Updated: May 15
St Marys has a long boardwalk along the riverfront pier with many shops, bars, and restaurants. Business and tourism must be booming; there are renovations happening everywhere, the town’s public works is building a new boat ramp and dock that will let ships load and unload from the town center rather than about a mile away in the back of town where I arrived. If I ever return here on my kayak, this will be the new arrival point.
Last night I was overjoyed to eat a hot meal. I went to the Seagulls Pub on Osborne Street and ordered an appetizer of 16 fried mozzarella sticks, followed by a burger and fries, but even after all that I didn’t feel full. I decided it was best to stop there or my biological rhythm might be thrown into a sort of jet lag. These past two weeks trained me for a 6am appointment, do or die, as I don’t know how I would heed the call for number 2 off the kayak in the ocean.
On the pub wall over the spirits cabinet was a poster of a vintage mustang advertising for an event called the “Damn the Torpedoes Race.” The waitress told me that once a year there is a vintage car race from Athens Georgia to St Marys. “The rules are that your car has to be pre-1976, you must only use backroads, and you cannot get a speeding ticket,” she said. Only the race organizer knows the route at the start; the racers find out as they go through checkpoints and solve clues to point them where the next checkpoint will be. The finish is always at St Marys, and the town fills with a cast of showy characters and their vehicles in what was described to me as “the equivalent of the 70s Wacky Race Cartoon” but in real life. I wonder who got to play Dick Dastardly and his snickering dog Muttley ub the Mean Machine. Those who partake in the race officially join the The Car Tribe brotherhood and are christened with a Tribe name to be used when interacting with other members of the Tribe, which made me think it of the Water Tribe that organizes the Everglades Challenge kayak race from Tampa to Key Largo.
In the morning while washing my wetsuit pants in the shower I noticed a large hole developing on the lower back. The cursed British minimalist kayak seat chewed on it like the edge of a fine knife. I added some marine flex tape around the seat edge which hopefully will fix the problem, but I’ve also ordered new wetsuit pants on Amazon which I plan to pick up at the post office in Fargo Georgia. Hopefully it will be there when I arrive; I called the post office and told them to hold it for me. I don't want this mean seat to eat through my back.
I spent the day wandering around town. I came across a building called “The St Marys Submarine Museum,” which had an enormous torpedo large enough to fit a man inside, dozens of submarine models, and a deep-sea diving suit that reminded me of Jules Verne’s "Ten thousand Leagues Under the Sea.” The biggest portion of the museum, however, was the gift shop. Rent must be expensive on the waterfront.
I returned late in the afternoon to the Inn where the innkeeper told me I was in luck. “There’s another room for you tonight, but you have to move downstairs. It’s getting cleaned up for you right now,” she said.
Sea Kayak Florida Circumnavigation