It started a few years ago, when my cousin’s husband Rob brought his boat up to the cabin and they went out on one trip and landed several trout and salmon. Dave was hooked. He always needed to know whether Rob was coming north, and whether he was bringing his boat. Well, this year, he finally just got a boat himself. He is an engineer, and so by nature analytical and thoughtful. He did a thorough analysis of all of the boats available on Craigslist, picked a few, and then passed them by the fishermen in the family for approval.
One boat made it through the approval process – a 17-foot Monark with two outboard motors (a fast one and a trolling motor) and with all of the equipment he’d need. Of course, that didn’t stop Dave from acquiring additional items from eBay (lures, poles, you name it) and from taking trips to Cabela’s to further outfit the boat.
Well, he works hard and deserves his fun, so I didn’t complain. And, when we’re both at the cabin without my uncle Bob or my cousin’s husband Rob, I’m his fishing partner. I help him get the boat into and out of our garage (non-trivial, given we have a lovely tree right in the way). I help him get the boat launched from the dock at Dyers Bay, and I help him on the boat itself.
Now, Dave and I are a great pair. I’m typically wracked with nervous energy and he’s Mr. Relaxed. I married him because I needed him around to calm me down and help me enjoy the moment. Well, the fascinating thing is that on the boat, I’m Ms. Relaxed and he’s Mr. Energy. It’s weird, its as if our roles are reversed.
As soon as we’ve launched the boat, I’m content to just loll around on deck, even better if I can bust out a flotation cushion, put my hat on my face, and go straight to sleep. I am willing to help steer while he’s fussing with the poles and the lures, but I’m relieved when it is his turn to steer, watch the fish-finder and the depth-raider and have his fun. Too many little screens to watch, too much underwater topography to navigate, when there’s all this lovely water and and a great cushion to which to attend.
Here’s the important part: I’m happy to be on the boat, watching the shoreline and the homes and the other boats. I’m happy if we don’t catch a fish. In fact, I’m happier if we don’t catch a fish because boating makes me incredibly lazy. I love how lazy it makes me, I’m content to just bob in the water, apply another coat of sunscreen, and hope we don’t catch a fish because that will entail actual work.
Unfortunately for me, but good for him, we’ve been doing well, fishing-wise. In our last two trips, we’ve landed an 8-pound and a 12-pound king salmon respectively. He hauls them in and I net them. These fish have given us way more lovely salmon than two people can eat. So, we’ve made gravelax, given some to neighbors, and we’ve vacuum-sealed and frozen some.
But, I had no idea what the boat would do for us – give us some quality time together and give me a chance to catch some zzzzzzzzes under the sunshine while Mr. Relaxed fusses with lures (Kevorkian? Monkey Puke? Always have to have a watermelon in the water, the salmon seem to love that one). He loves getting out there and landing a fish, and I think the infrequent rewards reinforce his ardor.
Now, I would have thought that a fishing boat might improve a marriage based on the “absence makes the heart grow fonder” adage. Not in this case. For me, it give us time together and a welcome reversal of roles. Now and then it is fun to be the relaxed one, while he does all the work of catching and then fileting the fishies we bring up. So, although I laughed when he bought the boat, and laughed when he got the tow rig for the car, and I laughed when each and every package from eBay came filled with lures and rods and what-have-you, I’m thrilled about the boat. I love seeing the Georgian Bay shoreline of the Bruce Peninsula from the water. I love watching the loons dive and surface, I love seeing the rocky bluffs and forest I couldn’t get to on the land, and I love the time with my husband. Of course, if we caught fewer fish, I might be even more content (and relaxed) but he’s happy this way, so I can’t complain.