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Quaker by conviction, mother by default, Celticst through love, Christ follower because I once was lost but now am found...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I must go down to the sea again...

A ship in port is safe, but that is not what ships are built for. ~ Grace Murray Hopper

As Rat tells Mole in Wind in the Willows There's nothing quite like messing about in boats & I could sail practically before I could walk. For most of my life I've lived beside water. Knowing how to swim & row & sail was as necessary as breathing but it began well before my time in my father's home port of Brisbane. It may even have started earlier than that. My great~grandfather [forget how many times removed] was a ship's captain when to sail from London to Sydney took most of a year & he got shipwrecked 3 times. After the first time I'd've probably never set foot in a boat again but they made them hardy [or foolhardy] back then & he lived to tell the tale ~ 3 times!

Anyway, early on in their relationship my father introduced my mother to his other love ~ the longboat he had proudly built himself & he invited her to be the lovely figurehead on her maiden voyage down the Brisbane River. [I'm sure someone in my family is now screaming I've got the details wrong but you get the idea.] So dad loaded his pretty girlfriend aboard his newly finished boat & launched them onto the murky brown waters Brisbanites refer to as a river while he stood by with the camera to record the moment.

I've never yet seen a picture of this momentous event. As mum smiled & dad prepared to snap away his pride & joy sank gracefully beneath my mother's feet into the murky depths & the waters closed over her head! My father had forgotten to put the bungs in! It says much for my mother that their relationship endured, boats & all.

Dad fished his first boat out of the water, dragged her home & parked her under the house. She moved with him to every home he ever lived in but she never saw water again. Dad moved on & we witnessed a long parade of boats pass through his hands~ sailing dinghies, cruisers, rowboats, chug~a~lugs, racers & my personal favourite [apart from my own personal sailing boat] was a 16'foot longboat that was an absolute joy to row. I think the termites got that first boat in the end. Pity. She had lovely lines but was obviously considered either unseaworthy or untrustworthy. Maybe both. Boats have personalities you know.


MamaOlive said...

Lol. I enjoy reading about boats, but I can't say I care too much for it. My parents took me in a canoe when I was 4 or 5, and I still hate the thought. Swimming is all right, but that's because you're supposed to be in the water when you go for a swim. When you go on a boat, you're not supposed to end up in the water. :-)

Constance said...

We have canoes since Dave is an avid fisherman (fresh water lakes and not the pounding surf like in your neck of the woods.) I don't care much for them because they feel too wobbly. Case in point was when we went on a camp out 3 years ago and we ended up in the lake. As I fell overboard with all of my clothes and boots on I thought,
"How did this happen?"
It was only an instant but I swear that it happened in slow motion!

Sandra said...

I am not comfortable on water, I don't know why. My father and his brothers were in the Navy during WWII, but that is the extent of our family history with sailing. I live in a state with over 10,000 lakes and I have no interest in them!

It sure is good to have you back and now I see you will be away again. Enjoy your time before life gets really hectic once more. : )