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We anchored near St. Simons Island.  The weather was absolutely perfect, warm and sunny during the day and cool at night.  A lot of water traffic passed, boats going south for the winter; otherwise, it I was off-season.  An influx of people appeared on the island to watch the launch at Kennedy Space Center, but they left quickly.  All we could really see was the exhaust of the rocket, but you could follow it up and then watch it arch across the sky and out of sight.

St. Simons is a small island on the southeast coast of Georgia.  It has a lot of history, going back to 1736 when General Oglethorpe built Fort Frederica to defend against the Spanish.  Later, there were cotton plantations then the Civil War.  I read New Moon Rising by Eugenia Price, a historical novel.  It was much more interesting since I had been to most of the places described in the story.  Today, there are many stores and services.  A village near the water has quaint shops, a lighthouse, and a pier where people fish, catch crabs, and just hang out to socialize.  Sea Island is an exclusive area where multi-million dollar homes are located.  The Cloister is also here, starting at $300 a night for a basic room. Bob learned a lot about the island on his own while Joan was in Chattanooga, but we both learned a lot from Annette and Charles who have been visiting the island for years and own property here.  We appreciate their friend Iveta sending them our messages.

I have met so many nice people who offer to feed me, loan me a car, let me sleep and shower in their homes, and more, none of which I need, but it's nice to know it's available and that people are so caring and generous.

Viking Rose anchored near St. Simons Island

While Joan was in Chattanooga, Bob wrote:  I have been having a ball, even by myself.  I get up and run the engine to charge the batteries so I will have power for refrigeration, lights, TV, video if it rains, and stereo, all the things that run on 110 ac or 12 volt dc.  I make a list, and constantly add to it, things that need to be done, repairs, maintenance, changes etc.  I do a few each day. Some days I go ashore in the morning and work in the afternoon, other days vice versa.  I don't overwork myself but accomplish a little each day.  If I'm in the mood for shrimp, when it's low tide, I take my casting net  and catch a few pounds.  A cage trap put out for crabs has to be checked every few days.  Put chicken necks and backs in the trap and the crabs go in to eat and can't get out.  Generally, a trap produces a five gallon bucket full.  I sit on the aft deck and boil a large pot of salt water on the propane grill to cook them.  After the first bunch boils, I eat and pick the meat while the next bunch cooks.  It takes about an hour and a half to cook them all.  I drink wine and eat as much as I want then pick enough crab meat to make a couple of crab cakes or crab stew the next day or so.  As I eat and pick, I just throw the shells overboard.  I found cracking the claws with water pump pliers makes less of a mess than the traditional hammering done in the crab shack restaurants.  When I'm done, I hose down myself and the deck and wash out the pot.  By that time, I'm full and feeling no pain.  The shrimp are easier.  I boil them or cook them in garlic and butter or, my favorite, make hot Buffalo shrimp.  Like hot wings, I lightly bread and saute them in hot sauce.  Yummm, so good!   

Everything is within biking distance of the marina where I dinghy ashore.  I ride to the village, sit at the outside tables with the locals, and drink coffee.  I ride my bike for miles down the packed sand on the beach.  I talk with everyone.  I've found if you talk first, everyone will talk with you, the young and the old.  The weather has been hot enough that the beaches are full of sunbathers.  The water temperature is still quite comfortable to swim in the surf.  I spend half a day before returning to the boat.  Each day, I stop and buy a few groceries, just enough to fill my knapsack.

Shrimp boat with nets poised to lower and go for shrimp
  Every morning, as these boats would head out at 3:00 a.m. for a day in the Atlantic, they would rock us awake.

Joan resumes:  Sounds like paradise, doesn't it?  This morning, Bob went out and checked the crab trap.  He found about 30 crabs which he boiled and picked for dinner.  He also caught about 50 shrimp.  I had to learn to pinch the heads off the live shrimp while they looked me in the eye.  YUK!  However, I do enjoy eating them.  We got a cookbook, Coastal Cookery, at a bookstore in downtown Brunswick.  The two little old ladies who waited on us said their grandmothers were in it.  The handwritten text was first published in 1937 and has recipes for crab, shrimp, and other local dishews.

A Canadian troupe traveling on a canal or barge type boat docked in downtown Brunswick.  We attended their outdoor theatrical production one evening on the waterfront.  Lights were suspended from the mast and rigging draped from which actors performed acrobatics.  We sat outside on bleachers on the dock.  The story was about a whale trapped in a pond in Newfoundland and how the natives viewed the whale (money or sport) versus how an outsider viewed it (saving and studying it).  There were eighteen  performers who lived and traveled on the boat.  All very interesting and unusual.

We took a three-hour ocean kayaking tour along the ocean side of the island and up a creek.  We saw birds and other marine life but no alligators.  Ocean kayaks are more stable than river kayaks.  At low tide, the marsh grasses towered nine feet over our heads.

That evening we were treated to an exquisite gourmet dinner.  Rebel from Texas hosted the affair for four boats and was able to seat all eight of us at their table.  Taught by Bob, the men had netted shrimp and cleaned crab for the evening's meal.  Appetizers, seafood bisque, crab cakes, homemade mango sorbet (Mickey had an electric ice cream maker onboard!), shrimp creole, cake, Roquefort and port.  A memorable evening!!

Rebel had been cruising for quite a while.  Shopping with Mickey gave me several ideas, one of which was tote bags with strong handles made of denim or canvas.  They hold a lot of groceries or supplies and are much easier to carry than numerous plastic grocery bags whose handles sometimes break.

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