Wisdom on the Water


As we have traveled, we have been entertained and exhorted by various people who have shared their experience and acumen with us.  Some words of wisdom have been meant to entertain, others to caution and still others to share knowledge of places we have yet to visit.  Some gems were not meant for us at all but were overheard in conversations of others but are valuable to us, just the same. I hope you enjoy them!

Nautical Optimism

A comment overheard as one shrimper captain talks with another,


Photo credit: Jean Coleman

“You know everything is going to come out just fine until amazingly it all does an about-face and rapidly goes to hell!” 

No comment from the other captain, he just stands with burly, sun-bronzed arms folded over a Santa-belly nodding a grizzled head in total agreement.

 Where Birds Are Walking

Upon leaving the dock to start on this adventure, a fellow live-aboard, who we have gotten to know over the past two years, encouraged us with these parting words, “Never drive where you see birds walking!”


Photo credit: Jean Coleman

It has been good advice which we have heeded so far and we’ve stayed out of trouble but we have been amazed to watch others ignore where the birds are obviously walking only to end up high and dry waiting for a rescuing tide or Tow Boat US to come to save them.

Potato Navigation

We stand at 3D Marine in Stock Island waiting for them to fix the sling lift.  Yes, it worked fine to lift our boat out of the water and into the yard, where the billing clock starts to tick but it dies as soon as our dripping hull casts her shadow on dry land.


Photo credit: Jean Coleman

A new battery and a lunch break later, the guys are able to get it fixed and block the boat up for a bottom paint and some repairs to our transom.  While we wait, Jack, a New Hampshire native, comes over and engages us.  He had hoped that they would splash his boat prior to pulling ours but obviously that timing didn’t quite work out the way he hoped.  No matter, he’s not in a real hurry and is happy to chat as we all wait.

He has been on the water since he was 7, is now 77 and has been everywhere from the upper Canadian Coast down to the Caribbean and probably even further.  We ask him about fog up in the northern coastal areas and he shares that whenever a warm, moist front moves anywhere into the vicinity of the coast, the result will be white-out fog where you cannot see the bow railing of your boat from the helm and sometimes can’t see it even if you are standing on the bow looking forward.  He cautions that these conditions necessitate the use of “Potato Navigation.”  We ask what potato navigation is and his reply has us in stitches. 51

Photo credit: Jean Coleman

“Well, it’s like this,” he says, “when the fog gets so thick you can’t see in front of the boat, you send your youngest crew member forward to the bow with a big bucket of potatoes.  Every once in a while, you have him chunk a potato out ahead of the boat.  If you hear it splash, you keep her going.  If you don’t, you’d better pull the throttle back real quick-like.  Fast as you can, have the kid pitch another one out to starboard and if you hear it splash, push her hard to starboard.  And that’s how potato navigation works in the fog!”

Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up!  We are looking forward to sharing more installations of wisdom with you as we move north at the end of the month.

Categories: Cruising

3 replies »

  1. Love this! I am so enjoying your blog–thank you both for taking the time to do this and providing so much information for us readers!

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