After four days underway, we docked at the Charleston Municipal Marina. Our slip was adjacent to an 85-foot motor yacht parked in front of a 172-foot sailing yacht.
The weather report called for a couple of days of rain and wind, and we determined we could not get to the vessel’s home in the Chesapeake, or even our fall-back destination of Norfolk. So with the best transportation available in Charleston, the crew jumped ship. I got a lift from Charleston to Reston, VA with my new friends and shipmates, Bob and Leigh, who got me to the Amtrak station in Alexandria. Unfortunately I was on the run and unable to look in on my DC pals.
Amtrak is a civilized way to travel. I arrived at the train station a half hour before the scheduled departure. There was no line; in fact, there were only four of us in the station.
I tapped the counter to get the attention of the only ticket seller, who fixed me up with a ticket to Boston and a connection to a bus to Portland. One look at my seafaring facial crevasses and he applied the 20 percent senior discount without asking.
By 15 minutes before departure, the waiting crowd swelled to eight. At 3 minutes before train time, three more passengers arrived.
I have two electrical outlets at my seat, WiFi, and a seat equal to a first class airline. The WiFi sign on page has a map showing the location of the train, which updates as we go.
I got to do 300 waterway miles, far short of the 800 I was hoping for. I acquired two new friends and got much better acquainted with two people I’d known before.
It felt good to rustle some navigational charts and strain to be the first to spot some navigational aid. I was reminded how lovely it is to fall asleep to the sounds of marinas, the waterfront, and shore birds.
And how nice to be heading home and to look forward to resuming my own voyage.