The Offshore Voyaging Reference Site

Messing Around In Boats

Yesterday I spent a couple of hours in our neighbour’s Boston Whaler sounding out the inlet our cabin is on and then carefully positioning a plastic bottle anchored by a rock as a marker for the barge that will drop our new mooring.

Getting to the Whaler required using a very small and tippy round bottom rowing dinghy. As I accomplished this task with all the grace of an elephant on roller-skates it struck me that part of my clumsiness might have something to do with it being the first time I had been on the water since leaving the Superyacht Vivid, which I had been guide/navigator on for a trip to Greenland, in August of last year. Ten months without getting afloat is a personal record for me since getting my first boat, a rowing dinghy, at age eight, and way too long.

After about two hours of happily swinging a lead line, dragging the marker around to get it positioned just right and covering myself in mud and salt water, Phyllis brought lunch to our wharf, which we ate in the Whaler, drifting around with the engine off. As we munched sandwiches and contemplated my handiwork, she commented “you look so happy and relaxed back on the water”. She is right. “There’s nothing . . . absolutely nothing . . . half so much worth doing as simply messing around in boats”*.

I shall try to remember that tomorrow when we return to Maine and the seemingly unending refit.

*Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows (River Rat to Mole)

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