Cruising with the
Resident Love Goddess
This note is just between us
married men. Boats and women, they’re like oil and water.
One of them is mighty slick, the other essential, but it’s
hard to make them mix. Nevertheless, like Italian salad dressing,
the results are wonderful if you can get them together for a
The Resident Love Goddess
The other day the Resident Love
Goddess and I set off for a little cruise to Gulfport. The weather
cooperated and we had lots of fun poking around sheltered waters,
anchoring in gunkholes and barbecuing on the aft deck. For me
the best part of the outbound leg was the great fly battle,
in which the RLG became unhinged over several flies that invaded
the cabin. See, the Icebreaker Danielle is too slow to outrun
the newer high-speed model flies. "That's it!" she
declared unilaterally like George Bush would if he could, "This
boat is now a no-fly zone!" and she took after them with
a rolled-up magazine, swatting and swinging this way and that.
The flies took it as great sport. She'd chase one out the side
window and it would fly back around the stern and come in through
the aft cabin door. Then she'd chase it out the aft door again
and it would come over top and through the forward cabin door
and land on her swatter, just to tick her off. Meanwhile, one
of his comrades would buzz continuously around her head, giving
her the raspberry through all 360 degrees.
Well as we all know, hell hath
no fury like a woman scorned. So the RLG resorted to chemical
warfare, spraying "Ant and Spider Killer" all over
the cabin. Rather unsportswomanlike, but that finally did the
little varmints in. You could hear them - buzzzzzz, bubuzz,
bbuzz, bz, b, b. Then they nosed in – vrrrrrrr crunch.
The RLG declared victory. Just as well, I was having a tough
time staying in my seat, cheering for the flies and laughing
and ducking and choking on my drink and the bug spray.
Gulfport is a very small old-fashioned
Florida retirement city engulfed by St. Pete's. I like it. It’s
right on the Intracoastal Waterway, and there are lots of places
to anchor. They've got a brand new courtesy dock with big slips,
great for wandering downtown. The municipal marina is very nice,
and the rates are reasonable. We pulled in about 2100 hours,
chewed the fat with the neighboring boat for an hour or so,
and then hit the sack. There was a party going on at the fenced-in
yacht club next door. No bugs and the temperature was just right,
so the boat windows were open. Round about midnight we hear
fire trucks wailing, just an awful commotion. Next morning,
the fellow on the neighboring boat reports that in the middle
of it all he heard somebody say with glee, "It's on fire!
That boat's on fire!" Must have been quite the party. Must
be quite the classy yacht club.
After breakfast we hoofed it
over to a nautical flea market. I had my eye on a cute little
one-horse outboard. The thing winked at me as we passed. “Over
here, big boy,” it whispered, “I’m just what
you need for your dinghy.” I was sorely tempted, but the
Love Goddess talked me out of it. She said I’d never outlive
the teasing I’d take from our sons. I suppose she was
right; no doubt they could row quicker. On the way out we came
upon a vendor trying to start a motor. He was pulling on the
rope. “Brrrrr, brrrrr, brrrrurp, brummm,” the brute
muttered. Then it coughed a couple of times, sputtered for a
few more revolutions and died, stinking up the joint with gasoline
fumes and smoke. As we walked past, the vendor was sputtering
himself, something about how it ran just fine last time he had
it out, and he started yanking on the cord again. T’was
ever thus with old outboards.
Afterwards we strolled downtown,
past trees covered with fragrant blossoms that looked like pink
lilies, past smiling neighbors preparing their gardens for the
spring. Downtown there were some tents set up in a nice waterfront
park with crafts, paintings and jewelry, that kind of stuff.
The RLG started to nose around, but she fled when she figured
out that the affair was put on by a lesbian club of some sort.
I felt safe enough, except when we walked by the booth run by
the womens’ tackle football team.
Back at the boat, we schmoozed
with the dock rats a bit. That’s something that’s
incredibly easy to do from the foredeck of the Icebreaker Danielle.
Then after we chowed down on some lunch, we set out for home.
The bay was really calm and the Resident Love Goddess got a
little sleepy. So I strung the hammock on the foredeck and she
climbed into it. The poor lass was snoozing soundly, when from
out of the blue we got hit by a goodly-sized stink pot wake.
You guessed it. She wasn't centered in the hammock. One good
flip and she woke up looking surprised with her keester bouncing
on the deck. She took it very well. Just laughed and said, “I
fell off my perch. Did you get that guy’s number?”
Then she crawled into the hammock again and went back to sleep!
What a gal! Real sailor material there.
But the RLG got her own back
at the end of the cruise. On the last night we anchored in MacKay
Bay at the mouth of the Palm River. It was a calm and peaceful
anchorage, close to home. When we awoke in the morning we were
fogged in solid. Couldn’t see 50 feet. So we waited an
hour or so. What’s that old saw?
Patience is a virtue,
Possess it if you can,
Seldom found in woman,
And never found in man.
Well, after reading the same
magazine a couple of times, I couldn’t take it any more.
We were out of grub, and I was getting hungry. All we needed
to do was find the mouth of the river, and then we could grope
along a bank until we hit the marina. It was just off to the
east a bit, somewhere. So up I get and I start to pace.
“You’re getting itchy.
What’s going on?” the RLG asked. “Going to
take you to Denny’s for breakfast,” I answered,
firing up the engine. “But you can’t see the nose
in front of your face,” observed the RLG, “Why don’t
we just wait for it to burn off?” “Can’t wait
any longer,” says I, heading for the anchor rode, “You
just relax there, and I’ll get us home.” Well the
Resident Love Goddess knows when resistance is futile, so she
decided to treat the proceedings as entertainment, as long as
nothing too dangerous was about to happen. I hauled anchor and
pushed the Icebreaker Danielle into gear. We felt our way eastward
at an idle. It took less than three minutes to run aground.
“What’s wrong?” asked the RLG as I stumped
through the cabin to get the boat hook from the poop deck. “We’re
umm, well we’re stopped for now,” I answered. “We
aground?” she inquired shallowly. “Sort of,”
I said. The RLG squelched a smile and went back to her book.
“Anything I can say to help?” she asked helpfully.
“I got it,” I said, and I stuffed the gear astern
and began poking at the mud off the bow. “Tide going in
or out?” she asked tidily. “I dunno,” I answered
cleverly. “Didn’t your Sea Tow membership expire
yesterday?” she asked finally. “I dunno,”
I answered, “There. She’s free.” I took the
boat out of gear and let the breeze blow us into deeper water.
“Too bad this part of the bay is off the edge of the charts,”
the RLG observed precipitously, “or you could use the
GPS. Too bad we don’t have radar, or a GPS with electronic
charts.” “Right,” I said, “Wait a minute…Let’s
look at the track page.” And I punched up the next page
on the GPS screen. Sure enough, there was our outward track,
burned into the GPS’ little brain, all set for us to follow
back home. And there we were, just a little to the south off
the beaten track, enough to put us aground on the point. I looked
at the RLG suspiciously. Did she have that one figured out already?
If she did, her face didn’t betray it. I swear Shipmates,
if I live to be a hundred, I’ll never figure out all her
tricks. Women are such wily creatures, and they’re so
tight lipped about their methods. We men are really just putty
in their hands. Most of the time we don’t have a clue
about what’s really going on.
So I put the boat into gear again
and got us on the straight and narrow. And feeling in command
again, I rang the ship’s bell, as is nautically proper
in fog. That’s when the RLG decided it was appropriate
to have a little fun. She came out onto the foredeck. “Feeling
better Captain?” she said. “Hey, I was only off
by a bit,” I said. “Isn’t that what the Captain
of the Titanic said?” she asked. Ding, ding, I rang the
bell again. “Hey, there’s a train,” said the
RLG. You could hear it crossing the railroad bridge ahead. “He’s
answering your bell,” said the RLG, “I’m on
the track he says, where the hell are you?” And the RLG
peered into the gloom intensely, then she collapsed into a deck
chair under the influence of a giggle fit. “Ooo, I’m
having a great time,” she said, “Make me do this
again.” I rang the bell again - ding, ding - and the RLG
giggled until we were tied up in our slip.
Take my advice Shipmates.
Women don’t naturally like boats. You have to set things
up right. Don’t trouble her with diesel fuel and dirty
bilges. Do all the preparatory cleaning and provisioning yourself.
If you can cook at all, then do all the cooking. Do all the
dishes. Pamper her like an honored guest. Sail in the very best
weather you can get, plan lots of shore excursions, and above
all don’t scare her. With a bit of luck, your boat will
turn into a time machine. For a little while anyway, you’ll
see the years fall off your wife, until that carefree, fun loving
girl you married is aboard with you. When’s the last time
you saw that girl? Would she recognize you now?