03-10-10 Topsail Beach - Coast Guard Stop

[Rick] Since we are at Topsail beach rejuvenating ourselves until we “officially” cross our wake in Sneads Ferry on Sunday, I thought I would take the next couple of nights to write about some of the questions, favorites, funny things that happened, etc.

Here is a very funny story that we have not shared before.

As we approached Annapolis, Betsy was at the helm navigating very slowly through the mooring field, we were approached by a small Coast Guard boat that turned on his blue light. We knew we were doing nothing wrong. They just wanted to board for a safety inspection. I immediately put Beamer in the front cabin and closed the door. Two men boarded the boat, one was very young. The elder of the two wanted the registration, which I retrieved from the closed cabin. He began to complete the paperwork. The younger pulled out a 3X5 card containing a list of items he needed to see… flares, fire extinguishers, notices, etc. Almost everything he asked, I had to retrieve from the cabin, and each time I went in and came out I carefully closed the door behind me to keep the dog inside. Of course Beamer, the Psycho Dog, was going berserk. After we had gone through the entire list, and I had been in the cabin 4-5 times, the young officer nodded to the closed door and said “I guess it would be too much trouble to see your engine room.” At which point, I pointed to the stern of the boat and said “We have outboards.” Yes, there was a small grimace on his face. The older of the two rolled his eyes, and Betsy and I both stifled a laugh. I often wondered what kind of harassment the young man received once back on the Coast Guard boat.

One question we get often is in regard to the size of our boat. We are only 26 feet, but we have all of the necessary, not excessive, creature comforts. We took this boat on the loop because it is the boat we own. If we had a 50 foot boat, we would have done the loop in it. There is no perfect boat. On the loop, we saw a 21ft Ranger Tug, a 25 ft Ranger Tug with two adults and two big dogs, a pontoon boat with a tarp draped over a rope for a shelter. We also saw a 56ft Hampton and a 61ft Hampton. And, we saw everything in between. Generally, the loop boats are 30-40 feet, mostly trawlers. Most have the ability to anchor out for days at a time. Some, like us, never anchor out. Our shower facilities are very limited and we prefer to take showers in marinas. Thus, we spend most nights in marinas. Our boat would be too small for most couples. You cannot be the “needy” type or “high maintenance” type to do the loop on our boat because there is no “me” time. You are always in sight and sound of the other person. You will recall that we had two rules on the boat. 1) No guns or knives aboard, and 2) If it ain’t fatal, get over it…..

However, regardless of the size of the boat or its amenities, all loopers have some things in common: A sense of adventure; an enjoyment of meeting other people; and a sense of doing something most people will never do, thereby gaining a sense of accomplishment.

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