I spent countless hours cruising the Intracoastal Waterway growing up, learning to water ski and riding on the tube with my cousins near our beach house in North Carolina. I still love to ski, but can no longer pop out the water on one ski like a teenager. On a trip to my husband’s family home in Brunswick, Georgia a few weeks ago, I made my first attempt to coast on the water since my daughter arrived in 2010. I jumped into the Turtle River with more than a pang of nervousness, thinking of my father-in-law’s shark sighting off the pier last year. I relaxed after finding my balance behind the boat, dropping one ski and savoring the spray of cool water on the hot summer day.
After climbing back into the boat, we traced our route to its starting point to recover the abandoned ski. Minutes ticked by as my husband, father-in-law and I surveyed the river, unable to spot the wayward ski in the midst of choppy waters. Forty-five minutes passed before we conceded defeat, the ski likely whisked away towards the ocean in strong currents. I apologized for sending the ski into oblivion, but my father-in-law eased my guilt by replying, “It wouldn’t be a good story if we all just went skiing.”
During our fruitless search, we encountered a single dolphin jumping and diving in the channel. We often cross paths with dolphins while cruising the river, occasionally coaxing a friendly flipper to the side of the boat. This one remained at a safe distance from the whirring motor, surfacing several times before dissappearing towards the marsh. We headed home with only one ski, but experienced another moment of magic on the South Georgia coast.