My Boating Valentine
When we were dating, Vic told me that he had been in
love before. Apprehensively, I waited to hear love
stories that didnít involve me.
The first true love of his life, Vic said, occurred
when he was only 12 years old. He had an affair with
an older sailboat. He even made a set of sails for
itÖfrom bed sheets. Hmmm. Other love stories
followed. The objects of his affection were -- you
got it -- boats.
understood that his pre-teenís psyche had been
imprinted with a powerful, though strange,
attraction. I married him anyway.
Now fast forward to a few years ago. I turned to
the comic strips and went immediately to my
favorite, Hagar the Horrible.
From his comic strip barstool Hagar the Horrible was
telling his drinking buddies that he had had nine
true loves in his life. All boats. OMG, I thought,
thatís Vic and heís channeling Hagar the Horrible.
Iím loving it. I clipped and taped this strip to the
Iím not sure to this day if I know about all of
Vicís earlier sweethearts but Iíve been an
enthusiastic partner with him on every acquisition
since. The arrows that Cupid released at us were
surely tipped with a Love Boat Potion.
When I read that cartoon strip my boating memory
kicked in and I started counting up our loves:
Dolphin, a 36-foot ketch, was our ďhomeĒ for
four years. Others include two Boston Whalers, a few
sloops, several Grand Banks trawlers, and assorted
Hagar told the boys in the bar that a man is lucky
if he has one true love in his life. A boat owner
nine times, Hagar had been lucky nine times.
Counting boats only, Vic and I have Hagarís kind of
Did you hear about the new cruise ship for 3,500
passengers? Impressive specs, this boat: 1,487
cabins, 3,710 bunk spaces, and who knows how many
miles of all you can eat buffet lines.
Those specs donít impress me. My votes goes for
something with two or maybe three cabins, a reliable
vessel with a shallow draft that motors smoothly
along a placid coastal waterway framed by mangrove
wilderness and views of wading birds, dolphins and
the occasional family of manatees.
My cruise ship doesnít have an activities director;
it doesnít have an ATM; it doesnít have an onboard
hospital. In fact, it doesnít have a schedule unless
you say so. If itís Tuesday, itís not Belgium, itís
probably Sanibel Island, or Useppa Island, or the
most beautiful beach youíve ever seen on Cayo Costa
Island. Cruise ships canít go there, and thatís a
On my favorite cruise ship dressing up for a meal
means pulling a tee shirt over your swimsuit.
Passengers donít cut into the buffet line to take
the last shrimp.
And every evening at dinner the
captain sits at my table.