September is a special time here in New England. Fleets of tourists return to their homeports but there is still boating left to do. Last Sunday was a particularly picturesque day; a cool breeze lingered over the bay, sunshine reflected off the water as if it were a mirror.
It had been too long since Karen and I went sailing simply for the sake of sailing. With no destination in mind and no ETA to provide, we literally decided to go wherever the wind took us. We were healing over, skimming atop the water like a stone, making course corrections only to check out mansions on the coast or to take a closer look at a container ship anchored just outside the channel.
In the world of sailing, there are days that really require you to work. Shifty winds might require regular trimming and every turn of the bow feels labored; you have to earn every tenth of a knot. This was not one of those days. The varnished wheel felt like an extension of my arm and the boat responded with every gentle turn.
We decided to sail passed the Naval War College, an area with thin water and a narrow channel. It was a body of water that I normally would have opted to motor around. It was beyond scenic.
A grumbling stomach was the only reason we turned back towards Jamestown. The highlight of the day was still to come, and it sat in the cooler: A bacon-wrapped pork loin I bought that morning for a barbecue. That piece of meat, corn on the cob and a few cold beers were to be the pinnacle of an already perfect day.
For 40 minutes, I grilled the meat and the smell of bacon and pork wafted across the anchorage. We were the envy of the entire harbor.
Before digging into dinner, I gave the meat one last –over zealous– flip and the pork slipped through the tongs, off the side of the grill, falling, seemingly in slow motion, into the water below. The envy was over in an instant.
Karen, holding an empty plate, looked on in horror, knowing how much I was looking forward to that dinner. We sat in silence for some time; the loss of our dinner was hard to swallow.
It didn’t take long until we were able to laugh at the ridiculous turn of events. After all, it was a great day on the water, one that I’m sure we’ll laugh about on a cold winter day months from now.