I woke up to fog again this morning and the lump in my stomach grew. The boat is solid, Mark knows what he’s doing, the chart plotter works, so why this anxiety?
Ingrained personality traits sometimes get in the way of common sense. I’m a worrier—always have been, always will be. My Mexican grandmother used to call me “scandalosa.” Loosely translated it means someone who worries about everything.
When I was a city manager, it was a good trait to have. It’s not so good when you’re living on a boat, moving from place to place. Too much blind faith is involved—too many aspects can’t be controlled—and common worry can quickly escalate into anxiety.
Yesterday we left Norfolk, Va. in the fog. This is a busy port. Warships, patrol boats, container ships, tugs with barges, and pleasure craft are everywhere. Visibility was limited, but not shut down. Then we entered the Chesapeake and the fog closed in and my nerve endings curled into knots.
It’s positively eerie to float through the fog in the daylight and not be able to see shoreline or buoys or even other boats. Radar blips told us where boats were and Sea Bear is big enough to show up on other boats’ radar screens. Out in the bay heading north we followed procedure and sounded our horn one blast every two minutes. Someone else out there did the same.
When the sun broke through late in the afternoon, I could feel the tension draining from my shoulders. The wind came up and blew out the fog just before we found our anchorage in a river off a small bay. Being able to see where we were going was much better than following a red line on a tiny computer screen.
But this morning the fog is back. We have a short distance today. I’m out of chocolate, my usual panacea for anxiety, so I’ll take deep breaths and work a crossword puzzle and make sure Mark has a cold beer ready when we arrive in Deltaville. A tropical storm south of us is kicking up the wind and chop and we need to be tucked up in a marina for a day or two.
And maybe the sky will clear early and the sun will shine and all this worry will be for nothing.