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The Bright Side

For all of our sacrifices this year for the greater good, from the maelstrom came a few important lessons for us mariners.


It’s been one hell of a strange year, right? Covid-19 didn’t just throw us a curveball; it hurled the equivalent of a drunken albatross down our strike zone.

For boaters, it’s easy to resent the pandemic for all its inconveniences: canceled boat shows, truncated cruising itineraries and provisioning options, and personal hassles like having to wear a mask around the marina. Happy hours took on a whole new socially awkward form as well. (I’m looking at you, Zoom.)

But for all of our sacrifices this year for the greater good, from the maelstrom came a few important lessons for us mariners.

One: It’s important to marry someone you can stand to be quarantined with. If I learned anything being in close quarters with my wife these past six months, it’s that we still get along pretty well despite the occasional disagreement over whose turn it is to fold the laundry. Translation: Choose your cruising buddies like you would choose your better half. When the Hershey hits the fan halfway across a large body of water, there’s no annulment to set you free.

Two: Wearing big-boy pants feels like dressing up when briefs and the T-shirt you slept in the night before are the new dress code. Hey, what happens below the Skype zone stays below the Skype zone. Translation: No matter your home port, there’s a shade of islands envy in all of us. Maybe 2021 is the year you go off the grid to a tropical paradise. No shirt, no shoes, no problem. For more on that, check out this story of a couple who left the Midwest, bought a boat, circled the globe, and became liveaboards in the Caribbean.

Three: I can live without that aromatic blend of Starbucks premium dark roast I thought I was addicted to. And cheap toilet paper sucks, but hey, it’s better than the alternative. Translation: Despair not over what you lack, rather, appreciate what you have. The best cup of coffee you’ll ever enjoy is the one your first mate hands you as you soak in another sunrise at the helm.

Four: It doesn’t take long for Mother Nature to reclaim what’s hers. Translation: I have never seen as many fish and dolphins as I have this summer. A brief slowdown in boat traffic seems to have had a profound effect on the revitalization of marine life. I’m not saying we should boat less, but we should strive for cleaner boating. As the year has shown, a little effort goes a long way.

Five: We found that anchoring a pontoon boat a few feet from the beach and letting our three boys out to run around, blasting each other in the face with water cannons, was a hell of a lot safer than the Fun Zone at the local fast-food joint. Translation: A boat in the middle of a large body of water is arguably the least likely place you’ll contract a plague.

And one final thing I’ve learned: Never again start a sentence with the words “I could never.” As mariners, we’re tougher than we think we are. From the Great Loop to the greatest of all endeavors, a circumnavigation, there are just too many finish lines out there to get bogged down by a bug, even one as merciless as Covid.

Andrew Parkinson, Editor-in-Chief

Andrew Parkinson, Editor-in-Chief