Delight in a cruise south

From Sea of Life to Sea of Dreams
By Dave Witherill, Maine Authors Publishing 2016, 186 pp., $14.95 paperback).

media-cruiseOn a lighter note, we have a retired sea captain from Maine who trades about three football fields worth of oceangoing tanker for 34 feet of sailboat, and, with his wife, heads south for a dream cruise down the ICW to the Bahamas.

Early on, Dave Witherill, the author of “From Sea of Life to Sea of Dreams,” admits that what he and his wife, Gail, are doing is nothing bold. “Thousands of folks, just like us, had already made this journey.” Honestly, he drove tankers around the world for a living. How hard could it be?

But that’s not the way it works. There is something about a long trip in a small boat, to a new place, that never feels old. There is so much to attend to, so much planning, so much dreaming, so much anticipating. And then there is the day. The goodbyes. The casting off. The right turn out of the ship’s channel, where the big guys go, at Portland Head light. We are off.

Witherill is clearly not an introvert, and entertains his readers with stories of the characters with whom he engages along the way and the many friends he and his wife make. The trip is relatively uneventful – in a good way. They are very careful sailors and manage to stay out of trouble. Crises are limited to spilled coffee in the cockpit and long, bouncy nights at anchor in the Bahamas while a norther blasts through.

For anyone anticipating such a voyage, this is a great introduction and a guide worth taking along. Keep charts nearby because interesting anchorages, marinas and sights are mentioned all along the way that otherwise might be missed.

One would think that, after a long career on the high seas, a trip like this would be little more than an afterthought for Capt. Witherill. Far from it. It’s the cruise of a lifetime for this adventurous couple. And that’s the wonder of long-distance cruising on a small boat.

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