I’ve always loved the ocean. Still, I don’t think I’ve been out on the ocean … ever. Closest I came was on a friend’s grandfather’s speedboat on the Chesapeake Bay. I remember we went past a U.S. destroyer (or maybe it was a freighter).
Still … so, recently, I came across an advertisement for a boat show in Annapolis in a few weeks. I don’t know if I’m going to go, but I started googling boat manufacturers. Completely just for shits-n-giggles: I can’t afford a boat, and I certainly can’t afford the boat I’d like: something big with a couple of bunks, a head, a galley, and a flybridge.
If I ever win the lottery, though, I’ll buy one. I won’t do any fishing, I’ll keep it at a marina down in Ocean City somewhere and take it out every now and then — head out sixty, seventy miles, and just hang out above the drop-off of the continental shelf with a cooler full of beer and a shelf full of books and relax.
That was the original plan, anyway. Then, last night at the Indy, I remembered that James’ dad owned a boat, so we started talking about boats. Lo’ and behold, James had a copy of a boating magazine in his jeep, so we started flipping through that and talking about the kinds of boats we’d like to buy. Meanwhile, my imagination went straight from neutral into fifth gear.
What if I could buy a yacht? Nothing super huge: like a 68′ with a flybridge or something. Then, what if I could get a group of my friends together who had nothing better to do over their spring and summer but cruise up and down North America’s East Coast? Er, and then go east across the Atlantic? And then cruise up and down Europe’s west coast? Then into the Med? I mean, with five or six of us, someone could always be at the conn (make sure everyone takes a boating safety course and no one brings any drugs aboard), and while, sure, it’d probably take a week or two to get across the ocean, I wouldn’t want to be one of those pansies who buy yachts and then have them shipped across the ocean (what’s the fun in that?)
It was pretty slow last night, so I even drew up a schedule, on the back of a menu: leave from Ocean City for a two-day layover in New York. From there to Boston, then Newfoundland. From Newfoundland, east to Greenland for a brief layover (just long enough for food, fuel, and leg-stretching), then out for Reykjavik. From there to a week stay in Scotland, then east into the Baltic Sea and Norway, Sweden, Germany, and the Netherlands. Follow the English Channel for stops in France and England (I’d love to cruise the Thames and the Seine, even if I would have to get the boat’s hull scraped clean after) then Spain, Portugal, Spain again, and a cruise through the Med, with stops in Sicily, Italy, Greece, and maybe some North African countries (how could you be in that area and not stop in Casablanca?).
I’ve been looking at my globe trying to see if it would be possible to head from North Africa directly for the Caribbean. I think that would probably depend on the ship’s fuel capacity. One option might be to head out for the Canary Islands, then south for Cape Verde, then try to make it to one of those ports on Brazil’s eastern extremity (of course, this again would depend on fuel capacity, etcetra). If this would be possible, we could then sail north into the Caribbean, stopping in South American coastal cities as necessary, then making a fun cruise through the Caribbean (wide circle around the Bermuda Triangle, of course) and into the Gulf of Mexico.
Of course — instead of going from Africa to Cape Verde, if we were really adventurous, we could follow the African coastline south, around the Cape of Good Hope, then up the Dark Continent’s Indian Ocean coast, skipping the pirate-laden coast of Somalia for a straight shot for India, followed by a cruise of the Bay of Bengal, stops in Myanmar and Thailand, then through the Java Sea and around the Greater Sunda Islands for an Australian layover/visit. Cruise the northern and eastern coast of Australia with numerous stops, then break east for New Zealand, followed by a northern course change for the Solomon Islands, through the Federated States of Micronesia, into the Philippines bound for stops in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Japan. From there, hug the island skirt off Asia’s eastern coast, hang east of Kamchatka (which any fan of RISK should be familiar with), then follow the Aleutian Islands back to the United States, and follow North America’s Pacific Coast south, into Central America, through the Panama Canal, and to the Gulf of Mexico via a looping course into the Caribbean. From the Gulf of Mexico, along the coasts of the Southern United States, around Florida, up the east coast again — detour out to Bermuda (off the coast of the Carolinas, didjaknow?) — and finish up with a stop at Annapolis’ City Dock (aka ‘Ego Alley.’)
This presumes several things.
1. That I become rich and can afford not only an expensive yacht but also enough money to pay for fuel, food, marina stops, maintenance, etcetra.
2. That I have friends.
3. That my friends could afford to leave their lives behind for six months, because, really, that’d probably be how long the journey’d last. Start in April, end in Octoberish?
Well. It’s a dream, anyway. Time to start playing the lotto.
(I’d probably want to hire a captain/know-it-all-maintenance guy, too).