REMEMBERING THE FUTURE
By Barb Hansen
Nineteen eighty-four was a double-good year. Vic and I got married. And we started our yacht chartering and liveaboard yacht school business in N. Fort Myers. This has been our one-two punch for personal happiness.
Our plan was to live happily ever after but we weren't sure how long "ever after" was going to last. The Cold War was on a front burner then and I was half-expecting a nuclear explosion would occur during or shortly after our honeymoon.
Now, with 25 years under our happily-ever-after belts, I try to remember to put things in perspective.
Thank goodness for anniversaries. They insist that we kick back, pat each other on the back, and recall some of the good, the very good and the funny.
We recall events that fall into the laugh-a-lot category, especially in the retelling, crazy tales from today's crazy boating business world.
One couple took a liveaboard course and cruise. They said they wanted to see if they were compatible for long range cruising. I guess the answer was no. They bought an RV instead of a boat. With the RV, I surmised, they could pull over when their compatibility quotient dropped and go for walks in opposite directions.
I think we helped some couples discover more about themselves and whether they were meant for each other.
A gentleman called to book a power yacht charter for two. The problem was the lady he was planning to take cruising was not his wife. He didn't tell us not to mail our charter information to his home.
I remember one time when two couples cruised together. I learned later that one couple argued the entire time. When they got back, they immediately went to see separate divorce attorneys.
Not all of our customers were veteran boaters so their boating knowledge bank still had show-through gaps.
One lady on a sailboat without a generator called from their anchorage to complain that there was no electrical power for her hair dryer. I think she was relieved to learn that they could plug into shore power when they overnighted at a marina.
I remember overhearing a VHF radio conversation between a boater and a towing company. The towing firm operator asked, "Where are you located?" The boater answered, "I am right here by the mangroves."
One person called and asked if our celebrated barrier islands like Sanibel and Captiva would still be here if they cruised in the summertime.
You can't, as they say, make this stuff up.
We recall these episodes, not to embarrass anyone, but to help us put our life's work into perspective.
We have had so many recollections that fall into the very good category there is not enough room to mention them all. Here's one: I fondly remember the Harvard family of New Mexico – mother-father-son-daughter – who came here a few years ago to take a liveaboard boating course. For me, they personified a theory I'd been nursing a long while. Boating teaches exactly the same things you would hear at a success-in-life seminar: Set goals. Practice. Be a team player. Accept responsibility. Get your sleep. And, importantly, laugh a lot.
And, from this 25-year perspective, this is what I think I know: Things come and go. The hula hoop had its day. Paris Hilton, too. Dancing with the Stars is fun to watch but before long we'll tire of it and someday we'll remember it like we remember watching J.R. Ewing on Dallas.
I also know this. Boating is not the hula-hoop, Paris Hilton or Dancing with the Stars.
Boating has been with us since shortly after man discovered he couldn't walk on water and it will be with us at least until he can. (Ponder that!)
Put things in perspective, I remind myself. OK. My perspective is boating will be here for the very long run. I'm really looking forward to the next 25 years.