When I started cruising with my wife Pamela and Honey the Golden Retriever five months ago, I was kinda hoping it would change my temperament. I tend to run pessimistic at the best of times; and when times are not at their best, as they haven’t been for the past two months, I can get downright unpleasant.
Whatever doesn’t kill me makes me grouchy.
In retrospect, I guess it was unrealistic of me to expect cruising to deliver the kind of overall personality transplant that, say, only a frontal lobotomy could really make happen. But the lifestyle has taught me that I should at least try to make an effort to celebrate the happier moments it throws our way. The unions. The reunions. The gifts. (From a guest appearance by David Cassidy on the sitcom Malcolm in the Middle: “The here-and-now is a special gift. That’s why I call it the present.”) The departures. The arrivals.
Especially the arrivals.
So we passed this at 10:15 AM on Tuesday, January 12, one week ago today.
Floating in Virginia’s Elizabeth River between Norfolk and Portsmouth, No. 36 is not much to look at. But it marks the charted start of that portion of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (the AISW) known as the Ditch, a thousand-mile-long path of natural waterways, dredged channels and engineered canals that ends, for some skilled, determined, and lucky cruisers, in Key West, Florida.
Reading their own actuarial tables with respect to hurricane season, our boat insurer wants us north of Norfolk each year between May 1 and November 1. So our two months of setbacks and delays may already have put Key West out of our reach this year.
No matter; the other end of the AICW isn’t going anywhere soon. It will be there for us, whenever we arrive.
Meanwhile, after the past two months, it’s good just to have gotten started.