Friday, August 2, 2013

The 'Romance' of Life Afloat

This is an old editorial column I wrote several years ago, and I was just motivated to re-post it because of a comment from another live-aboard on Facebook. . .

“The Romance of Water”

Picture this: The water is flat calm; the sun, though about to disappear behind some nearby cliffs, is still brilliant and hot. There's not a sound for miles. Our boat, with its generally reliable engine, is 'dead in the water.' We've radio'ed for help, and its on the way. I'm sitting out on the bow watching for our rescuers to round the point to tow us in. Michael appears beside me ... with two identical bowls of key lime pie yogurt sprinkled with a bit of coconut. Smiling, we indulge ourselves in our dessert while we watch the sun set behind those hills. 

Now picture this: We are awakened in the dead of night with the sound of a howling wind, and the strange sensation that we are moving. But we shouldn't be - we were securely anchored in a secluded and protective cove when we went to sleep. With groggy brains and foggy eyes, we peer out through the tiny windows in the aft cabin in an attempt to determine what the problem is. There is blackness all around, and there shouldn't be - there were lights on properties on the nearby shore when we went to sleep. It turns out that we are adrift in the channel outside the cove, and we have to scramble to start the engine, pluck our way back into the anchorage, and re-set our anchor - in a driving rain at 2 a.m. 

Picture this: We've been out for an evening jaunt around the anchorage in our inflatable with our guests - but it's starting to get dark now. Just as Michael is about to turn up the throttle on the Merc to get us back to the Wind Walker, our guests point behind us .... to the full harvest moon coming up over the Island on the other side of the channel. As we cut the engine entirely and begin to drift into the darkness, our guests now point in the opposite direction - where an amazing sunset sits like an autumn-colored blanket across the distant hills. No words are spoken by any of us for several minutes, while the scene around us takes our breath away. 

Now picture this: We are awakened in the dead of night with the sound of a howling wind, and the strange sensation of water dripping onto our heads. Although we are securely tied up in a marina this time, something is terribly wrong. Turns out there's yet another leak in the windows of our old wooden boat, and we need to roust ourselves out of our cozy bed, and tape up plastic baggies in a spot or two to temporarily stop the Chinese water torture one more time. "All in a day's work" when one lives afloat. 

What do all these scenarios have in common? They're all 'part of the parcel' when you live aboard. And we wouldn't trade ANY of them for a day of life back on land - and that, by definition, is the 'romance' of life afloat!