Friday, July 27, 2012

Harbor Fever

According to this wind sock, Nantucket
 will be a beam reach from Providence. 
Yeah, right.
We're leaving Providence today, probably. Already the prospect of parting from these known conveniences is incubating like a virus, the kind that starts with a slight tickle in the back of the throat and blossoms into full blown harbor fever. It will be a close thing whether we cast off the lines or cling to the familiar and settle in for the rest of the summer.

For us the lure of unexplored places is often balanced by wondering whether pushing on is a good idea. The guide book does its part by making anywhere we might go sound incredibly challenging, rife with hazards that require local knowledge, policed by rules and regulations about anchoring, full of pot markers, beset with monster tides and currents, and probably menaced by giant whirlpools or boiling geysers. Like the 24 by 7 news channels, cruising guides thrive on creating drama: watch out for this, avoid that, don't even think of going there.

As the guidebook warns, Northport, NY, tides are gynormous.
Falling onto your boat would hurt. So use the ladder instead.
This summer's cruise has been a repeat of places we've been. That gives it its own rhythm. While this is not actually boring it is a bit subdued. Returning to a place is so different than arriving. You only get one chance to make a first impression and vice versa.  So far we've been confirming previous impressions and being bemused by cruising guide descriptions. It's like a steady diet of comfort food but lacks a certain dash of adventure. 

In Northport, NY, we had already learned to cope with big tides by climbing the ladder rather than just leaping off the dock and hoping to land feet first. Plus we mastered the fine art of tipping the dock master to adjust our lines. Where's the adventure in that?

We have talked about spending an August in Nantucket ever since I called there years ago as crew on OPB (Saber 42 by Ron and Jayne) and brought back a lighthouse basket that Anita uses as a knitting accessory and treasures as a work of art. Now we're off to see whether we can get there on our own boat. As is typical, the cruising guide book shrieks about the hazards, warning about dramatic nest-egg shrinkage. This may not be such an exaggeration after all.

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