Life Vests Optional


Don’t Think, Just Enjoy

On a sunny April afternoon, across the Gulf of Naples, I lived a moment of complete and total zen – a moment so pure in a variety of senses and experiences and impact that for a brief time, the rest of the world vanished.  While I’ve enjoyed a number of locations, this moment fit into a superbly tranquil and enchanting moment only experienced once since (see Shared by Bears and Coeds from January 2012).  Even the simple, lemony taste of Italian ice didn’t waste itself with a brain freeze, and the view of Faraglioni with its mythical history of the Siren’s song echoing out its captivating refrain in the afternoon sunshine, I could absolutely imagine the epic tale of The Odyssey to be gospel truth based on everything I absorbed on the Isle of Capri.

The mental images recalling my ecstasy and exhilaration near the eastern edge of the Tyrrhenian Sea do not exclusively remind me of my day’s adventure away from the Sorrento coast.  The hover craft which carried us to our spectacular sanctuary likewise took a reverse journey full of sightseers including myself back to the mainland.  Of course, on a warm afternoon, near a significant body of water, a surprise afternoon thunderstorm decided to accompany us back to port.  The motion of the waves against the flat flotation of the watercraft created an adventure akin to the roller coasters I experienced at length during my theme park employment.  The thrill of the crash of water over the craft and the upheaval beneath it, after such an awe-inspiring day, never led me to contemplate that these are the times when a boat randomly sinks near the Mediterranean Sea because it suddenly overturns and all of the life vests were still in storage rather than on those of us bumping and bouncing around in the storm.

Water Plus Wind Equals Waves

I enjoy life on the water.  Whether entering the United States from Waterton Lakes National Park of Canada, or crossing the shipping lanes to Channel Islands National Park, or sipping adult refreshments on the boat back to Key West from Dry Tortugas National Park, I like to savor the journey to and from beautiful places by transportation more than just the vehicles on roads leading to a destination.  Oddly, I can count only a small number of times I simply spend time on a boat, just to spend time on a boat.  Despite the frequency with which I have crossed the Missouri River, only twice have I spent time on Lake Sakakawea, cruising in the late spring sun on a pontoon boat.  On this day we know it will be blustery on the water, but compared to the North Dakota winters, we gladly ignore the breeze to be able to enjoy finally the sun and fun of the largest single-state reservoir in the U.S.

The chop does not appear threatening here in the cozy comfort of the bay where we cast off, but once out on the open river, not even directly into the channel, we become fodder for the winds and waves.  Water leaps off the surface and over the bow, and the dogs cower and shiver as they look even less thrilled with their dousing than they do at bath time.  Me?  I respond similarly.  Our captain (aka, the boat’s owner) navigates us safely closer to shore and we manage to dry in the summer shine (in name only as we are still weeks away from the solstice) and we enjoy a meal aboard.  It isn’t until we are back on land, the boat is dry docked, and time passes that the owner (aka, the boat’s captain) reflects that we ought to have been wearing our life vests, rather than keep them neatly tucked in the storage compartments.

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