Saturday, September 12, 2009


About seven years ago, we went on an overnight sail in the Albemarle Sound in Bella Luna, a sweet little 26' Balboa. We anchored in an ill-chosen spot and, like two fools, failed to check the next day's weather, which called for a nor'easter and a small-craft advisory. About 6 a.m. I clung to sleep in a v-berth that was not unlike sleeping on a bolting horse. Chip drug me out of my warm nest to say, "LET'S GO!"

At the helm, I watched Chip, sprawled on the foredeck, losing a head-to-head standoff with boarding waves as he tried to raise the anchor. About ten minutes into our pounding path across the sound, a gray fog came down on us, shrinking our entire world to a 30-yard bubble of gray. Since, like two fools, we had not taken a compass heading, we were adrift with no real idea which way to turn. We had only our instincts and a vague notion of which direction would take us where we wanted to go.

That's exactly what last month was like. The days of cloudless skies (a couple of hurricanes notwithstanding) and brilliant sun couldn't pierce through our personal fog. We had burst out of July riding the crest of selling the house. We were barreling along towing several business prospects in our wake. We were ecstatic, certain that cruising was at hand.

Then came the fog of August. Our world shrunk to a 30-yard bubble of gray formerly known as Camp III. Everything went quiet in the bubble. No wind. No sound. Just us waiting, playing cards in a near empty apartment. We had only our instincts and a vague notion of which direction would take us where we wanted to go.

Seven years ago, we found our way, lessons learned: carefully choose your vessel; research your anchorages; faithfully track the weather; don't both be fools at the same time; always plot your location and destination, no matter how close and obvious it seems.

We found our way through August as well, and fortunately ended up in September, not July. Another summer of retail behind us. The fog is beginning to lift, and so far we have no idea what August's lessons might be, no matter how close and obvious they seem. Sigh.

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