I wanted to kill him.
I was spitting mad and blind with anger.
My husband had tied up the boat for the night and opened his beer and I was ready to kill him. He had no idea what the problem was.
“Do you realize that we were just nearly killed entering this harbor?!” I spat.
I was hyperventilating, “Are you kidding?! We were 10 feet from the bloody cliffs! We nearly rammed the lighthouse and we nearly got pounded to smithereens on the rocks! YES – YOU nearly killed us!”
He chuckled. This was not his experience.
I couldn’t let it go. I plowed on, determined to force him into admitting that I was not making things up. “Did you realize that we were going to run into the rocks?! The lighthouse was all but screaming at us to TURN AROUND!”
My seafaring husband, gently scolded me, “Sweetheart (never a good endearment to use), It was blowing 10 knots, the sun had just set, we were at least a mile from the lighthouse.”
We were on the same boat that night. My husband did not have the same near death experience that I had endured entering that harbor.
This was the night that dashed the belief that I could get away with reading my book and sipping my cocktails on board while someone else managed the boat.
I had spent the day before our “near death,” lounging, rather than paying attention to much of anything concerning the boat. I hadn’t any thought about reading the charts until after the sun had set (such a bad idea), I hadn’t even paid enough attention to think about the challenges of arriving in the new harbor at night. . .. . My husband, to his credit, had actually been paying attention to all these things, could care less about entering a harbor at night, and has no problem blocking out the noise of surf and howling wind rather than letting it totally distract him into paralysis with haunting visions of doom.
I had been terrified entering that harbor because I was clueless about every single aspect of how to manage our boat. I wouldn’t have known the first thing about taking the helm that night! Fear (and terror) was driving my anger.
Truthfully, at that time in my life, I wanted to be on the cover of one of my Yachting magazines, wearing strappy gold sandals with a flowy cover-up, on a gleaming boat with an invisible captain who only piloted in calm and pristine sea conditions. The reality was that we didn’t even own a yacht and we weren’t yachters. We were just boaters – out to experience and the beauty of nature.
I had to make some choices. I could choose to be a participant in the adventure of boating OR choose to be a passenger – wearing my gold sandals and allowing myself to be subject to the whims of whomever happened to be captaining. I would be choosing to give up my say in how the boating was managed and choosing to have no capability at the helm if ever needed. The sandals were sounding like more of an impediment at this point.
I hate to concede much of anything, but there was no way around it. I had to step up to the plate. Because the option of being a ‘helpless’ passenger was out of the question for me. I had to participate fully. I had to pay attention. I had to feel comfortable behind the wheel, docking, navigating. . . you name it. I had to participate. (I also had to apologize to my husband for being a raging lunatic that night).
I want “recreational boating” to be recreational. I want it to be joy and light. I want it to be exactly as they show it in the glossy magazines. For now, I pack the gold sandals in the boating bag just in case. But I choose to go barefoot on board. It works out so much better for me.