LIFE'S A CRUISE
By Barb Hansen
A visit to the beach almost always becomes part of the float plan when our charters plot their cruises along the barrier islands of Southwest Florida. “We’d like to spend a little time on the beach,” they say. Vic and I expect this. “Yes, of course.”
On the charts we show them Cayo Costa, a Gulf island and state park accessible only by boat, and point them toward the best anchorage on the backside of the island. “You can row the dinghy in and it’s only a short walk across the island to the beach. You’ll probably have it all to yourselves.”
Life’s a Beach, the expression goes. Actually, I believe Life’s a Cruise. Both are journeys. They are what we make of them, allowing for some good weather and stormy weather. In either case, we should all include visits to the beach in our life plans.
What is it about the beach exactly that so strongly attracts us to the beach? Are our senses keener on the beach or are the sights and sounds really more vivid? The clean intersection of land, sky and water is surely dramatic. Some charters say they want to be the first on the beach in the morning to pick up shells left behind by the high tide. Some want to be there when the sun sinks into the horizon, lighting up the clouds in vibrant color.
For sure these are terrific reasons to go to the beach but let us not forget all of the other things that beaches let us do.
For one thing, on weekends the people-watching is as good as it gets, an Easter parade without all that the frilly fabric. (On the beach, however, you will see some outrageous hats that look like parodies of Eastern bonnets.) All who walk the beach are equal under the sun and that includes grown boys in Speedos, babes in thongs, and the rest of us in possible need of a nip or a tuck. The beach doesn’t care and neither should you. The beach is the beach whether you’re cavorting with the fancy people on hotel row or the “boat people” on Cayo Costa.
The beach and the sheriff are pretty much okay with anything you want to do on the beach including but not limited to surfing, swimming, shelling, tanning, reading, napping, walking, running, partying, picnicking, kicking a beach ball, throwing a Frisbee or burying your partner in sand. In that last instance the sheriff will insist that you leave the head uncovered so your partner can still breathe.
You can help your young children or grandchildren build sandcastles. You can tell them about the treasure that pirates are said to have buried on this beach years ago. You can help them search for a treasure from a foreign land that may have washed up on this remote Florida beach.
You can supervise the little ones as they shovel sand into a plastic bucket then dump it back into the water, again and again, all the while showing that determined, get-the-job-done look that toddlers have when they’re occupied in meaningful work.
Whatever it is about the beach that makes you want to visit the beach, it seems to me that the beach has a way of transferring energy from the body to the brain. You’re left physically tired but mentally re-charged.
Back on the boat, with good food and rest, your body and brain will be revved up for life's continuing cruise.