I finally finished editing photos from St. John, and was not terribly surprised to find I had taken an excessive amount of boat pictures.
My love of boats started early, and I attribute it entirely to two TV shows: OceanQuest and The Voyage of the Mimi.
OceanQuest was a 5-part miniseries that aired back in 1985. It was part documentary, part early reality TV show. Cameras followed Shawn Weatherly (former Miss Universe, future star of BayWatch) as she learned to scuba dive and went on increasingly difficult and dangerous dives. Sharks! Arctic ice! Oh my!
When the going got tough, Shawn would go for long walks on the beach at sunset and look conflicted. Then she would summon her inner strength and find a way to get back on the boat so the show could go on.
It was awesome. I loved every minute of it. That summer, I went to the neighborhood pool and pretended to be Shawn, falling backwards into the water and searching for treasure (aka pennies) at the bottom of the pool (Shawn didn't do that, but I did. I was 7.)
And then - as quickly as OceanQuest had come into my life - it was gone. Shawn completed her final dive mission and returned to "normal" life. The credits rolled as The Pointer Sisters sang, "I'm So Excited" and I tried not to cry. OceanQuest! Shawn! Come back! To this day, that song still makes me tear up, associating it as I do with endings and loss. But - the show lives on in my fond, fond memories. OceanQuest! Come to DVD!
An interest in boats and marine life was further stoked when my mom forced my brother and me to watch an educational show on PBS instead of our first choice for afternoon programming, You Can't Do That On Television. Though annoyed at first, we were quickly captivated by The Voyage of the Mimi, which follows the crew of a ship as they follow humpback whales.
Turns out, TVotM was way better than YCDToT. While there were no buckets of slime, there was a giant bucket of peanut butter aboard the ship. And while no one was crammed in a locker, Ramon did cram into a sleeping bag with the Captain to prevent hypothermia. And while YCDToT featured a young Alanis Morissette, TVotM had a baby-faced Ben Affleck.
Plus, the Mimi taught us all sorts of valuable lessons, about things like whale migration, sign language, and how (if you're ever trapped on a desert island) you can collect drinking water using a coffee can and a tarp.
I loved the TVotM as I had loved OceanQuest. I wanted to sit in a ship's crow's nest and read like Rachel; I wanted to know how to sail like Sally Ruth; I wanted to have adventures at sea like young C.T.
Sadly, the Mimi's voyage lasted only thirteen episodes, after which Ben Affleck went on to bigger things and I resumed penny-scavenging at the neighborhood pool.
But my love for tall ships, schooners, sloops and dinghies has lasted. As evidenced by the million and one pictures I took of them on St. John.