I could spend weeks writing of our 17 months aboard her. I will shorten it enough to say the best part of our boat was the people she introduced us to. Dock 1 at Pleasant Harbor Marina is the kind of place most people can't even dream of spending their weekends. In a short time, we grew close to people we will cherish for all the days of our lives. Jeff and Marion, Nolan and Nancy, Ernie and Maribeth (Burt), Greg D, Greg J, Bryce (even though he later abandoned ship). I can't forget Mike and Carla (Paparina's crew), Jim and Shannon, Randy and Jo, even Home Depot Mike and his great son Andrew. We will never forget any of you. You always have safe shelter, during any storm life may bring you, in our home port.
During our time at PHM, we grew particularly close to our boat neighbor, Jeff. He was the owner and captain of Costa Del Sol. He had spent his life on and around boats. Sail, power, you name it . . . he knew about it. Jeff taught me so very much about boats in a short periord of time. He taught me to slip my 34 footer so well, he would later say I do it better than he does. I think it really made him proud when he would see me teaching other new boaters, as he taught me. Over time, Jeff's shipmate and wife came to the boat less and less. This made him spend more and more time with us and we grew to be like family. My wife, Kathy, got to where she called him "our son" despite the fact he was "several years" our senior. We would feed him breakfast bagel sandwiches and always brought enough dinner for him to join us. He was very gracious and always said, "No, it's okay I brought a hungry man TV dinner," but in the end we made him dine with us. Kathy and I love ya, Jeff, and we wish we could bring you with us to our next port.
My brother, Mike, got me addicted to researching boats, boating blogs and everything boating online. I am continually amazed at how much Mike knows about boats, inspite of spending his life landlocked. One of my favorite quotes Mike introduced me to came from Mark Twain, who once said:
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
The other favorite boat quote of mine comes from the 1908 novel, The Wind in the Willows:
"Believe me, my young friend, there is NOTHING--absolute nothing--half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing. Whether you get away, or whether you don't; whether you arrive at your destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get anywhere at all, you're always busy, and you never do anything in particular; and when you've done it there's always something else to do, and you can do it if you like, but you'd much better not. Look here! If you've really nothing else on hand this morning, supposing we drop down the river together, and have a long day of it?"
I used to go to the marina after work just to take a nap aboard, or have a beer, or watch tv. It didn't matter what I did, so long as I was aboard. Kathy would call me and say, "where are you?" After a while, she just took it for granted that if I wasn't with her I was likely on the boat. Jeff and I spent hours upon hours messing about on our boats. He'd be tightening screws or waxing Costa; I'd be wiping down Peaceful's bow or reading the book for my GPS; Jeff would just holler out, "MESSING ABOUT!" I love that phrase, because it precisely described what we were up to.