I woke up on a couch aboard the Blewgrass. Tom, Margie, Tony, and Stephanie traveled the loop from Kentucky and were only a week ahead of me in North Carolina. They had an extra couch and offered it last night as the clouds turned dark and the temperature dropped away. Boats are tight quarters for four, tighter for five, but they never hesitated.
“Come on in,” they said and I did, grateful for a warm, safe space where I didn’t have to worry.
Outside, the wind ripped from the west, pushing water through the channel like it was a river. People emerged from their cabins after sunrise, walking from boat to boat, shaking their heads, talking the weather, predicting the wind, consulting, trying to find some good news. I packed my kayak and stared from the water to my map and back, looking for some way to sneak forward.
None of us left, instead we marched up to the second story of the Anchor Inn, where Roy Eaton broadcasts every summer morning at 9 am on marine channel 71.
He reports the weather, sports scores, news headlines, transmits messages from far and wide, keeps tabs on boats coming and going, and answers questions any one might have in the pocket of the world around Little Current. Boats call in to report shooting stars and bald eagles. They say hello to friends they haven’t seen since last summer. They thank each other for good company and make plans to meet at a particular anchor. It can be as benign as relaying a dinner invitation from one boat to another or as important as finding someone in an emergency.
It has all the beauty of small town radio, polished enough to shine without losing its heart, beloved by those who it serves and unknown to the rest, live for an hour each morning from a room on the second story of the Anchor Inn.
We watched and listened and heard only bad news from the wind. By noon, the docks in Little Current begun filling with boats coming in for safe harbor. They tied up, one after another and no one left. We only watched the water slide by as we waited for morning.
The day ended right where it started, on a couch aboard the Blewgrass, where I felt safe and warm and didn’t have to worry.