A perfect weather window opened, and we decided to go offshore from Fernandina Beach, Florida to Charleston, South Carolina
on an overnight passage.
The beginning and the end of our voyage were both anchored by Civil War–era forts. As we exited St. Marys River on the border of Florida and Georgia, we passed Fort Clinch, its cannons aimed outward to prevent invasion by sea. And historic Fort Sumter, where the first shots of the “War of Northern Aggression” were fired on April 12, 1861, welcomed
us to Charleston harbor with its flags flying.
In between, just past Fort Clinch, we looked back and saw that we were being pursued by a far more technologically advanced weapons system. A colossal Trident nuclear submarine from Kings Bay Naval Base was gaining on us rapidly.
A Coast Guard inflatable zoomed up behind us to warn us to stay to the side of the channel. Two “coasties” manned machine guns on the bow and stern of the inflatable, never taking their hands off the triggers or their eyes off us. Their inflatable came within a few feet of us, the submarine within a few boat-lengths.