In an earlier life, Marlene and I were sailors. For five winters, we actually lived on a sailboat with our two children and a cat. We had been inspired by such sailing movie classics as The Dove, Wind, and, of course, Captain Ron.
Here is a short clip from Captain Ron (my all-time favorite silly movie):
In those days, we frowned upon dirty, noisy “smoker boats.” Sailors can be snobs. Sometimes they have a haughty air about them—much like garish-colored-spandex appareled bicyclists, who hug the road’s shoulder-line “because they can.” So when Kevin Costner released Waterworld in 1995, we felt that our indignation was at last vindicated in a more snob-less manner (or, at least, we knew that it would be in some waterlogged future).
But that was then and this is now. We have since modified our position on “smokers.” One’s self interests will sometimes do that.
Sadly—or perhaps happily (another story for another day)—the time came for us to sell our Florida Gulf Coast based sailboat. “Those dang kids got older and needed proper school’n.” Plus, they were picking up too many bad words hanging around the docks.
This occurred long before our migration to the Rocky Mountains.
So as Montanans, we were mariners no more. We had boxed up our charts and harness life jackets, deflated our dinghy, and stopped subsidizing the Fort Myers West Marine boat supply store. And even though this post-sailboat life gave us back money for food and such, we missed the wind in our faces and the smell of the sea.
Alas, this seafarer yearning and mariner envy finally took another abrupt turn this past summer.
We purchased a boat from a good friend—though a “smoker boat.” We did so, because we knew the boat and we knew it had an unused cuddy cabin. You see, what we missed most about our sailboat days was not the foul language of our fellow sailors or the endless repairs and removal of saltwater corrosion, but rather the “anchoring out”—those magical starlit nights “on the hook.” As it turned out, this new old boat—this “smoker boat”—could be deployed from a trailer quickly and easily, and its 350 smokey horses could get us to our preferred anchorage on Flathead Lake, pronto. For the two of us, it provided a great “anchoring out” platform and a Mother Ship for our more earth-friendly kayaks. We actually regard it more as a travel trailer on water than as a boat.
Still, we felt self-conscious anchoring among (mostly) sailboats. We knew that they looked at us as we once would have looked at us—with that Kevin Costner stare of disdain. And it made us feel (a little) bad.
But don’t worry. We’ll get over it.
PS: Here’s a short clip from Waterworld that explains everything that you need to know about “smokers.”