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Summertime USA

These photos by Bob Grieser provide visual proof that summertime on the water is fun.

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Summer boating is like New Year’s Eve or a great birthday party, only it stretches on, day after day. You know it’s not forever, but it sure is fun while it lasts. The operative word always should be “fun," as long as it’s done safely, there is no right or wrong way to enjoy a boat.

Skippers from coast to coast, sailing or motoring across the water, all share the ritual, the passion of our tribe — from the extended family aboard a pontoon boat on the Tombigbee Waterway, to the daysailing couple bound for Catalina Island, to the old salt with a Herreshoff 12-1/2 on Buzzards Bay.

Ponder this: You really can leave it all at the dock — the deadlines, the traffic, the bills, the boss. All of the hassles of life will be there when you get back, but they can wait. And wait. It seems that shore rules don’t apply on the water. Defenses are inexplicably dropped, along with bad attitudes. Everyday stresses fade with each yard away from shore. That feeling comes on quickly and is palpable every time you set off.

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Our lifestyle allows us to embrace the water, the weather, to revel in the sunshine. We can be bonding with those we love or engaging with nature — or ourselves — diving in and feeling the cool water envelop us, slipping down into a world of silence for a few moments; enjoying the universal smile of someone being pulled on a tube, skis or a wakeboard; seeing fireworks from the water, where they always look bigger and brighter; fishing, which is pure heaven, an ancient ritual of man versus nature; sensing the anchor set into the bottom and the boat finding its place, holding fast and ready for some fun, rest, quiet conversation or a meal; the joy of slipping off into a peaceful, easy snooze.

We may still hear the wind or the birds or the distant sound of a passing boat,

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but for now we’re off in our own peaceful world. Our boating season is, in the end, that all-too-brief window in time when a cliché is not a cliché. Life really is good.

September 2014 issue