Sit Right Back And Hear A Tale Of Our Pleasant Maiden Voyage


I am going to write this column in two ways, so that boat-lovers and landlubbers alike may appreciate it. I think you already know which side I am on, but I am going to try to write impartially, to challenge myself.

a) It was a beautiful day in Florida when, after blissfully putting the final touches on his new boat, my husband Mark was ready for splash-down. The sun was shining; the birds were chirping. It was 72 degrees; the water was clear as glass.

b) It was a beautiful day in Florida when, after months of back-breaking work, a heel injury that put him flat on his back for 12 weeks and who-knows-how-much money wasted, Mark and the boat that fulfilled his childhood dreams were finally ready for their maiden voyage — a voyage that would take us down the river, under the bridge and to a marina for an overnight $tay. The following morning, we would continue on for six or seven hours at — what? — three miles an hour until we reached a different marina with a lift where the boat would be pulled out and its hull checked for potential problem$.

a) A local man with whom Mark had been working, Chris, was to accompany us. As we traveled down the river, Chris would share his voluminous knowledge of its twists and turns and provide lively nautical banter.

b) Mark’s hired hand, Chri$, proved invaluable as he scurried around the deck, coiling ropes, hoisting this, tying down that. He chattered incessantly about how the channel markers had been washed away by the last hurricane and offered helpful tips like “Watch out!” and “Put your phone down, man!” and “Pay attention!” — things like that. The only time we didn’t hear Chris was when the boat’s siren went off, signaling loudly to everyone within a mile that we were about to take out someone’s dock. That happened twice.

a) Following a bit of a hesitant start, Mark got his “sea legs” and was able to peacefully navigate the river, bringing our sun-kissed bodies safely to our destination. The trip had been timed perfectly with the tides, allowing the boat to ease gracefully underneath the bridge and right up to the marina where he had reserved a $lip.

b) Sweating bullets, I watched in fear as our boat with the 8-foot depth of hull narrowly missed getting stuck on a sandbar until morning. (Chris: “Mark! That fishing boat off the starboard side is in two feet of water! Turn to port! Hurry!”) We barely made it to the bridge in time, able to slide under it only because we literally ducked.

a) Upon arrival, we decided to head back to our shady dock along the river, and enjoy this pleasant cruise once again, another day.

b) Upon speaking with the dockmaster, we learned that, despite charge$ having already been applied to Mark’s credit card, the marina had no record whatsoever of him reserving a spot and there were no slips available. We had to turn around and, as the tide continued to rise, made it back under the bridge with just two inches to spare.

And, even though that unfortunate circumstance now affords me the opportunity to repeat the voyage, I think I’m going to pass. The relaxation of the day is bad for my heart.