Do you take vacations or travel long distances in your boat? Or, are you dragged away from the water to other (so-called) vacation activities? If this latter scenario is your situation, you might see if you can negotiate a boat trip or two in your itinerary once you arrive at your destination.
I love boating in new locations. One of the reasons is that I grow when I travel –I don’t just mean around the waistline, although that’s been known to happen – but rather, I broaden my perspective and gain insights. It goes without saying that boating can be quite different from place to place.
The waters differ of course – salt water versus fresh water; open water versus coastlines with their coves and inlets; lakes versus rivers – each one unique.
Fast-moving boats, fast-moving water – that can be exciting! Alternatively, a lazy day fishing on a still lake or river can soothe away worries and slow everything down to the point that minute details come into focus.
The terrain, weather and climate, aquatic life, birds, and wildlife along the shore may differ vastly. You may see development, or not. Architecture and building materials will vary.
Passing through locks, or pausing in an unfamiliar marina or harbor, you may hear snippets of conversations from boaters and other tourists, perhaps in other languages. You may unexpectedly run into friends who had the same idea to travel to wherever you did. Perhaps you’ll have fun times with new people that you’ll meet along the way.
I’ve enjoyed boating adventures outside the U.S., as well as in Alaska and other places outside of my home state. Following are a few of my observations and takeaways from this experience.
Don’t shy away from the boating activities geared toward tourists. I’ve enjoyed sightseeing canal tours; motorboat trips to see whales, eagles, puffins, bears and other wildlife; and tried parasailing as well as white water river rafting. Although these were commercial ventures, I was surprised at how genuine, interesting and sometimes entertaining the tour operators have been.
Be observant. Different waters pose different dangers from those you may expect. It’s an excellent idea to pay attention to weather conditions even when you aren’t the captain of a boat. I’ve experienced turbulent seas more than once, the first time as a teenager. I was terrified when the ship began pitching. In hindsight, little railings around the edges of each table should have been a clue that the seas could get rough, but until I was watching our drinks (in plastic tumblers) slide across the table and bump into them, it hadn’t occurred to me.
Still, despite a few scares, the thrill and enjoyment of getting out on the water has added to the richness of my travels, as well as my life. I have amazing memories that include a quiet canoe trip on a high mountain lake, the water so clear that tree stumps were visible on the lake bed; in contrast, I traveled from England to France on the rather amazing Princess Anne Hovercraft before it was retired from service.
So, shouldn’t all summer vacations include boating adventures from our bucket lists?
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