I can pinpoint the genesis exactly. It was in late November 1986, and we had just entered the intracoastal waterway (ICW) at Norfolk VA. We were on a 40 foot sailboat and had left Halifax about ten days earlier. It had been a tough slog.
I was utterly enraptured. Parts of the waterway had been constructed in the 18th century. There was always something to see. Lots of other boats of all shapes and sizes were around. There was (for me) exotic vegetation and critters. The commercial traffic was a novelty. And the best part was that there were no waves. By the time we got through NC I was plotting a return in my own boat, taking the time to poke around and stop as desired.
The confirming experience came in the fall of 1992, when Samantha and I took a few days to deliver a friend’s sailboat from Chicago to St Louis, traveling on the Illinois River and (briefly) the mighty Mississippi. I loved that trip. Samantha wasn’t so keen.
Shortly after that we moved to London ON – not by any stretch a boating center – and I got busy with kids, career, life without boats. I’ve had small boats, and really enjoyed racing Laser in the competitive masters class for a few years. Having another ‘big’ boat was nowhere near the top of the list, but I often thought about river cruising over the years, and set it as a goal for when I had the freedom from other commitments to be able to enjoy it. It had become pretty clear in discussions with Samantha that this wasn’t a shared goal, so this was likely to be a solo project with a virtually unlimited scope. My hazy goal was to cover all the navigable waters of the Mississippi basin, and that is a lot of travel – possibly several years.
In early 2015 I started to seriously consider making my dream happen. In my next posting I’ll talk about my boat, and how I came to choose and buy Mazurka.