Sunday, February 22, 2009

Dolphin Watching

One of our favorite pastimes while in the Tropical Tip: dolphin watching...

It's been a great winter here this year - warmer and dryer than usual. Today was chilly by south Texas standards, it took most of the day to warm up to the mid-60s. Clear, crisp, sunny, and breezy; a perfect day to be in a boat with an enclosed helm like the C-Dory. Not many boats out today; we had the dolphin show to ourselves.

For those wondering, Izzy the cat is doing great. She is comfortable on the boat and rides in the truck without whining or puking. It won't be long and we'll find out how she does with long distance traveling with the RV.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Some background: we got a call last friday from a friend we haven't seen in years. John and his wife are vacationing on South Padre Island. John is the guy who taught me to sail years ago. He is also a sailboat dealer; we bought our first sailboat from him. All that isn't so remarkable until you know that John had polio when he was young and has very limited use of his legs. Once in the cockpit of a sailboat, he is a master sailor; you'd never know from his quiet manner that he was a US record-holder for racing. We had supper that night with John and his wife, a delightful evening, catching up on what we've both been doing. I invited them out for a boat ride, but John's wife has an inner-ear condition that keeps her off boats. John called yesterday and asked if the invitation was still open - said he'd really enjoy the chance to get out on the water down here; his wife could walk the beach (which he can't do) and he would go for a boat ride.


I took John out on Wild Blue today. He told me it was the highlight of his vacation here... I don't know about that, but it was certainly special for me to be able to show him what it is we enjoy so much about this boat. With John's limited mobility, it took us about 45 minutes to get him from our driveway, down the steps to the dock, and then onto the boat. He thanked me for my patience, and I was stunned... I was thinking about how hard he was working just to get TO the boat. This was certainly no small effort on his part. And then the last small hurdle: getting him up onto the co-pilot seat. It certainly made me appreciate my mobility. I admire his gumption.

We had a pleasant ride; I showed him some of Port Isabel's shrimping heritage, we cruised by the marina where we commissioned the sailboat, we went through the swing bridge, across the Laguna, into the jetties, back down the ship channel, and around the island, back to our home. It wasn't the trip, the scenery, or the dolphins... it was about two friends who share a common bond (our love of the water) getting to spend some time together.

John asked plenty of questions about Wild Blue; I was happy to tell him all about it. I recall the hours he gave me years ago, suggesting and encouraging, while I learned about sailing. When we came back to the dock, we just sat in the boat for a while, talking.

I helped him back to his car; once behind the wheel, he was as mobile as any of us. He thanked me again before he left. I was grateful to have the opportunity to spend some time with him on the water. John lives and breathes sailing; he said to me, "I can see why you like this... all of this."

Yeah, what's not to like? I'm glad he understood.