Wednesday, April 5, 2017

It's a Game We Play: The Boating Game

Despite yesterday's blog about a commercial shipping channel, most of our days on the inland waterway are a trial and error of zigzagging back and forth between sandbars, seeking water deep enough to avoid running aground--especially among the shifting sands behind the barrier islands of North Carolina (now heavily developed with McMansions and condos--though, as much as that offends me, it may not be relevant to channel depth).
All the while dodging crab pots, small fishing boats, and dredges; checking charts; periodically dabbing on more sunblock; taking jackets on and off; scratching the persistent itch of no-see-um bites; and intermittently expelling gnats that fly up your nose. When I'm off the helm, I dry out cushions and towels that soak up salt and humidity like a thirsty sponge, scrub the floor, and other assorted chores.
Sound like fun? Unh-uh. Yet the days are ultra relaxing compared with the pressures of being home. Those demands--house, car, utility and appliance breakdowns, bills, volunteer work, organizations, even friends--gently peel away like the layers of an onion. Letting go, feeling time slow down, taking the channel at low speeds (the best you can achieve in a 30-foot O'Day), and sacrificing long hours to internet-free relaxation and meditation. Sometimes I read a book; just finished Isabel Allende's "Daughter of Fortune." Started "Our Story," about the 2012 Quecreek mine rescue.

Many days, for long stretches of those shallow channels, the view is serene. Some might even say boring. Marsh grass, an occasiinal sea bird, a pair of dolphins.
We retire shortly after sunset and rise at dawn, taking advantage of daylight to clock miles.
Once in a while I remember to exercise (boat-sized calisthenics) and eat (lunch is peanut butter and crackers; on a gourmet day, grilled cheese with olives on the side; dinner ranges from pasta to stir-fries).

The salt air clears the cobwebs in my mind, along with my sinuses, skin, and other ailments. Aboard the boat, I stay a lot healthier than at home.
It's all part of The Boating Game. Ready your vessel, select your mate, and come aboard for an unfolding adventure.

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