We managed to move Messenger through 22 locks and 100 miles to Sylvan Beach, a resort community on the eastern shore of Oneida Lake by last Thursday and since then, we've just sat. The locks remain closed just past Lock 23 now, so there's still a logjam of cruisers sitting waiting to get home.
We were fortunate that we have friends from home, Stew Patterson and Alistair Robertson to join us today so I could drive home with Reg and Elizabeth as Reg has an orthodontist appointment tomorrow and Thursday (to replace a retainer he lost in Annapolis some weeks ago) and then his sailing instructor course next weekend.
Aidan opted to stay with the crew to help bring Messenger home. So I had to say goodbye to Scott and Aidan along with some of our cruising friends today. My throat had such a lump I could hardly swallow. The first hour I drove it was hard to see for the tears. In lots of ways, it's the end of the trip for us.
It was a good day. I started off making an eight-block dash for public washrooms (we're trying to conserve on space in the holding tank until we get to marina for a pumpout if you must know). Then I grabbed a coffee at the local deli and took a walk alone along the sodden beach while the seagulls circled the overcast sky. It was hot today. I got back to the boat and started making a big breakfast this morning, with everyone else squabbling over who's doing what part of the cleanup.
I loaded up some bags with bedding and one last load for Scott and Aidan and headed to the Beachy Clean Laundromat, really not up to snuff as far as I'm concerned. If it's one thing I know now, it's what makes a good laundromat. That done, I headed back in the sweltering humidity to make up beds, unload the boat and try to tell Scott where all the food is stashed in lockers.
We piled the little Dodge with garbage bags of clothes and stuff from the boat. It's hard to believe the boat is hardly emptied and it's also hard to believe Elizabeth owned that many clothes on the boat!!!
The crammed car raised the eyebrows of the lovely lady at the Canadian customs officials but when I mentioned I had just come from a boat full of crap, she waved us away.
After the tears subsided, Reg, Elizabeth and I talked about the families and people we met, the boats we saw and the beautiful, perfect weather in the Bahamas.
What I'll remember most however are the times we collapsed in laughter at some ridiculous thing we were doing: riding for a mile in our tiny dinghy getting soaking wet at Long Island; dashing around boats in the race at the Georgetown Regatta; trying to figure out what to do with Elizabeth's giant conch at Green Turtle Cay. The memories are deep and wide, just like the ocean that carried us there and back.