Nautical Procrastination


With the cold season closing in, you might expect the boats to be thinning out a bit.  But it is just the opposite.  Some people suddenly realize they have not been out on the water all year, and try to squeeze in any few moments before the snow starts.  Those with boats already out keep hoping that there will be at least one more Indian summer day to cruise in warmth and sun.

So instead of fewer vessels out there, there are sometimes more.  The boatyards get ready for the rush _ the first hint of a fall storm or late hurricane will bring everyone at once.  In the meantime there is nothing they can do but wait.

An awful lot of boats seem to be purchased in a fit of enthusiasm and then lie unused forever.  There are fads, sometimes sailboats, or canoes, or these kayaks, or lately stand-up-paddle boards.  But they all share a common element of being  taken out every day for a while, and then just stored somewhere along the shore as the weeds grow.  At least they provide some color.

By the time you get to mid October most folks around here _ not having Eskimo blood nor fortitude _ never venture out on small craft.  A few hardy souls will be there even in December, when the water temperatures actually start to make it dangerous.  But generally, it seems, pleasure vessels are mostly to be admired rather than take up too much of anyone’s valuable time.



An assortment of craft used mostly by the town summer camp.  Pretty soon they’ll be collected by trucks and carted from the beach to some indoor storage facility.  Like the turning of the leaves, these seasonal changes work to their own rhythms.  Like leaves also, they have outlived their usefulness for this year.


Cabin cruiser heading out for a late season spin.  Boats equipped this well, of course, could go out all year if they wished _ probably have TV and showers and who knows what else on board.  Usually, however, the only time I see a real parade is on holidays, not even weekends are very busy.  Maybe it is good enough to just show folks they want to impress what it looks like from the road, or maybe they hang out at the yacht club admiring their prize.

I’ve never developed boat envy _ I like my feet on dry land, thank you very much.  Easy touches of seasickness when I was young play a part in this, but mostly being cramped in a small place for hours drives me stir crazy.  A long cruise is one of my visions of Hell.


Can’t resist a pretty picture, whether it fits the theme or not.  Life should be a bit chaotic; one of the worst faults I fall into is getting so wrapped in a train of thoughts that I ignore wonder.  That of course is very helpful in “real life” and work, but dulls and limits our experiences.

So there are no boats here, unless you squint, and not nautical themes except that any body of water is a potential nautical theme.  Sorry.


Dingys are used to reach the clammers’ working boats beyond the tideline.  These are pulled up and tied to the guardrail along the shore road _ which results in a constant political battle between the town road department and the fishermen.  Sometimes there are annoying signs, sometimes chains around the struts, sometimes neon stickers screaming “this vessel will be removed!” .  Eventually an accommodation is reached, usually around elections, and things settle down for a while.

It used to be that nearly all the sailboats would be gone in November _ they are certainly never used in the winter _ but lately people have gotten somewhat lazy because the harbor rarely freezes thick enough to damage hulls.  No doubt the forest of masts will thin a bit, but it no longer vanishes completely as the snow begins to fall.


Not everyone waits.  There can be a long line to get into the dock and have something as large as this lifted out of the water, cleaned with pressure hoses, covered in white shrink-wrap, and slowly driven across West Shore Road to the large sand pit where it is safely stowed row on row.  Unless, of course, a tree falls on it, but that’s a different story…

This marina stays busy throughout the year, even in the dead cold of winter something is going on, if only to clean the machinery in readiness for the next summer.  In some ways, these are the new fishermen, working long, cold, wet and dirty hours in all weather _ unfortunately with a lot of the romance and beauty stripped from their jobs.



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