Here it comes….
We are days away from the unofficial beginning of summertime.
Bodies will soon flood the beaches and the days will become longer as nights grow hot and shorter.
I am thinking of a time I had. It was the first time I broke through Jones Inlet and headed out to sea on my own vessel. The boat was 31 feet in length with a beam more than 11 foot wide. Beneath two separate hatches, diesel engines, each with 240 horses behind them, hummed in the deep sound of a slow-moving rumble.
We slowly moved over the rolling waves of the inlet; the bow climbed and fell in a steady bounce, but once we passed the opening between land and sea, I opened the throttles and heard the engines change volume.
Without holding the horses back, their power lifted the bow of our vessel, which was aptly named, “O-SEA-D,” and it felt exactly like freedom.
The sun was hot and the sky was clear. We passed the J.I. buoy, and since this was our first run, we headed out for a short, 9 mile trip, 180degrees south of the inlet. We passed the local party boats as well as the smaller boats that follow around in search for a better chance at summer flounder.
As I stood at the wheel, I felt as if I accomplished something. Below deck, the cabin was cooled by an air conditioner, which was powered by a generator. My radar was clear and the radio chattered with different captains reporting their catch. My course was set on the plotter, but my autopilot was off, because I wanted to spin the wheel myself.
This was my boat, and whether I had it for one day, one season, or never again, at least I had the experience of breaking through the canals and landing in the open ocean. I watched my wife pull in her first fish. I watched her reel in a large sand shark, and I caught my biggest fluke to date.
We took our first shark trip 30 miles south of the Fire Island Inlet, and as a result, we boated a large Dusky shark, which weighed approximately 200, to 225lbs. I have seen the sun sink above the ocean’s horizon and I have watched the sunrise come over the marinas in Freeport.
I may not have the funds to do these things again….but my desire is still strong. My dreams of reaching the tip of the Hudson Canyon have not been forgotten. And while today is not the day I will return to my home at sea, I keep my dreams as close to my heart as possible.
My dreams are the reasons why I work long hours. My dreams are the reasons I agree to long overtime shifts. They are why I head in for weekend work and Sunday shifts.
Essentially, my dreams are the same as the motors in my boat.
As for now, I am moving slow. My horsepower is held back to a slow-moving rumble.
But I tell myself not to worry.
Someday, I will break through the inlet again. I will pass the point where ocean meets the land. I will open my throttles, and without holding the horses back, my engines will change volume as I rise above the waves….and it will feel exactly like freedom.
My friend tells me, “Just keep writing, kid. You never know.”
And I do write……but that’s an entirely different dream altogether.