On the morning we left Brighton, before the fog rolled in and swallowed the golden sunlight, there were children at a basketball camp on the concrete court and some teenagers were setting up soccer - no, football - goals by the sand volleyball court. On the rocky shore some young adults laughed and shouted, shaking brown glass bottles at each other and at the horizon.

“I wonder if they are just getting an early start or if they were up all night drinking,” McCrae mused.

“Who knows?” I replied. “But while I’m here I might as well put my toes in the English Channel.” I slipped off my shoes at the point where rocks gave way to sand, a sharp delineation between what is polished and what is pulverized.

The view of Brighton's coast from the hotel dining table during brunch

The water was cold, but I had expected as much. Unlike the coast of North Carolina which is fed by the Gulf Stream circulating north, this English Channel water has a frigid source - the North Atlantic - pushed along Arctic waters and southwards. After a few minutes in the water snapping images of rocks and seaweed and mollusks my toes went numb and I hopped and jigged back up the sun-warmed stones, seeking out the least jagged edges as I picked my way up the shore to where the sailboats were stored.

As much as we may love to sail, to chase that horizon, we are always washed back to shore at some point.

We all return to our moorings eventually. Maybe we take roundabout ways, looping and detouring and just passing through. As much as we may love to sail, to chase that horizon, we are always washed back to shore at some point. London was next for our adventure, and already the time to return to my moorings seemed to loom bittersweetly on the not-so-distant horizon.

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