The covers of a book may seem like an opening and a close, a beginning and an end. But the truth is that those bindings represent doorways to entire worlds, where stories intermingle and become a part of something even greater. This blog began as an attempt to share some of those stories. But behind every good story are the characters that make it happen. I often wonder if an author knows the ending of a book before they get there, or if the characters decide the outcome for themselves. I like to think it is the latter, because that is always how it seems to go for me. What, though, is life without a good, long, winding story? So excuse the interruption as I stray from the story of the intrepid Team WNA and their journey through Irma to discuss another grand Florida adventure.
Pablo Picasso once said, "Every act of creation is first an act of destruction." The hurricane that ravaged the Florida Keys this year was most certainly an act of destruction. But from it came endless possibilities of creation and new beginnings. From newly paved roads and re-shingles roofs to fresh growth in the sea grass beds and nighttime bioluminescence like I have never seen before, all that devastation brought a chance for different stories to unfold. Like writing on a blank piece of paper. The energy that came along with this new leaf was contagious to everyone involved, including us. And that is the story of how the WNA Rescue Team found themselves back in Florida once more to begin a new chapter in the What's Next Adventures story- A boat in the Islamorada SeaBase Fleet.
After much searching and many failed attempts, or rather, finding 10,000 ways NOT to buy a boat, the team stepped aboard Silver Crow, a 41ft Morgan Out Island that had been in the SeaBase program under Captain George for almost 20 years. This was a boat with a legacy. We knew right then it would be the boat for us! She had a story even more epic than our own, and we knew that we could pick right up where that story left off. The first step- getting her back to SeaBase. A true old salt, Captain George wouldn't let her go without one last sail. The WNA Crew, Captain George, and Captain Jeff (Silver Crow's would be new Captain) boarded the boat in Placida, Florida and began the 72 hour trek down to Key West.
We navigated under the stars and listened to Captain George tell tales of his years spent behind the helm of "the Crow" as he affectionately called her. This was a story that truly went beyond what was spoken. Captain George and his wife had spent 20 years oiling woodwork and repairing cushions. So much so that to our eyes, Silver Crow looked like a brand new boat, despite every Boy Scout that ever spent a week on board Silver Crow leaving their mark (figuratively AND literally). She had weathered storms, won races, had monstrous fish (stories) land on her decks; Silver Crow navigated on the power of her past. She was not just a boat, and by the time we pulled into the dock in Marathon, we were beginning to understand the amazing legacy that we would now be in charge of upholding.
Upon her arrival in Islamorada a few weeks later, the other SeaBase Captains gave her a warm welcome, having thought her gone from the program forever. The Captain running her today remembers the boat from his time at Sea Base as a boy. Today, Silver Crow has just finished her third week of Boy Scout charter for this season, marking her second decade of running SeaBase trips. We are so proud to be continuing the legacy of such an amazing boat in such a wonderful program.
By taking the time to pause our story, we ended up being a part of a much greater one. The story of Silver Crow will continue for many more years to come, and to all the future scouts who get a chance to go out on Silver Crow, I leave you a message. I wish you blue skies and full sails, and the most beautiful sunsets you can imagine. But most importantly, and in the immortal words of Captain George, Do NOT Fall off this boat!!
See you out there!