Each time a new season rolls around, I can’t help but think that season is my new favorite. My favorite part of spring can be summed up in two words: Boat rides.
There are no words to describe the pleasure of getting out on the water for the first boat ride of the season. As soon as she’s taken out of storage, my dad gets her cleaned up and ready for her first voyage of the year. That means the cooler gets filled, the “fish or cut bait” flag goes up, and various bottles of sunscreen are thrown onboard.
Generally, we put the boat in down at the marina, and if you’ve ever attempted that mighty feat, then you know it’s not always easy backing a trailer loaded with a 20-foot boat around the curved drive and down the narrow ramp. However, it’s the closest public marina and it gets us out on the water the fastest, even if it does result in my dad yelling out obscenities as he repositions the trailer a dozen times.
It’s an exercise in patience getting her in the water, filled with fuel, and ready for the first trip out of Big Bay Creek, but it’s all a part of the experience of starting the boating season.
Once we’re all ready to go and I take my position at the bow while my dad mans the helm.
We go the same route every time we take the boat out for the first trip. We come out of Big Bay Creek, round the buoy in Shark Hole, and continue on down front beach. Once we get down around Edingsville Beach, we turn around, and head back up the along the coast until we get to the creeks of the island.
After a while my dad will generally cut the engine so he can drop a line in to do a little fishing. I use that time to gaze out over the water to watch dolphin in the area or spot a sea turtle or two. In my younger years I’d take the time to jump in the water for a quick swim, but getting older has given me a healthy fear regarding my own mortality, so those deep water dives are happening less and less.
We’ll putter around the creeks for a good long while, jump some waves once the wind picks up, and eventually glide back into the docks after a long day on the water.
By the time we dock the boat at the end of that first day sunburned and sporting the best windblown hairstyles there’s a certain joy that comes with knowing that it was just the first of many doing the exact same thing. And it’s perfect every time.