Distraction, Despair and Betrayal on the ICW

You don't want to be distracted, or you'll be grumpy!
I thought the intracoastal would be terribly dull and boring. Not so. It’s a little dull, then extraordinarily exciting, then there’s betrayal and deception followed by war.  And every once in a while you have to pay attention.

For instance, in the Cape Fear River (which is on a red right returning system, opposite the red-land-intracoastal system) there’s a channel for an army installation. If you get confused and go into that channel, you get blown up. It’s a mistake no one makes twice.  Or, if you are enjoying Cape Fear River, you can keep going to Wilmington. I’m sure it’s lovely there, but it’s a dead end!

Matt has an app “Active Captain”. This app overlays on a nautical chart on his phone. Boaters add reviews of marinas, anchorages, routes, and hazards to navigation. A lot of them can be quite negative, so we like to call the app “Grumpy Captain”. Matt likes to entertain us by reading out upcoming hazard reviews. "Ooooh, prepare yourself for grumpiness", he’ll say. "At marker 35A some grumpy captains ran aground. One says to hug the green, but the other says to hug the red and if he’d hugged the green he’d be even grumpier." “So, stay in the middle of the channel?” “Yeah, that would be good”.

I know what you are thinking. How hard is it to stay in the middle of the channel? Well, it’s impossible. You could be in the middle of the channel and everything is hunky dory. Then you see a pod of dolphins, or you have to bat at a fly, or you have to have a conversation with the dog about the flies, and suddenly, you’re running aground or headed the wrong way. You could be so enamored with reading grumpy captain’s tales of woe and laughing to yourself, that you yourself run aground. Or you could be caught up in one of the worst conspiracies of deception and despair that has ever been perpetrated on mankind and you are simply unable to cope with straight lines while you angrily wave your arms and pout.

Let’s say you’re a cruiser, and grocery getting involves dinghying miles to shore against the waves. You arrive at the dinghy dock soaked and march a mile to the grocery store. You purchase delicious, wonderful almond chocolate chip granola bars, march a mile back to the dinghy, and dinghy back to the boat. 

The next day, while headed between the markers, you open said granola bar with a smile. But that smile quickly turns to revulsion and disgust. For nestled in between the delicious, life affirming nuggets of chocolate are a betrayal called raisins. Raisins used to be good back when they were grapes, but some miscreant perv set them in the sun and made them into vile yuck berries. To add to the horror, unsuspecting granola bar eaters think they look like delicious wonderful chocolate, but they are the exact opposite of chocolate. 

So, while you are retching and stamping on the vile imposter granola bar, who can cope with details like channel markers and currents and bridges? Who can head in the right direction while writing an angry letter to your congressmen, and the President, and creating a petition for the banishment of all imposter dried fruits that could be chocolate instead? Now you’re aground, and wondering why Grumpy Captain didn’t warn you of the danger of yuck berries at Red 44A. 

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  1. I love your blog post title. Very dramatic - it sounds like the title of a romance or thriller novel to me. It sucked me right in. I just had to know who betrayed who. An of course, it was the raisins. Raisins only belong in oatmeal. They don't belong anywhere else. Especially not in granola bars or cookies. Evil raisins. Pure evil.

    1. Matt claims he LOVES raisins. I'm really not sure how our marriage has survived this (maybe because he eats the imposters and I don't have to feel guilty about throwing them away!

  2. Aaargh, raisins. They ruin everything, from cookies to cereal to the ICW! :-) I once bought a homemade chocolate chip cookie at a deli - this was my first, and last, time ever buying them - and imagine my face when I discovered the chocolate chips were raisins in disguise. I - honestly - didn't even realize that there are cookies in this country that are not chocolate chip cookies. The simple mind of a naive Belgian... :-)

    1. Terrible! It's really bad when someone offers you a homemade cookie and you have to try and hide your disappointment and disgust!


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