Always respect the ocean

At the Helm

Living on an island means you are surrounded by water, and with only one bridge on and off, it leaves a lot of room for boats and water-based activities. However, as I take a moment to stand and watch the boats come and go from my deck overlooking Broad Creek, I reflect on a childhood memory of my first time learning to sail.

When I first vacationed on Hilton Head Island with my family some 40 years ago, it was nowhere near the beautifully developed paradise we enjoy today. During one visit, my dad, my sister and I decided we should take sailing lessons.

You’re on an island with unlimited water — might as well have fun with it. My mother was not thrilled about this idea and put her foot down, deciding it would be too dangerous. That didn’t dim the thought of wanting to learn to ride the waves, in my dad’s mind or mine.

Getting out of the house to run “errands,” we just so happened to end up at Harbour Town, which had no marina at the time (nothing like today at least), to take a sailing lesson. A nice gentleman (whose name I unfortunately can’t remember) who had a small sailboat and had advertised sailing lessons conducted the lessons. It was a beautiful day, and the instructor was extremely patient with us, teaching us all the lingo before we stepped foot onto the boat.

Before you knew it we were sailing smoothly along the coast. It was the perfect day. The perfect day, that is, until the instructor commanded us to “prepare to come about.” This happens when you change the sail from one side to the other. The boom came flying across the boat, knocking my dad right in between the eyes. Throwing his sunglasses off into the water, it did a cute number on his nose, evidence for my mom to find.

With our tails between our legs, we had to go home and confess to my mom that we ventured out on the water against her wishes. Although I do not remember exactly how the rest of that evening went, I am sure my dad had to make it up to my mom somehow. From that day I learned a very important lesson: to respect the power of the ocean. Having this respect is extremely important if you are going to live and play in the water. The ocean is a beautiful piece of nature but holds so much power if you are not careful.

Life on the water is our focus as summer and warm temperatures are here. Inside you will find stories, profiles and other useful information about our wonderful waters. You will also find our visitors map and summer directory featuring all of the local landmarks and hot spots tourists must visit before they leave.

Local homeowners will want to check out our special feature on HVAC systems. A professional tune-up can make your life more comfortable and lower your electric bill. Other highlights include our stunning summer fashion spread, a look at the top bridal venues in the Lowcountry and all the latest local restaurant news. I hope you take this issue to the beach, enjoy it on your front porch and take it with you on the boat. Just keep an eye out for those flying booms.


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