All of our grandchildren loved sailing on Aquarius
. We loved sailing with them as well. This is easy to understand because they did such interesting things. Take, for example, the time we were out on a hot summer's day when nothing much was happening.
We were sailing back from the Choptank River to our home port with two grandsons, Gordon and Michael. It was a hot day with very little breeze. We had powered through Knapps Narrows where the boys had a little excitement blowing up the bridge. (Three toots ask the bridge tender to raise the bridge so a sail boat, which is too tall to go under, can go through). The boys, of course, did the blowing on our small tin horn and we were proud of their prowess when the bridge tender responded.
We stopped before we entered Chesapeake Bay to buy some crabs. I thought they were cooked crabs when I saw the advertisement on the dock as we were approaching. We found, however, that they were live. Of course, I bought them anyway. I was not about to admit that I was afraid to cook them.
As we entered the Bay on our last lap home, everything quieted down. It was a lazy Sunday afternoon. As we had a light breeze from the south, Gordon and Skipper decided to put up the spinnaker. After that things got quiet. It was a long sail up the Bay to West River and I thought the children might get bored.
"Why don't you troll?" I asked Gordon. That seemed like a good idea to him, and so did the Skipper. He recommended a particular lure and Gordon soon threw his line off the stern as we moved along smoothly under the spinnaker
That did not take long. Michael moved to the bow where he could watch the water churn the surface as we moved along. Gordon watched his line awhile but nothing was happening there.
"Why don't we go below and cook the crabs? " I asked Gordon. That sounded like a good idea to him and down we went.
I always go barefooted on the boat. Years of subconscious conditioning had long ago taught me to avoid cracking my toes on the on-deck fittings and bare feet were cooler. As we pulled the crabs out of the ice box in preparation for steaming, one got loose and started running around the sole (the cabin floor). I started screaming and hip-hopped around the cabin terrified that the crab might grab a toe.
At that instant a fish hit Gordon's bait off the stern. Skipper yelled for Gordon to come tend the line. Michael, hearing all the commotion, came running back toward the stern. On the way he tripped the spinnaker line and the spinnaker went flying across the sky, anchored to the boat only at the top of the mast.
Who ever said that sailing was dull? It never is with two grandsons aboard. I do not recall who did what to unwind this havoc. I do remember that Gordon caught the fish. I do not know who caught the crab that was running amuck, but we did eat the crabs and my toes came home intact. We probably lowered the line to get the spinnaker down.
We had wonderful times sailing with our grandchildren on the Bay. I cheerfully undertook the task of seeing that their experiences were mostly positive. We were racing much of the time when they were on board and it was my responsibility to take care of them below deck during the races. This challenge I accepted with advance preparation and all the creativity I could muster. Once, when we were playing hide and go to seek on the boat, I hid in the sail locker! They never did find me!
Most of the time, however, I was able to plumb the resources the natural environment offered. Bubbles and balloons utilize the wind; fishing and crabbing provide entertainment and sometimes good eating; swimming off the boat or off the shore take advantage of the water; the abundance of birds all about provide nature study in the raw. The proof of my success is the result which occurred. All of my grandchildren love sailing so much that they have involved it in their life style.
At the age of eighteen, my oldest grandchild wrote the following poem:
I awake with the sun on my face
Never forgetting this great place.
The little fish are splashing
And the big fish are thrashing
There is a crabber on my line
With a sea gull ready to dine.
Sir osprey is wetting his wings,
Looking for fish and such things.
This is the home for which I live.
This is the time for the week I give,
This is my own society.
This is where I need to be.