I live near the California Channel Islands. They are 8 beautiful islands, five of which make of Channel Islands National Park. From Channel Islands Harbor and Ventura Harbor, there are cruises that go out to various islands. It is only 10 nautical miles (approximately 11.5 standard miles) from the harbor to Anacapa, so you can always see the silhouette of the island. On a clear day, you can even see it from the hills above Simi Valley. Even on a clear day, however, there is a point where both the mainland and Anacapa appear to be merely shadows.
To me this is reminiscent of of the Israelites crossing the red sea and wandering in the desert. When we were wandering in the desert we knew where we came from, and we could only see shadows of where we were going. When I go to Anacapa, the seas are usually pretty calm, but the last time I went, the seas were rougher. I wasn’t too scared, but I worried that it would get worse. I knew how I would get home. I knew I would be safe and I was only traveling 10 nautical miles. For the Israelites wandering in the desert, they initially knew that G-D was with them, but as their journey stretched on, it became more frightening and they become less sure of Hashem’s presence. I could begin to see how they worried about their safety and their future.
A 3 or even 10 hour trip is nothing compared to 40 years, but even a few hours can seem like forever in rough seas or difficult terrain, especially when you don’t know what to expect from indigenous people or native wildlife.
Even arriving at Anacapa was analogous of the Israelites finally reaching the Promised Land, but neither Anacapanor Israel were the end, but just the beginning of a great journey.