A life worth living

in Intracoastal Waterway / Life at Sea / Sailing the World

I really hope what they say is true — that you can judge a person’s character by their friends — because I have some of the most amazing and generous people as my friends.

Friday night, my friend Elisa came to visit us on board Hideaway, along with her husband Chris and their two adorable kids, Luke and Alice. Elisa has known me practically since birth, since we were born just 3 months apart and we grew up on the same street. This alone would have bonded us forever, but what makes her an incredible friend is her extraordinary kindness and her ability to put anyone at ease with who they are, no matter how unusual they may be.

To illustrate Elisa’s unfailing support, though we hadn’t seen each other in over a year and a half, she showed up to Delaware City with her entire family on a whim, bearing dinner, a case of beer, some hometown gossip and nothing less than total enthusiasm for what we were doing. I know she was looking around our little boat, thinking she was darned glad she wasn’t sailing away in such a tight space. But I also know she was nothing short of thrilled for us because this was exactly what we wanted.

It’s an extraordinary gift to love someone truly for who they are and not who you want them to be. And it’s a quality I admire deeply in Elisa. Perhaps because I think it’s a quality everyone should have a little more of. Including myself.

Ryan at the start of the C&D Canal

Though we had a blast entertaining our first family on board, the success of Friday night’s rendezvous meant that we didn’t quite get up at sailor’s sunrise on Saturday. But we have time to work on that as we travel south.

Before we hurried off to a new port, though, we wanted to make sure we got out for a little jog to see the C&D Canal and Delaware City’s only tourist attraction: the historic military fort. And it turns out we were in luck – we not only got to see it, but we ran straight into a battle reenactment, complete with firing cannons and period uniforms.

Fort Delaware State Park

Ryan is fascinated with quirky Americana, being the foreigner that he is, so he took this unique opportunity to quiz the guys dressed up in uniform about their unusual hobby. The Civil War soldiers were more than happy to tease Ryan about being from “the wrong side” and regale him with tales of their weekend travels to various forts around the country to reenact battles from a myriad of different time periods. We got the impression that it wasn’t the particular war they reenacted or the character they played that was important, as much as it was just to get out there and play somebody in a battle, whether it be an Indian, a Brit, a Confederate, or a Boer. And like any hobby, they had gear for everything, which they loved showing off to Ryan, who was curious enough to ask.

“It’s a hobby like any other,” said a guy dressed up like a South African Boer. “Some people dump tons of money into building model airplanes. We do this. After all, having something you enjoy doing is what makes life worth living.”

“Oh, sure, we know,” Ryan said. “Our thing is sailing.”

“Oh! Well, now that’s an expensive hobby! Do you know what ‘boat’ stands for? Break-Out-Another-Thousand,” the Boer said, laughing at his own joke.

“Yeah, well, I guess it’s just what we do.”

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