Captain Claiborne Hamilton is a born adventurer. A native Floridian, he is from the 50’s generation of surfers who claim the sport as a lifestyle and willing to travel the globe to catch the perfect wave. His other passion is sailing; his beloved Blue Moon, a 35’, more than well-equipped Erickson (for crying out loud, the boat has a wood-burning stove installed in the main cabin,) is his get-away vehicle for his yearly solo trips to the Bahamas. His voyages usually last around 6 weeks and are packed with mind-blowing stories of discovery, natural beauty, and even philosophy. I’ve heard many of these stories throughout the years, only because I manage to keep in touch with him between his off the grid antics (he is good at returning phone calls whenever he is in town, usually two -three weeks after I contact him).
Captain Hamilton is not a writer. He does not sweat, share, or document life: he lives it. I am privileged enough to have come across a rare find of documentation in his archives: his log from 4 years ago. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Although I gave up the redundancy of logs many years ago, I feel compelled to jot down just a few notes regarding sailing conditions and the highlights of this journey. Chris Carillo – a neighbor and surfer buddy who just finished his first year of law school – joined me for the passage.
The first leg from Jax Beach to St. Augy was like a jungle cruise. The Intracoastal teemed with life: first a manatee, then the alligators; bald eagles plus a giant nest, a flock of geese in flight, numerous thick schools of baitfish, and a porpoise family with babies for escort.
The small marsh creatures stroke up a harmonious chord at last light, prompting the captain (me) to remark, “My, the woods are full tonight. Let’s camp here and get a fresh start in the morning”. We pleasantly anchored at 9 p.m.