I saw a boat named SeaEscape the other day and it reminded me once again of what this wonderful sport of boating does for all of us. It gives each of a very pleasant way to ”escape” from the news of the day, the demands of work, the projects at home or whatever it is that has you stressed.
This stress-reliever does much more than provide us with an escape from whatever it is that’s weighing heavily on us, it permits us to “escape” to nature, relaxation, camaraderie, family time, historical places, sightseeing and a whole lot more. And it’s one thing that is a very positive kind of habit-forming endeavor, a good addiction, if you will.
If you want to get this “prescription” for stress-relief filled, there’s no better place than the famous Gulf waters of Southwest Florida, my home for the last 30 years. Our waters are at the top of the list here in the U.S. and #3 in the world, according to CRUISING WORLD Magazine.
Cruisers have many options while at sea here---glistening first-class resorts, quiet reflective anchorages and enchanting strands of islands. Sugar-sand beaches, superb shelling and spectacular sunrises and sunsets are just a few options nature hereabouts has to offer.
You’ve got the barrier islands of Sanibel and Captiva, upscale stops at Naples and Marco Island as well as the sawgrasses and citrus groves of the Okeechobee Waterway; all beckoning for your R&R time. No matter where you cruise here, Mother Nature has a full palate of surprises from the kingly Tarpon and snook to satisfy any angler’s desires, to cormorants, herons, skimmers, spoonbills and egrets to name just a few native birds and their migratory visitors ready to delight birders young and old any time of the year.
There’s more, too. Manatees, sea turtles, rays and dolphins are a few of Mother Nature’s creatures happy to help you relieve your stress. It’s not uncommon for dolphins to come “up close and personal” alongside cruisers and stay for a while. Everything down here is friendly.
Cruising is great for couples and families. It’s a shared adventure that involves teamwork leading to the ultimate in quality time where texting gives way to talking. It’s also a great way to meet new people and to become part of the cruising family. We look out for one another, wave to those we don’t know in passing boats, help those in need of a hand and readily yuk it up with those we don’t know in adjacent slips or sharing the same gunkhole.
Industry studies show that boaters are happier and healthier than non-boaters. The majority of cruisers studied say boating has brought their family closer together. Children exposed to boating are healthier, less shy, team players and more likely to be leaders.
Boating offers a great deal – stunning views, unmatched serenity, miracles of nature – all at your fingertips if you take this “doctor’s” advice for a sure fire way to relieve stress. Take one now and as many as you need in the future.
Barb Hansen manages Southwest Florida Yachts, yacht charters and Florida Sailing & Cruising School, a liveaboard yacht school. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, or via phone: (239) 257-2788.