For 39 years, I have loved the ocean more than any other place I have known. It feeds my soul and spiritually connects me to the world. Suffice it to say, its a place I like to be.
I was very lucky to be able to know the ocean at a young age. I believe it is during this time my love for the sea took hold. Summer vacations were spent at my Grandparents house in Ft Lauderdale, FL. There, we would be on the water from morning to night. Their house was on a canal in the Las Olas islands, minutes from the ICW, Port Everglades and hundreds of miles of waterways to explore. My first boat ever was really the tender to my Grandparents 34 foot Hatteras. When I was old enough, I would row that boat up and down the canals till the light would go down and I had to be back home. I knew every boat in those canals and would look forward to going to bed so I could get up and do it all over again the next day. I loved that little boat.
When I was just a little older, I was let loose on those canals with a 6 hp Johnson outboard. That opened up my world tremendously and my "cruising" career was born. Now, I was able to travel miles up and down the ICW. Whether it was to check out the naval ships in the port (you could do that then), cruise over to Whiskey Creek for some beach combing or up north to down town, I went everywhere. The Broward patrol boats knew me by name and were always nice as long as I had my life jacket and air horn. Only now I realize the significance of Lake Sylvia to us cruisers but back in the day, it was a nice place to buzz around with out any hassles. I think about it now and I can never remember there ever being a boat anchored. My guess is that has changed.
Of course, I didn't just stick to the dingy, I would beg and plead for a trip on the "big boat". We would head down to Montey Trainers in Miami and Ocean Reef in the Keys. That was my favorite by far. We would run outside in the ocean and I would sit on the bow looking into the crystal clear waters. Occasionally, you would see a giant Ray or Dolphins on the bow wake. I would drive as much as I could, I never tired of it. Once we got into port, we would have a great dinner that my Grandmother would whip up and get ready for some exploring in the morning.
So, if you want to know where I got my love for the sea, that should sum it up. I thank my Grandparents for a lifestyle that I love and treasure. I never get bored of hearing about their adventures to the Keys, Bahamas and beyond. I hope I am as lucky as they were. I can say this though, I am very lucky that they can follow my adventures as they check this blog everyday for updates. I hope my stories are as inspirational as theirs were to me.
But it didn't end there. I always tried to stay near the water, so again I was lucky to get a summer job during college on a small charter fishing boat. I did that for a few years out of Oyster Bay Long Island. I would take care of the folks that came aboard and help the captain when anchoring and docking. That was a great gig and of course again kept me on the water.
Had an 8 year hiatus doing the work thing until I bought my first boat. That's was a 1971 Coronado 27. I knew it had to be a sailboat. I had not sailed before, but I knew the lifestyle and wanted in. Had her docked at CuttySark marina in Little Creek, Virginia. It was only a mile or so to the lower Chesapeake and a perfect place to learn to sail. I was on that boat everyday learning the ins and outs. Fortunately, I was very lucky to have a neighbor teach me the ropes. It was a great couple of years. I put a lot of miles under the keel till I sold her prior to moving to NC. She was a good boat.
Oh yeah, during that time, I was working as a mate on the Spirit of Norfolk, a dinner cruise ship that would tour the naval yards. When I was off, I worked right next door at Waterside Marina. That place was always hopping as it was where everyone would start their migration down the ICW to Florida. Mile marker 0 on the ICW. We had all the mega yachts come in and stay for a few days. One of Jimmy Buffett's boats came in one time and handed out shirts and CDs. That was a good day. :)
From there, it was on to NC and eventually Skylark. You know that story. So that's it, my life on the water.