When I was a kid, I used to read adventure books, stuff like The Hardy Boys, Tom Swift, that kind of stuff, and I would dream about what the future held in store for me. The fun and excitement that waited for me as I too could venture out, and try my hand at exploring the unknown, was something that I looked forward to. Later, my horizons expanded, with the addition of works by Bradbury and Asimov. It seems that science fiction was the best way for me to get lost into an unknown world of endless possibilities and the wonders that only the imagination can create.
Growing up in Florida, along the coast, there was, for me, always the lure of the sea. The unknown was there, the unseen, the danger was there. It was the perfect starting pad for a future of exploration. I learned to scuba dive, and years later was forced to actually take a course and certified to get tanks filled. Scuba diving was as close as you could get to traveling to another planet, and still stay on earth. The animals are different, the place looks different, even the atmosphere is toxic to humans! But, I learned that with this expansion of my universe, there was also responsibility. The equipment needed proper care and maintenance, the conditions needed to be right, the weather must be known. Failure to address these, and a dive trip could become deadly, and they still do. Multiple divers die every year, just in the Florida Keys alone, where our home is. Each time I read about someone, I wonder what went wrong, was it preventable, or was it just a really bad day for somebody. Yes, it is tough to be a carefree explorer. Being spontaneous requires a lot of planning!
Boating is no different, there are lots of things to plan for, and care for. The responsibility usually falls on the owner/operator, the Captain, to make sure the boat is seaworthy, and the plan for the day is a sound one. Should we go, or stay? Is this a good spot to anchor, or should we move? Can we sail there in a long day sail, or do we need to consider an overnight trip, or do it in two days? There is a saying, "Six of one thing, or a half dozen of the other", meaning that sometimes there just isn't a clear cut answer, you just make the best choice you can with the information that is available. This is the part that can make you a bit daffy, and sometimes make you look like a goof.
Nighttime is when all things weird happen on a boat. Every sound is a potential disaster, unraveling in the darkness. The captain of course, is the one who is in charge of investigating and dismissing most of these sounds. The truth is, almost always, things are fine, it's just a noise or whatever, but not always. And that is what makes the Captain get out of bed at night to go see, just look at the previous blog post from Jan 11, 2015, titled "What The... Who In The...!!!".
The responsibility is worth it of course, to do these things and to see and experience the awesome world we are in makes it so for us. I will take those sleepless nights, those scary storms, those wet dingy rides... there is always something new to see. It's just over the horizon, right around the corner!