Author: Isabella Peadon
February 25th, 2023
What better way to spend a week of COVID quarantine quiet than on a sailboat on the sound? As a Wrightsville Beach resident with five roommates, the news of a positive COVID test was understandably disheartening; I’d have to leave my cozy college home and retreat to a place that would limit my contact with humans for a while. But, after a short bout of self-pity and a few phone calls, the tides began to turn. A close friend of mine, Phoebe, the ‘director of sails’ at Wrightsville Performance Sailing, had also tested positive and was making the most of her quarantine by occupying Zoe; a Jeanneau 35 sailboat docked at Soundside. And the good news? There was room for one more.
I packed up a bag and cooler full of groceries and relocated my life ten accesses to the south, right across the street from the Blockade Runner Beach Resort. Zoe was a shiny, welcoming lodge for a week-long escape from reality. With two cabins, a living space, a quaint little kitchen equipped with a stove and an oven, and a working bathroom and shower, we had everything we needed.
I came to learn that life on a sailboat brings you back to the basics. Mornings consisted of 6:30AM sunrise coffee and reading. Afternoons were filled with sunset chats and the aroma of roasted vegetables. The days were spent soaking up sunshine on the deck and wondering how I would ever return to normal life. I watched my fellow locals kayak the sound at the crack of dawn, and the UNCW sailing team execute what I can only describe as majestic sailing drills while the orange sun sunk below the horizon line. I listened to the seagulls sing to one another, and schools of fish produce tiny, patterns of ripples in the water as they traveled past the bow of the boat. I listened to music and danced around the boat’s saloon like an ocean gypsy with no real-life responsibilities. All my worries had seemingly disappeared, and my fast-paced college life full of stressors and to-do lists felt worlds away from me.
Wrightsville Beach came to feel like a slice of the Caribbean located right here on the east coast of North Carolina. While my house was only a ten-minute walk to the North, I felt completely removed from the hustle and bustle of normalcy. When I woke up on the fifth and final day of isolation, I was overtaken by a surge of sadness. I didn’t want to leave my little sailboat escape behind. This outing, however, had left me with a sense of renewal. When you adjust the lens of your camera, your photos take on a completely new look. That’s what this little COVID vacation felt like to me. A readjustment that I could take into the world with me, and, the good news is, even after I was reacclimated to my pre-COVID life, my secret slice of paradise would only be a few accesses away.