Sailing is truly one of the last great adventures people can experience. It’s similar to mountain climbing and scuba diving in that depending on where you are, you might be too far away for help to reach you easily should you find yourself in distress. Of course Christopher Columbus couldn’t call the Coast Guard but if far enough at sea it might take some time to be rescued. The ocean, is vast and remains virtually the same as when the great explorers went searching for the “new world”.
When leaving the harbor from Ft Lauderdale and looking out at the expansive body of water before you, it’s humbling. It also gives one a sense of freedom, which is liberating when you live in a city as crowded as New York. Once outside the breakwater, I headed our 50 foot catamaran north and motored for a short time as there wasn’t a breath of air. The water was completely calm except for the occasional gentle swell. As I looked over the side I could clearly see the bottom in 17 feet of water. Therefore, there was only one thing to do, drop anchor and go snorkeling.
At this point we were half way between Ft Lauderdale and Palm Beach, approximately 200 meters off the beach. The boat we were sailing had a useful ladder at the bow that made for easy access in to and out of the water. Once dressed in goggles, flippers and snorkel, my wife and I went over the side. It always amazes me how a flat calm can seem so different once in the water. Even a gentle swell seems large. We had anchored in a location near a reef, so we would unquestionably have a great view of fish and other sea life. While I love aquariums, there’s something about being with the fish in their natural habitat that makes the experience so satisfying.
On our very first dive, we saw a nurse shark, which isn’t dangerous to human beings but still gets the heart pumping. Sharks are just such amazing creatures but even the most docile and benign, look fearsome in the water. As we moved along the reef we saw lobsters, crabs a moray eel and thousands of fish. Salt water fish are so much more beautiful than fresh water fish, ranging in color from red to blue to yellow and every color in between; virtually all the colors of the spectrum.
After spending, what felt like five minutes in the water although it was over an hour, we finished our last dive and made our way back to the boat. I was highly disappointed that I hadn’t brought an underwater camera. It was incredible how much sea life is located so close to beach. Once aboard the boat we shed the gear and sat down to a sumptuous meal. The saltwater had made us ravenously hungry and incredibly thirsty. It’s a good thing I brought a case of Laurent Perrier to quench our thirst. Champagne works far better than water.
As the sun set, we couldn’t help but think how lucky we were to be enjoying what was a perfect day. So often we take things for granted and rush the time instead of enjoying all of the beauty that surrounds us. Maybe it’s because you have to look long and hard to find the beauty hiding behind the concrete monstrosities that are New York’s Skyscrapers. The incredible scene that was unfolding before us; the orange, and yellow explosion of color in he sky was more awesome than anything man could ever hope to create or recreate. And at that moment, as my wife looked at me, we were both thinking exactly the same thing.