A Year in Paradise: How We Lived Our Dream - By Stephen Wright Watterson, 172 pages, $14.95, Eagle Cliff Press, Cleveland, Ohio
Steve Watterson and his wife Margaret sound like ordinary people who own an ordinary boat (a 30-foot sloop, the Witch of Endor), which they sail with ordinary skill. In their mid-60s, they decided to do what was for them an extraordinary thing, namely cruise from their home port in Sandusky, Ohio, to the Florida Keys and back. They weren’t up to the challenge of bluewater cruising, but thought their 10 years of sailing around the Great Lakes was ample experience for legging it down the coast. And so they went (with their cat Pukka), had a jolly time, and came home again all the richer for their adventure. For any couple who’s ever dreamed of trekking the coastal waterways, this book will add incentive to energy. If they could do it . . .
Steve Watterson recounts simply, but in sterling detail, the couple’s trip through the Erie Canal, down the Hudson River and the Jersey Coast, through the C&D Canal to the Chesapeake, then on down the Intracoastal Waterway to Boot Key. About entering one lock in the Erie Canal he writes: “Once inside you head for the starboard wall and pick up the thick, slimy lines (gloves are a necessity) which hang down the lock wall . . .” About our own neck of the woods, he declaims Shymansky’s Marina and Restaurant, behind Cobb Island, as the “Best Deal” on the Chesapeake: $15 per night for dockage and another $15 for “a sublime fried seafood dinner with softshell crab, scallops, clams, oysters and sea bass.” Such attention to the nitty gritty makes this book a goodie for anyone venturing along any part of the Witch’s path.