| ~ Ocean Art ~
| We’re Officially a Ship!
There was much debate on the differences between a boat and a ship among seafaring folk.
Some claimed that a ship must have a certain number of masts, while others claimed tonnage to be the deciding factor.
The best explanation I ever received was from the captain of a Great Lakes freighter. He declared that a ship was
a vessel intended for ocean going transportation, where as a boat remained in closed bodies of water.
“The commercial vessels on the Great Lakes are much larger than the ocean going vessels,” he
noted with interest “but they are too large to navigate through the canals to get to the Atlantic, so they
are considered boats.”
On the last day of February, Don and I departed Key West in the early morning
hours. The wind was forecasted to be 15 knots coming from the southeast, so we hoped to have a nice
close reach to Boot Key Harbor. We sailed along though the Main Ship Channel, and rounded our final marker in due time. But
alas, the breeze followed us around to the east, putting it right on our nose - typical! Don and I tried to eke
out some speed while close hauled, but our heavy boat just wouldn’t make any way.
~ Re Metau Under Sail ~ |
strong southerly front was predicted for the following day, and we vowed not to get caught out in the open again.
Furthermore, a friend of ours who frequently sailed this area had previously warned me that Hawks Channel was
lined with coral reefs. He’d witnessed many a luxury vessel hung up on the coral heads that lie just
under the surface, and advised we be careful to stay on our course. We factored in these warnings and
concluded that tacking to our destination wouldn’t be prudent, so the mistress was pressed into service.
I was a little disappointed to be burning fuel rather than filling sails, but
Don expressed a delighted countenance.
“We’re on the Atlantic!” was his explanation and in view
of that I was drawn to celebrate the passage - we were officially a ship!
The remainder of the
journey was blissfully tranquil. It was a warm, sun soaked day and our only work was erasing our tan lines. A
few dolphins came to visit, sea turtles were spotted, and Don hooked an enormous fish en route. Of course they
were always enormous when they got away. We arrived on the western shore of Boot Key just as the sun
set and opted to anchor on the outside. We’d decided to wait for daylight to navigate the channel into the
harbor and inquire about a mooring. Dinner and drinks concluded another day for the crew of Re Metau, but it was
our first day as ocean sailors – cause for celebration!
Like a child growing into an adult, the speed of the changes in our
seagoing lives was sometimes slow and imperceptible. We first learned to speak the language and eventually,
the correct nautical words rolled off our tongues, although sometimes port and starboard were confused. We then
learned to read the currents and tides, sometimes relying on little verses to remind us; ‘blue-cruise on
through, green-bottom’s seen, brown-run aground’. Finally, we’d learned how to write
our future by successfully charting a course to get us to the destinations of our desires, tracing over the routes
of those who have gone before us. We still considered ourselves young in the ways of the sea, but Re Metau was
officially a ship!
~ Diana Oceanside ~ |