Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Study in Contrast

In case you haven't been following for very long, we really don't care much for the ICW.  I've been thinking about it a lot, trying ,with great difficulty, to frame my response to so many people's surprise at our reaction to a place they all seem to like. In fairness, we're traveling it in the winter, amid gray, short, cold and rainy days. I'm sure that our opinion would be slightly different if it were warm and sunny. On second thought, maybe not, considering that nearly every house here has entire screened in back yards in order that they might win the battle against mosquitos. We, however, would be on an open boat in the middle of the water with absolutely no screen to protect us, so I'm not sure that warm and sunny would make much difference in our opinion either. So where does that leave me?

It leaves me unsettled. The ICW is a striking mix of beauty and ugly, of wealth and poverty all side by side. Multi-million dollar glass-front homes line the shores that are strewn with wrecks and derelict boats. Even for non-sailors, sailboats have always held some mystery, have always been the representation of dreams and each of these abandoned and discarded hulks have some sad tale to tell. As we pass each one I wonder where the owner might be, how the boat came to be in this terrible place. It's something you just don't get used to, seeing these shells of hope.

Just when you think you can't take another depressing wreck, you curve around the markers to see a display of the ever-present dolphins or the rather comical interaction between the pelicans and the crab fishermen. When the fishermen empty their pots they discard the used bait overboard, and the pelicans have figured out that it's a source of a free meal. Their antics never get old.

I'm trying, I really am. I want to like the ICW, and there are certainly some things to enjoy, but my efforts were dashed by our single foray into the open ocean on this trip ten days ago. The weather is conspiring to keep us in The Ditch and to force me to keep trying, so try I will, but all the while I'll be dreaming of the deep blue sea on the other side of the sand bar.


Unknown said...

you guys crack me up. I am jealous too... lol
Now the ditch is a way to go places if otherwise you are stuck because of weather. Think about it wouldnt be there at all, You would freeze your butts off in Annapolis ! Talking about open water... a little wave action and 20 knots of wind is not necessary a reason to stay inside... 20 knots of wind on the ocean certainly feels much less challenging than on our small lake !

Latitude 43 said...

Don't try so hard to like the ICW. No one likes I95 either but it's an easy way to get somewhere, as long as there are no pile ups. However, the road takes you to places you have never seen before. The ditch is the same way, only slooow. Ice cream stands with smiling faces. New people/sailors to meet. Internet friends with burnt lasagna and small towns with cool history. You are on an adventure! It wouldn't be an adventure if it was all easy peasy lemon squeezy.
So c'mon guys I want smiles and fun in these posts! :)