So why don’t we write more often? After all, the success of a blog – I’ve been told – is determined largely by the output of the writer. Blog advisors (yeah, that’s a thing) will tell you that a blog should be posting new content every day. Every. Single. Day.
Which probably has something to do with the Sesame Street effect. If you’re not familiar with it, it seems that a criticism sometimes leveled at the long-running children’s program “Sesame Street” was that its format of short (30 to 60 second) skits and videos (which were designed to engage and hold the childs attention most effectively) actually produced an entire generation of adults with the attention span of a Cocker Spanial.
In the blog world, that means if you don’t publish every day, your readers forget you exist and wander off to something more interesting, like the American election circus or a MacDonalds commercial. So if you, gentle reader, feel the need to do something more scintillating, like eating a Big Mac, I can hardly blame you: It’s Big Bird’s fault.
So why don’t we write every day, like a good blogger should?
Because we’re tired. We’ve spent the last four days driving our home along a sometimes narrow, occasionally confusing and not infrequently shallow canal that is never the same two days in a row. Sand and mud move and flow, marks are moved, barges sweep the banks, and houses and docks are added every day. 8 hours of that and you’re ready for a stiff drink and a long sleep, let me tell you.
So we end up going to sleep about 8:30pm, wake around 6:00am, get underway by 8am, and once the anchor is down, it’s supper, secure the boat for the night and repeat.
But oh, that 8 hours of driving…
I assumed – when we were planning this trip – that the actual travel days on the ICW (or “The Ditch”, as it’s called out here) would be basically boring. Follow the markers, keep the red ones on the right and the green ones on the left, and try to stay awake. I was wrong.
First off, I only have one eye working still. Since we’re moving south, the morning sun is off my left side, which is often pretty blinding, what with the reflection off the water and all. Without. Right eye to fill in, I find that it’s sometimes a it of a challenge to see where we’re going. That’s tiring.
Second, the markers are sometimes confusing, and rarely they are actually wrong. that’s due to something called “Shoaling”. Shoaling is the movement of mud and sand in the channel, when that loose material from, say, a hurricane, decides to build up right where last week there was a clear channel. Yes, the Coast Guard is out here putting things back to rights, but that takes time, and the shoals change every day. It can be pretty tense working your way through some of those changeable areas, and more than once we’ve heard the depth alarm go off, requiring a mad application of reverse and much hissing of “where’d the water go?!” before things are resolved. At the Shallotte Inlet in North Carolina (mile 330) we actually had to ignore the markers and navigate using advice we received from friends, plus an image Nicki located on the Army Corp of Engineer’s website of the depths – and we still came within 6 inches of grounding before we felt our way through. Whew!
No wonder I’m not sleeping so well some nights. I lie awake replaying the day’s lessons and trying to plan tomorrow’s route…
Oh, and technology? Not 100% That’s a picture of the screen on our chart plotter – a nifty little device that projects the GPS position of our boat onto a digital chart. Hmm… we seem to be sailing over dry land… And at over 6 mph! This is why you watch the marks first, not the screen.
And finally there’s the trash. Trees, sticks, floating garbage, sunken boats… They’re all out there, and they’re not fun to meet up-close and personal. We’re constantly looking for such things, in addition to other boats, barges and markers, and the combined effect is that we get to the end of a day exhausted and ready for a nice rum beverage, a warm meal, and an early bedtime.
So that’s why we don’t write every day. We’re loving the journey, the experience and the adventure. But sometimes, we just don’t have the energy to get creative at the keyboard. We hope you understand.
But you can always watch the election news if you need more stimulation!