Conquering the Sounds

As most of you have figured out by now, this isn’t a travelogue. It’s a personal journey and will one day be a book called “Confessions of a White-Knuckle Cruising Spouse.”

I thought of the title eight years ago while crossing St. Andrew Sound in a small craft advisory. The sound is shallow, way out to the mouth of the Atlantic. While you can feel your way straight across from the Cumberland River to Jekyll Island at high tide, most mariners prefer the safe, albeit bumpy, route. Go out to the sea buoys and round them.

We passed Cumberland Island on a beautiful day, with only a few whitecaps showing. We even saw one of the wild horses on the Preserve, a roan that looked very frisky through the binoculars.

But the Sound was looming, and I could see the final red triangular day mark that told me we would be leaving the river and heading east into the sea.

Anxiety started to build and I gulped down water. Then I poked around the cupboards in the galley. Then I hesitantly asked Mark if I needed to find the buoys for him. “No,” he said, remembering my panic last time. “He could find them.”

As my stomach started to churn, I knew I had to do something. Excusing myself, I went back to the galley and unwrapped the biggest chocolate bar I could find. It had lime coconut and it was pure sugar. I think it was in my Christmas stocking.

I wadded it into my mouth, chewed as fast as I could, then calmly went back up to the bridge…a sugar high about to engulf me in a burst of energy followed by peace and drowsiness. Yup. that’s what chocolate does for me. Better than pills.

We rounded the buoy without incident, without jarring my teeth loose, without me screaming that we were going to die because we couldn’t see the darn things in the frothy sea. We motored along Jekyll Island and into the cut that leads us to Brunswick.

Sopelo Sound a few days later caught me off guard. There was a heavy chop and a relentless wind that rattled the dishes and left the kayak hanging over the side by its strap. Did I panic? No. I ate more chocolate.

Chocolate…wherever, whenever, and whoever invented it…thank you.

3 thoughts on “Conquering the Sounds”

  1. Glad you have a good supply of chocolate! I look forward to your posts. Almost feels like I’m there with you…..hope the bugs lighten up.

  2. I have a leftover bag of Easter chocolate. I will bring it to you when we see you in Charleston. Hang in there.


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