Posted Monday, November 21, 2005
The Doyle's have traveled up and down the Intracoastal Waterway more times that you can say "red right returning" three times fast.
"Managing the Waterway" is a thinking man's guide to cruising the Intracoastal Waterway. Well, it's also mariner's guide to cruising the Intracoastal Waterway, and if your a bird enthusiast, film buff, history buff, trivia buff, number cruncher, delivery captain, or a stop-and-smell-the-roses kind of person, it's for you too.
What can we say except good things about this cruising guide? First of all, its thoughtfully laid out. The authors, Mark and Diana Doyle, paid close attention to what a cruiser needs to know first, then second and on and on in descending priority, from personal experience. First comes safety, navigation, geography, weather, then comes comfort, dinghy dock, provisions, then appreciation, all the interesting sights and experiences along the way. They call this the "Cruiser's Triangle" and although it's a somewhat academic approach, frankly it makes a lot of sense. The Doyle's "Cruiser's Triangle" ends up helping the you, the cruiser, by providing all the info for any given area arranged according to your needs, right when you need it.
Then comes the fun stuff, the raison d'etre for cruising in the first place. The Doyle's have traveled up and down the Intracoastal Waterway more times that you can say "red right returning" three times fast. In the guide they not only share their "semi-local" knowledge with you, they also add lots of neat stuff like trivia about the area, history, even recommending books and movies to watch that are set in each location on the waterway. This is my favorite part of the guide, but don't get me wrong, the other parts are equally interesting and important. It's just that we have found that other traditional cruising guides only contain marine stuff, which is great, but it can be a little boring after a while. The Doyle's have managed to cram all the cruising essentials (and then some) plus a great tourist guide in one. Instead of having to tote around a guide book for each area of the country, this one covers the entire Waterway in one.
Lastly, "Managing the Waterway" includes facilities info, and all the basics you would expect from a cruising guide, like bridges, local marine businesses, but no advertising. They also have a handy flap on each cover which you can use to keep your page and protect the pages in the book from the weather, because you know you are going to have it with you at all times at the helm. Scattered throughout the book are little lightbulb icons to symbolize a hot tip they want to share with you, boater to boater.
We are planning to cruise down the ICW from North Carolina next month, so I while I was reading the guide I was looking for information that would help me prepare for our cruise. What I found, besides all the technical, navigational, and marine info we need, is a tremendous source of inspiration. After reading "Managing the Waterway" I can't wait to go!