Friday, March 09, 2012

Virgin Cruising

Marathon, Florida
24 42.40 081 N 05.68 W

Writing yesterday about our 7th anniversary makes me retrospective.  I remember how different, fresh and exciting everything seemed in 2005, our first year.

Of course we didn't know much about cruising our first year.  We made some colossal mistakes, all documented in this archives of this blog.  Luckily, none of them caused serious injury to us or the boat, nor did they discourage us from learning.  Just off the top of my head, here's some of our first year mistakes.
  • Our very first time sailing on Tarwathie, we hit a channel marker and dug a gouge in the hull that's still visible.
  • We ran aground twice in 2 minutes.
  • We got caught in a fierce lightning storm off Jacksonville, anchored offshore in 80 feet of water (big mistake) and broke the anchor roller.
  • At the Charleston City Dock I let the boat get away from me while adjusting lines and did $750 damage to their docks that I had to pay for.
  • We missed North Carolina entirely and naively sailed around Cape Hatteras instead.
  • We departed Norfolk for New York on the outside without understanding the weather.
  • We didn't believe the crazy buoys at the entrance to Jackson Creek, Deltaville, VA.  
  • I dropped my laptop overboard.
  • We departed Beaufort NC on the way south, again unaware of approaching weather and unaware of Frying Pan Shoals until we were too far out to turn back.
  • We were so late in the year heading south that we froze from the cold weather.  We didn't find warm until Hollywood FL on New Year's eve.
  • We missed Vero Beach, skipping it on the way north, and stopping overnight only on Christmas Day on the way south.

 [Yeah yeah I know, just can all those sexual interpretations of the following paragraph.] On the other hand, we were awed and amazed at all the good things we saw for the first time.   Nothing can compare than exploration and discovery of new places. Repeat performances are never he same.
  • The Indian River in Florida
  • The Chesapeake Bay for the first time.
  • The Hudson River, the Erie Canal, the Champlain Canal, and Lake Champlain in summer.
  • The anchorage behind the Statue of Liberty
  • Norfolk and the battleship Wisconsin. 
  • The Dismal Swamp Canal
  • Elizabeth City, NC and the Rose Buddies
  • Oriental, NC
  • Southport, NC
  • Wilmington, NC and the battleship NC
  • Fernandina Beach, Saint Augustine, Daytona, Titusville, Cocoa, Melborne
  • Mosquito Lagoon, Peck's Lake, Lake Worth, Miami, Key Biscayne, and Marathon. 
Of course now we are more experienced.  With experience comes caution, a bit of wisdom, and greater safety.  On the other hand, we're somewhat jaded.  We marvel less at places now familiar, and we skip perfectly nice places, such as the entire Chesapeake, to gain faster passages.  We re-visit our A list of favorite places, and neglect the B, and C ones.

Our first year, we were constantly awed by experienced cruisers, and we would pepper them with questions.  Now, it is we who get peppered more often.  That has its own charm but being the virgin is most fun.

Yet, the East Coast and the ICW are vast places.  We could spend a lifetime going up and down, still discovering new places that we missed before.  That way we still get to spend a few days every year being virgin cruisers once again.

I was thinking a lot about Rio Dulce, Guatamala next year.  It sounds like a great place to expand our horizons and spend a summer.  But, Libby overheard a story about some cruisers getting robbed and shot near that river.  She mentions it every time Rio Dulce comes up.  That's her indirect way of saying, she doesn't like the idea at all, so I'm going to forget it.   In a very real sense, I'm the Captain but she's the Admiral.  I do the tactics, but she does the strategy maybe 3/4 of the time.

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