Farewell, old friend…

Aging is a constant cycle of releasing: letting go of those things closest to you in the recognition that, ultimately, “things” are unimportant. Thus far, letting go of “things” as my Parkinson’s disease progresses has been easy for me. Flashy cars and ostentatious homes never held value in my heart, and we successfully avoided their trap into a superficial vision of the world.

There may be an exception, however: our boat, “Sea Hunt.” I staged almost all my boating adventures from the Deception Pass Marina, home to a Hunt boat continuously for the past thirty years. I met some of my best friends on the marina’s creaky docks.

Soon after picking up Sea Hunt in 2006, my wife, two children—ages eight and twelve at the time—and I struck out on the 180-mile journey to Desolation Sound. Over the years, we took multiple family trips to Hotham Sound, Princess Louisa Inlet, Victoria, and the Gulf Islands, as well as countless local San Juan Island visits.

We made hundreds of dives in the off-season from Sea Hunt, many in Deception Pass. The family would return to the boat when summer arrived for crabbing and socializing with boating friends.

Sea Hunt found the Lost Intruder, an A-6 Attack jet that I had personally flown. It crashed in Rosario Strait in 1989, but the Navy—despite the use of four ships and state-of-the-art search equipment—could never locate the wreckage.

For over a decade, the beat-up 32-foot “motor yacht” (the official Model name) was probably the most used boat in Coronet Bay. Midnight runs with half the marina aboard were common, battling the swift currents in tiny Canoe Pass at night, occasionally going through backwards. We put the 1987 Bayliner through the wringer, adding 2,200 hours to each diesel engine.

With do-it-yourself maintenance becoming problematic and the boat increasingly less comfortable for me, the time has come. Sea Hunt is the sole “thing” that I will truly miss from my life.

This morning, to prepare the boat for sale, I took down my AARP card collection from where the fifty or so cards had accumulated above the helm. Why AARP cards? If you refuse to join, the AARP keeps on sending them. It was my version of giving a not-so-subtle middle finger to aging.

Maybe the AARP got the last laugh, after all, I consider, smiling broadly, shake my head, and marvel, “Ain’t life grand?”

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