Friday, December 15, 2006

Hospital Point to Deep Creek, VA

8.9 nm
Wind: SW 15 knots
Maximum speed: 4.7 knots
Average speed: 2.5 knots
Latitude: 36°44.43’N
Longitude: 076°20.70’W

I’ve just come back in from a lovely evening spent with two other nascent cruisers, Bob and Rodney, from Porland, Maine. Bob climbs trees for a living, and Rodney rebuilds old stone walls. We’ve been swapping war stories, showing scars, for the last few hours. We’ve both ran aground our fair share of times, had stories of hitchhiking to tell, storm stories, all of the sailor talk that you hear so much about.

They’re on a Herreshoff-designed Bristol sloop, 26 feet, a gorgeous boat that looks like she’d fly under sail. It stinks to be taking these lovely sailboats and sticking them in a little creek where they can do nothing but rev their engines for the next however many miles, but there it is. They’ll be able to fly when the time comes.

These two are two more crazy cruisers, though. I’m beginning to realize that actual cruisers resemble the people in Cruising World far less than I would have been led to believe. We all have boats held together with a wing and a prayer, which is the name of their boat, “A Wing and a Prayer.” We’re all beat-up poor people living in the dream, trying to end up some place where it’s cheap and warm. Just a step up from the seagulls, really.

They’re favorite boat-saying is “fuggehdaboutit,” from the movie Donnie Brasco. If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll know that “fuggehdaboutit” can mean all things to all people. If you’re engine won’t run? “Fuggehdaboutit.” Man, that’s a gorgeous sunset. “That? Fuggehdaboutit.” Did you end up in that last gale? “Oh, fuggehdaboutit.”

We gather a saying from every sailor we meet. The first was from Marcel on Sea Belle, from the infamous Canadian television show, Red Green. “It’s not a full moon every night!” It refers to the necessary piracy all of us as sailors must do. The second was from Geoff, on Serenity—“Garrrrr.”

And now, tonight, we’re tied up at the free dock just past the Deep Creek Lock, after a delicious burrito dinner, smothered in melted cheese, at La Familia Mexican restaurant, twenty yards from our boat. We’re finally in the Dismal Swamp Canal, heading towards North Carolina. Swamp trees bend down overhead. We’re through our first lock. Is life good? Fuggehdaboutit.

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