The Reluctant Boater
I wonder sometimes what my life would have looked like, had I not met and married my husband, Chuck – my wonderful, courageous, adventurous, funny, loving husband. I was content to be an observer to life, content to sit in my chair and observe. God really works in mysterious ways, to pair me with my soulmate who is completely opposite from me. Let’s take this whole boating thing…. I love the water, the sea, everything about it. I was NOT, however, in love with boats. Noisy, expensive and scary. What I didn’t know scared me. Chuck, however, grew up with boats and it was in his blood.
It started out in high school, when we met – at the lake, in a boat. With teenage, high school exuberance, I loved riding in that boat with him. At least I loved the IDEA of riding in that boat with him. In truth, it was too low to the water, was too bumpy, went to fast – it scared me. But I loved him, so I persevered. Six years later, with kids in tow, the boat was sold. Not practical, no time, no money… I secretly rejoiced. Chuck, on the other hand, very obviously grieved. So it was no surprise that once the kids were older and the opportunity presented itself, we were back on the water. Same fears, but again I persevered.
When we began to discuss our retirement (many moons later!), he declared he wanted to retire on a boat. Dear God, I thought… here we go again. The realization that I might lose him should I not share his passion was very real, so we charted a 48’ power catamaran in the British Virgin Islands. If I was to be “all in”, I needed to know if I could handle this new, inflated idea of boating. No longer was I going to be relegated to local lakes. He was talking open ocean – that’s a whole new ball game. To my surprise, I loved every minute of that experience. It was everything that boating on our local lakes was not – the boat was really big, it went slower, it wasn’t as crowded – I felt SAFE. I was all in! We purchased our boat three years later, and I have never looked back.
However, that left me with the task of learning what it took to be an effective, and helpful, first mate. I have no dreams of ever being Captain (although I can pilot the boat, I don’t like to!). I began to google search everything related to boating and realized that while there was a lot of information available for sailing, there was virtually no information for power boating. Thus, the idea for The Reluctant Boater began forming in my head. As I learned (sometimes trial by fire!), I made notes. As I found things that made Chuck’s life, and mine, easier I made notes. Finally, upon retiring in November of 2018 I began the process of developing this website.
I am extremely fortunate, because initially we got a slip at our local lake and kept the boat there. I am also blessed to have a partner that is VERY patient with me! That allowed me to learn the ins and outs of boat handling without the waves, wind and tide of the ocean. In 2017 we moved the boat to San Diego – it was time to let her stretch her legs! I had no idea how life changing that decision would be.
I have found the ocean, and the time on the boat in that ocean, is my happy place. After eight years of ocean going boat ownership, I can’t imagine life on land. While we aren’t (yet) full time on the boat, we try to spend half our time there. It is the one place where life, and the stresses of life, cannot find us. The world disappears and we are left with the ebb and flow of nature, the water, the sea birds and sea creatures… The ability to navigate to a point in the middle of the ocean is empowering and exhilarating. Being out of sight of land bolsters self confidence. I am not the same person I was 8 years ago. I am assured, confident, curious, and excited to see what each day will bring us. All because of a boat. And a loving husband who encouraged every pivotal moment in my process!
I hope you have the opportunity to experience a similar paradigm shift! It is never too late to reinvent yourself! Happy boating!