(Almost) Everything Old is New Again
by Fay Jacobs
We did a lot of boating this past summer and are still on the water this fall — which is an awesome time for boating in coastal Delaware. Our good fortune has come thanks to friends who have joined an area boat club.
For the most part these friends are novice boaters who asked my spouse to come along due to her boating expertise. Me, I get to go along for the ride or in case they need an emergency martini shaken.
We’re thrilled, as we sold our boat back in 1998 after years of fun on both the Chesapeake and Rehoboth bays. But I gotta tell you, things have changed since then.
There are many more pesky sand bars along our former routes. One day we were out with six people on a pontoon boat (a floating great room), laughing, sightseeing and trying to find our way out to Indian River. According to the chart, we should have been in deep water, but we heard a terrible scraping sound from the propeller. And apparently the depth finder gauge wasn’t working. Although I’ve always found that a working depth finder announces how shallow it is when you’ve already hit something.
Yup, we were in 1 foot of water, atop a sand bar and I was asked to go up to the bow and enthusiastically bounce up and down while the captain put the boat in reverse. It recalled the old days, or as I called it, My Life as Ballast. I jiggled and bounced and we finally slipped off the sand bar. But I was sorry that I hadn’t had that martini shaker in my hands.
On another outing, we took a center console boat out of Love Creek. As soon as we pushed off from the dock, brown sludge bubbled to the surface behind the boat, warning us of exceptionally low tide. It took us fifteen minutes, going at tortoise speed to clear the area and stop the Chocolate Yoo-Hoo from following us.
Once out in deeper water, the day proved wonderful. But we had to stay wary of multiple sand bars and low water levels. And any flotsam and jetsam on the water.
And if Rehoboth Bay has changed a bit from the last century, we’ve changed as well. We recently headed out with a gang of women of a certain age, all slathered with so much sunblock our faces looked like cream cheese schmeared bagels.
Years ago we wore skimpy bathing suits and visors. Now, in sunshine and 75 degrees, it’s hats, SPF shirts, long pants and hoodies. We looked like we were going ice fishing.
We used to bring beer and chips. Now it’s fat-free pretzels, gluten-free veggie chips, and sugar-free flavored water. And not too much water, after all, these boats don’t have potties.
As we were about to stop for a picnic lunch and throw the anchor out I asked “Is it tied on to the boat?” Wanted to make sure that somebody taking Prevegen remembered to hook it up.
I will say, an improvement in local boating has been the rise of lots of great places to dock and dine in the area. From Paradise Grill to Hammerheads to Serendipity, Rehoboth Bay and Indian River provide more places than ever for pulling up for a meal. Referring to my earlier comment about boats not having potties, there are now more places to go, to go.
And you know what else is way different? I remember hopping on and off boats in a single leap, jumping onto the dock to help tie us up, or stepping off with my arms filled with a cooler, beach towels and sometimes even a Schnauzer. Now I get off gingerly, my arms filled with other people’s arms helping to off-load me.
Yes, lots of things have changed in over two decades. But Rehoboth Bay is still glorious, we’re thankful for our friends with boats and boating clubs, and love reliving our nautical past. After all, you don’t stop playing because you get old; you get old because you stop playing.