Preface

For the May-doers, the Have-doners, and the May-do-it-againers

This book is not a Waterway Guide, a navigational aid, a ‘how to’ do the Waterway, or a series of short stories. It was not written to give handy tips, or to tell where to get your hair cut or where to eat. A View Askew is a book of observations and related thoughts, and the intentional pursuit of tangential interests, such as a little history or information, while on a trip up the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) from south Florida to Maryland. It is augmented by an abundance of photography. It may help you decide whether you want to do the Waterway by giving an account of some situations that occurred and aspects to consider, but I can guarantee that your trip would not be like mine.

When my husband, Tom, first talked about traveling the ICW, I was intrigued. I would see the coast from an entirely new viewpoint. I assumed those hidden places we had passed on the road with evocative names such as Moon River, The Golden Isles, and The Dismal Swamp, would hold great beauty and photographic possibilities while on the water. Drifting along between the water and sky all day, I would be Huckleberry Finn, perched on a nice boat instead of a raft. 

Still, I wondered: What does one do on a boat going 7 mph all day for weeks and what would fill up the time at night for an insomniac? I knew nothing about navigation, finding and getting to unfamiliar docks or shores, or a boat’s special needs, much less how to satisfy my petty desire for ice in drinks. 

No day was like another day for us. Each day was brand-new, presenting sights that led to diverse fields of interests, even if weather kept us in place. Each place that was a dot on the map became memorable, an experiential part of ourselves. We were travelers, not tourists.

Although the book is arranged sequentially along the Waterway, you don’t have to read it sequentially. Treat it like a box of chocolates; pick one, discover a new flavor, and savor.

If you decide to cruise, move on as you wish, with options to stop at any time, but know that this way of life is addictive, so be forewarned or fore-encouraged.