This time of year, the mercury where I live dips somewhere below “Whoa!” and “Are you kidding me?” The heat in the house kicks on so often that I look around to make sure the place still has windows. On the days when icicles line the gutters like long-forgotten Christmas decorations and the view outside is reminiscent of the tundra, I find myself staring at the gray and thinking back to balmy days cruising on aquamarine seas.
One early spring morning a few years ago, I woke up in the master stateroom of a Hatteras GT63 at MarineMax in Pompano Beach, Florida. The morning was mildly humid and warm in a welcoming way. In short order, the Hatteras crew and I prepped the boat for a two-day jaunt over to Bimini to try our hand at finding some tuna, maybe some wahoo too.
After exiting Hillsboro Inlet, I took the wheel and headed for the horizon. The 63 sprinted across the Gulf Stream at about 35 knots, and the brilliant cobalt deep soon gave way to the inviting teal tones of the shallows. Our five-man crew cruised up the channel and put into the Bimini Big Game Club Resort & Marina to clear Customs dockside.
For the next few days, we trolled the edge, gorged ourselves on Bimini bread (if you’ve never had it, I highly recommend it), carved an overlapping, wild-hair pattern onto the chart plotter, named an endless array of nurse sharks that called the docks at the club “home” and watched locals prepare fresh conch with the speed, skill and precision that comes only with experience. There were many fish tales, some merciless yet kindhearted ribbing, and all the laughs that go with a trip to the Bahamian paradise with good friends.
On the morning I flew home, I watched from my plane as that Hatteras GT63 carved a groove into the sea, displaying all of her muscle and speed, leaving a virtually flat wake in her path. The wake faded, and the water returned to that trance-inducing blue-green that always catches my gaze.
I lost sight of the boat as she headed for her next waypoint, but I can still see her in my mind, even as the icicles illustrate winter’s grip and snow covers the landscape. In fact, I think of her often and feel warm inside.