A lot of great stuff happens when you’re on the water. It’s usually the things that you don’t plan which end up being the best memories.
Like the time when I was shark fishing as a kid with my cousins, my uncle Ron, and my dad. My dad had a brand new pole. At one point he went down below to get some sandwiches and Uncle Ron began shouting, “Randy you’ve got a fish on your line!” Within seconds the pole was overboard. After lunch, Uncle Ron hooked onto to a sand shark and yelled, “Randy I’ve got something.” As it came into sight my dad said, “Ron! He’s got my pole!” The fish got away. But we got the pole back.
Or the times on our boat, the Tom Sawyer when people on other boats are waving to me and I’m smiling and waving back, and then I realize they’re pointing to the swim ladder that is still in the water. Or the time I ran out of gas and had to crawl back to port on one engine, or when we got stuck in the fog and had to sleep on the boat not knowing where we were, and on and on and on. Boating and stories go hand in hand.
Another great part of boating is hearing friends’ stories. I received a picture from a client with his cool fly fishing boat, custom built for the rivers out West. I also received some cool pictures from a reader building his own boat to fish the backwater flats of Florida. And another client emailed me about the time they lost their rudder sailing on Lake Michigan.
There is no owner’s manual for learning the ways of the water. It can get messy out there. It’s not always easy. It’s boating, in the same way fishing’s not called catching. But if you stick with it, you wake up one day and realize: I’m sailing!
Do you remember my childhood friend who threw the anchor and the line overboard?
Well, he’s a licensed captain now and can handle just about anything that floats. And when he’s not running one of those big ferries between Martha’s Vineyard and the mainland, he flies airplanes. Every time he spots my parents on their boat, he walks out of the pilot house, gives a knowing wave and a head-nod, and then gets back to his craft.