Quinby, VA – May 29, 2013
I sat on a dock in Elizabeth City talking to boat captains about the route north. Part of me wanted to see the Chesapeake Bay, then cut over on the C&D Canal to the Delaware. It looked easier and no one knew much about the coastal route on the outside along the barrier islands. Then I found one man who’d been there.
“I sailed it a long time ago in a little Hobie Cat,” he said. “It’s remote, if that’s what you’re looking for.”
I never know what people mean by remote. Some people mean a city park or a beach without showers. Others a town where you can’t order fast food or anywhere down a dirt road.
After paddling next to a highway in the Dismal Swamp, though the city of Norfolk, and past five aircraft carriers, I wanted my kind of remote, the kind where civilization is an afterthought, where you feel all alone, where man is only a visitor.
I turned to the outside and hoped the man on the dock in Elizabeth City was right. An hour after sunset I knew he was. The truth is always there in the night sky when you look up, when you try to count the stars, when there are enough to devour the constellations.