Being out on the water is one of life’s great pleasures. Boating offers a wealth of different experiences and, like much in life, we cherry pick the ones that suit us best. Many people enjoy powerboating, other’s prefer ‘wind and string’. Some folks like to sail long distances, and a growing number charter a boat for a vacation. Racers travel the world in search of exciting regattas, their yachts often arriving at an event having been transported there on a specially designed cargo ship. Although boats are as varied as the people that man them, sailors have one thing in common – they all say a lot of hellos and goodbyes. I doubt there is another occupation or pastime where this is such a factor. Cruisers sail to an anchorage, meet new people, strike up a friendship with other cruisers and then haul anchor and leave. Race boat crews are the same. You might crew on a boat, share the pain, drama and perhaps glory of a four day regatta, socialize like you are friends for life, and then sign off, never to sail with that crew again. Guests on charter boats come and go as do the crew. During my time on the water many people have sailed in and out of my life. Some made a lasting impression (not always for the right reasons) and some became friends. And it’s always rewarding – unless you owe them money – to bump into a stranger at the bar who, it turns out, isn’t a stranger at all but someone you crossed tacks with 20-years ago in another place, another ocean. In Cruising: A Life of Howdies & Goodbyes, Barbara Hart looks at one of the emotional certainties of the transient sailor’s life … constant goodbyes.
This month one of my favorite articles takes us to the hinterland of Trinidad and the Asa Wright Nature Center. In this special photo feature, Charles ‘Chuck’ Shipley uses his skill with the camera to capture the stunning beauty of our Caribbean Birds.
Adventurers are alive and kicking and living in the British Virgin Islands! When this story appeared in my inbox it fired my imagination to the point I wanted to toss the computer out the door and set off on a quest. The story was that of MacKenzie Wasson and Chris Clarke and their nonstop sail around the BVI on a Hobie Cat. Unfortunately the story was far too long for publication in All At Sea and I had to reject it. But it was so beautifully written and dealt with much more than sailing, that I had to find a way to share it with our readers. To my delight, MacKenzie agreed to rewrite the story in short form. He describes their sailing adventure with the enthusiasm of a young writer embracing life and that of a man seeking a philosophy by which to live it.
Captain Fatty Goodlander holds strong opinions on most things and he is not afraid to speak his mind. Not everyone agrees with Fatty’s take on life and his opinions have been known to upset people. The comment that garners most vitriol is Fatty’s use of the term ‘Dirt Dwellers’ when referring to those who live and work ashore. This month we have taken the unusual step of publishing one of the letters we received on the subject, one fit for publication in a family magazine.
See you on the water!
Gary E. Brown, Editor