now, with each wave that slaps our transom, I kick myself for still being here.
Don’t get me wrong. This is a nice place. The marina has the best docks I’ve ever seen. The people that work here are wonderfully present, energetic and accomodating. They have fuel, propane, oil, food, a courtesy car, and a pump out system from the future. This place is slick. But the town of Dowry Creek doesn’t exist. There are no Ubers here. There’s almost no internet here. The nearest town, Belhaven, is 5 miles away, and it seems to be on the wane. Most storefronts are vacant. So, there’s not much to do, not much to see, and not much of a way to get around.
The thing about me is, it’s not the lack of things to see or do that I find troubling. It’s having no way to get around that raises my heart rate. Perhaps it’s from years of living in a major city with subways that stall, highways that back up and commuter trains that don’t show up. Whatever the reason, I get a lot of comfort from having the ability to move, even if there’s nowhere to go. Today I’m penned in by both the sea and the land.
Luckily, we are not alone. We are enjoying the company of the other rally folks who are all very delightful. Yesterday, we enjoyed a great bbq together, hosted by the marina. The day before, many of us spent a couple hours in a van, seeing the nearby villages and visiting a shipping container on a farm where a family makes rum. We were not permitted to sample the rum, so, it was a short tour.
As I write this, I hear my fellow travellers buzzing about and chatting at their docks and I feel like I’m missing some of the fun, so…gotta go!