Sunday, June 13, 2010

View from a Boat

I shot this picture yesterday with my iPhone during a leisurely cruise around the harbor in my boat. (Yes, I know it's crooked, but I had one hand on the steering wheel at the time.) Since I wrote the Ocean Mourning post, I thought I should show you the harbor that I love so much. My profile picture gives another view.

I love being out on the water and always have. I was born and raised an ocean girl. With the exception of the year we spent in France and my last two years of high school, I've always lived within easy reach of the Atlantic. At our family home in Ventnor, I fell asleep in summer cooled by ocean breezes floating through my window and could wake up, look out the window and see the endless expanse of blue sea. Countless days we spent at the beach, enjoying each other's company, reading books, and jumping, playing and swimming in the ocean.

It took several years of living in the Keys full time for me to take the plunge and buy a boat of my own. (Hmm, talking about plunges might be the wrong imagery to use when speaking of boats and water.) Now my 22' ProKat sits on its lift outside the house. I can lower it and cruise off at will. This freedom to leave land behind and head out to the ocean is empowering, uplifting and soothing all at the same time.

Empowering because, hot damn, I am captain of my own vessel. I've worked hard to reach the point where I am confident enough in my skills that I'll take out the boat my myself. Honestly, backing off the lift away from the sea wall and then returning are the most difficult things if I'm taking a simple cruise. I'm not always perfect, and keep testing myself with different amounts of wind and current, but so far I haven't hit anything. :-)

Lately, I've gone out for a few hours at a time to work on skills in other places. There's an empty marina not far where I can practice turning in narrower spaces, docking to either starboard or port when there's also a wall in front of me, and doing steering maneuvers in reverse. I want to be so familiar with these things that they are instinctive.

The weather was so beautiful yesterday with little wind, that after I practiced for awhile, I headed out of the harbor and ran out to Washer Woman light. As my boat skimmed across the surface, sheer joy filled me. I was flying -- literally and emotionally. At the light, the water was so clear that I could see fish swimming below. I drifted across for a bit, just enjoying the play of the fish, and the dance of sunlight on the gem-like water.

After that, I powered up and headed for Sombrero, picking up the channel markers for Sister Creek. There are a number of gorgeous homes along Sister Creek. Every time I cruise past, I see something that I didn't notice before. Frequently, I pass other vessels and trade waves with the people on board. I believe this practice is unique to boaters. Motorcycle riders do something similar, usually a fist salute down at their sides. It would be impossible, and unsafe, to wave at other passing motorists when driving, but out on the boat, it's an easy courtesy.

Turning for home, I cruised into home port. A successful docking (successful meaning I didn't ram anything and got my boat onto the lift.) makes me smile and engenders a physical reaction of pride. Seriously. Somethng swells inside and I think, "I did it. I did it."

This leads to my most important realization. A personal and world view from my boat. How many years did I go without a boat and, more importantly, without the realization that I could, indeed captain one and go enjoy the water that I love so much without relying on other people to take me?

How many other experiences that we yearn for do we put off or, worse, never do, because we don't think that we're capable?

I've come to believe that there are no limits except those that we place on ourselves, or allow others to place on us. If we don't know how, we can learn. I didn't just buy a boat and take off. I grew up going out with my parents on the family boats. I took a course a few years ago that focused on hands-on skills. Last fall, I took a Coast Guard Auxiliary course. When I'm out with friends, I watch, I ask questions, I learn. I practice.

Apply this technique to anything you want to do and you, too, will find yourself doing instead of only dreaming. Then see how the experience enhances your view.

1 comment:

Hope said...

You really are an awesome captain!