I have an odd kind of fascination with boats, even though I must admit I’m not particularly keen on being on one. I often find it funny that someone who loves being so close to the water doesn’t really like being on it so much, probably because I don’t want to end up in it! I love swimming in a swimming pool but not in open water – I once nearly drowned at the seaside as a child, and the experience has long left me warily respectful of large, powerful bodies of open water.
In idle daydreams I love playing with the idea of the potential freedom a small vessel floating along can bring – I imagine hiring a rental boat for the day to travel up and down the canal by my house, of having fun on the water in a very restricted and contained way, never far from land. But then reality hits and I think – I don’t like the undulating sensation of movement beneath my feet and anyway, the scenery looks just as nice from the bank where I can feel far more safe and secure.
I’m not someone who avoids being on water at any cost. I’m happy enough being on a ferry boat, because there’s a good reason for being on the water and the boats are robust. Or taking a short, tourist boat-trip, I’ve done that on occasion, too. But being on an ocean-going cruise for days of weeks on end has never been my idea of a fun holiday. Here in the UK I’ve been sailing with friends on a loch before, and have been out in a rowing boat, and a kayak in the sea for that matter. I’ve even experienced water-skiing behind a boat – but never again, once was more than enough for me. In Louisiana visiting my in-laws I’ve been out on small motor boats on the bayou, and have also visited relatives on their houseboat because living in the swamp as they do there, boats are simply a part of everyday life.
But basically, a life lived regularly on and off the water is not for me. Beaches and shorelines and riverbanks are more my scene. Close by but keeping my distance. Boats and me seem to have a truce, a mutual understanding because of their preferred location. They stay in the water and I admire them from dry land. Yet I continue my fascination with boats, drawn to photographing them and watching other people live their lives on and off their boats, whether for work or for leisure. Sometimes I wish I was more like them, clearly comfortable in stepping so easily from solid ground to floating free. But I’m not, and that’s all there is to it. Still, whatever floats your boat! 🙂