I've always loved being on the water. Growing up, holidays were never very glamorous or involved flying off to far off places. In fact, I never even stepped foot on an airplane until I was 18 years old (something unheard of nowadays). But what we did do was sail. We spent every summer making the most of Canada's Great Lakes and sea ways. I can remember spending summer vacations at anchor in the middle of nowhere, water lapping gently against the hull, family all crammed together down below.
As I grew up, sailing took on different meanings - it wasn't just the summer excitement, but the hours of work in the spring and autumn we had to contend with. Having to give up sleepovers and high school parties because I had to get up and help my dad wax the boat or help put the mast up, just didn't sound as glamorous to those outside of the yachting world.
But I secretly loved all the maintenance work as well. I loved the time we were all (forced) to spend together, or the solidarity that comes with having to give up a weekend with friends to spend it with your parents at a yacht club doing manual labour. I loved that I knew it meant in the summer we could bring friends on board, pack the 3 B's - bikini, beer and BBQ, and answer the only two important questions - should we go for a sail now and swim later or vice versa?
I loved that feeling of your hair flying in the wind when you finally catch yourself going more than 8 knots, or the excitement that comes with chasing down the breeze as you tack one way and then the next. The satisfaction that comes with making your way between two dots on a map and being able to beat your personal records. I love the camaraderie that you only seem to get when out on the water - everyone waves, everyone has time to sit and chat about their great little finds in quiet bays and undisturbed harbours. Or the friendly waves from someone you just met who scraped some of the best clams off those rocks over there so invite you over for dinner on their boat.
No it wasn't the glamorous family vacations that so many friends of mine took, but I wouldn't trade those hours of fresh sea air for anything. I've always loved a life on the water.