On a Beautiful, Sunny, Weekend in Summer. Why?


C"Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the thngs you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain


CSo many boats in so many harbors never or rarely ever leave the docks. What a pity!


Chat With Charlie

CWe pulled our boat out of Lake Coeur d'Alene, in Northern Idaho, after a few days of cruising. A large commercial fishing boat, of the type we had seen often in the San Juan Islands of Washington, was waiting to back down the ramp.

C"Big boat for these waters," El commented to the young man dressed in rough work clothes climbing into his pickup linked to the fishing boat.

C"Yes, ma'am," he said through a smile. "Working on spraying the nasty weeds infesting this lake. My boat is used for hauling the heavy tanks and the airboats do the spraying."

C"Looks like your boat is for fishing," El said.

C"Yep. Work out of Bellingham, but between the seasons now. And it's really getting tough for a commercial fisherman to make a living, the way the law is interpreted."

Fishing Boat Working Out of Bellingham Harbor

CWe chatted with Charlie for almost an hour - "Got plenty of time," he said. "The other guys haven't showed up yet." He filled us in on the politics (and legalities) of commercial fishing for crabs, shrimp, and fish in the San Juan Islands. Sure didn't sound easy to make a living as a commercial fisherman. "Even the docking is difficult," he said with a frown.

C"Docking?" El asked.

C"Used to keep the boat in the harbor in Bellingham - it is a traditional fishing port you know. But now, with the fancy private boats in the marina, they have upped the price for a slip to the point where I can't stay there any more. Too bad they can't have one price for commercial, and another for the private boats."

CThen, he continued with an even darker look on his face, "How come those private boats are never out on the water? I've seen boats in that harbor that haven't been out for years - and if you walk around the docks, many have green gardens of sea weed growing on their hulls and propellers. How come?"

CJust then "the other guys showed up" and he had to get his boat in the water. As he left his parked truck in the lot, he turned to us with a big smile and wave of the hand. "Enjoy the rest of your life," he said.

COur chat with Charlie sparked a discussion that evening, as we sat in the cockpit in Bellingham harbor sipping our 'sundowner'. "How come boats aren't used," El said taking a slow sip.

C"Well, there can be lots of reasons. Perhaps it's health problems - or maybe financial concerns. Maybe folks bought their boats to display status, rather than to really want to use them. Or perhaps their jobs or families have become more time-consuming," I ventured looking around at all the boats tied in slips in the marina with no one around them - on a summer Saturday evening.

C"Sure. Many good reasons - perhaps as many as there are folks with boats in slips, unused for months. But, if there are problems and they are long-term, wouldn't they sell their boat?" El wondered.

C"Yes, it would be the logical choice. But perhaps there is a more generic answer - something in common with most all of us - maybe we simply all have a built-in tendency to resist change - and heading to a boat for time on the water is certainly a change. Maybe it's a question of inertia."


CMy mind drifted back to a High School physics class. Newton's First Law? Remember? An object at rest will remain at rest unless acted on by an external force. I remember our teacher saying this was a kind of "laziness." He said the name comes from Latin, meaning idleness or laziness. Newton's Law is a Universal Law of Physics, and applies to everything. So, settled nicely at home, it is difficult to get up out of the chair and do something - anything.

CSo, you have a nice boat and it simply takes too much effort to get up and break the habits of everyday living. And the same thing is true for everyone and just about everything. 'Contemplating a trip to Iceland? Oh, too much bother. I'll read about it on the Internet.'

CSo it takes a push to break the inertia that we all have. And, frankly, in our experience, it simply seems that some people have more push than others.


CIt is a popular misconception, we believe, that younger people have more push than older. We have known older people full of inertia-defeating energy and young folks who are dedicated couch potatoes.


CSo, back to boating. What is it that drives some folks to give their boats a workout while others rarely use the boat, even though they may have plenty of initiative in other areas? Well, one trait that gives people youthful drive is curiosity. 'Wonder what it's like up in the Gulf Islands.'

Madrona Cove, Gulf Islands, British Columbia

CAnother is a deep-seated interest - like fishing. 'The Salmon are running and today's the day to be out at Neah Bay' or 'I wonder how that new spinner that Joe told me about will work on the Pinks?'

CThe interest could indeed be in the nautical experience - to feel the rocking of the sea, the solitude of lonely anchorages, the pull of the tide, the power of the swells…

A Lonely Anchorage - Spencer Spit, Lopez Sound, San Juan Islands

CIt could perhaps be a social experience one desires. 'Let's go out to Stuart and raft up for the weekend - weather sounds great and I have a salmon steak to grill.'

Good Times


CIt could just be, for those of us with small trailer boats, time, and sufficient health, that we simply must exert an aggressiveness with ourselves (and perhaps also with [or from] our spouse) to expend the energy and effort to get out of the comfortable routine and take the risk of getting on the boat. Or as our little grand-daughter likes to say, "Get with it."

CWe can sink deeper into the couch and turn on the TV or with some initiative we can "Get with it" and "Enjoy the Rest of Our Lives."


It's A Choice

(09 - 09)

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