HAVRE DE GRACE -- ON THE FRIDAY before the Tuesday when 12 good citizens of Los Angeles patted O. J. Simpson on the head and sent him home, my 12-year-old daughter Sarah and I went to sea.
This was not altogether responsible behavior, as we both had work we could have been doing. But the day was bright and sunny with just enough wind to give a sparkle to the water, and Sarah had no school because of teachers' conferences. So the opportunity to go dangled before us like a ripe September apple, and the temptation to reach out and seize it was irresistible.
After lunch we loaded some gear on the boat and headed off down the channel. We brought along Sarah's kayak and my little canoe, in case we had a chance to explore some shallow waters. And I bought some clam snouts from the bait shop, thinking we might be able to catch a perch for supper.
By mid-afternoon we were drifting off Turkey Point, the southernmost tip of Elk Neck, and catching no fish. There were several other boaters in this usually productive spot and they didn't seem to be having any luck either, so we went on to Veazey Cove on the Bohemia River, our destination for the night.
This cove is open to the north and very shallow, so big boats don't usually go there and it tends to be quite private. We went in slowly as far as we could, and then anchored about a hundred yards off a wooded point. We put the canoe and the kayak in the water and went ashore for a while. I was amazed at how fast Sarah can paddle.
With the sun dropping fast toward the trees, we went back to the anchored boat and made ourselves some supper -- out of a can, unfortunately, instead of out of the Bay. We sat on deck and watched the light fade and the stars come out. It was a calm night, and in Veazey Cove we felt protected and serene.
In the morning we had oatmeal and cocoa on board. Sarah said she'd slept fine except when I snored. Then we paddled ashore once more, this time for a short visit with David and Becca, two old friends who were spending the weekend with their young son in a family house on the cove. Perhaps thinking we looked like castaways, David made us pancakes.
Soon it was time to leave. We said goodbye, paddled away, and in short order had the anchor up and the boat headed homeward. The Bohemia and the Elk were busy with Saturday-morning boat activity, and as we were going back up the channel to Havre de Grace it seemed as though every sailboat in the upper Bay was heading toward us.
We had been gone less than 24 hours, and traveled less than 30 miles, but it still seemed quite a voyage. For a while we'd been entirely out of the loop, as the corporate people say. I wondered if we'd missed anything, so as we drove home I turned on the car radio. But all the news was still about O. J.
4( Peter A. Jay is a writer and farmer.