I’ve always loved people watching. It’s better than a movie and plays in real time. As with movies, I am partial to certain themes. It’s a joy to see the same simple, sweet impulses transpire between strangers over and over: Older gentlemen making funny faces at babies. Kids trying to catch the eye of other kids for impromptu games of hide and seek.
And waving. For some reason, as people we seem to really enjoy waving at people we don’t know, from windows, from trains, and especially from boats.
On a recent sunset cruise aboard Mystic Seaport Museum’s steamboat Sabino, we crowded toward one side of the boat to salute and cheer the lively folks aboard another vessel when that schooner crested by. During our lovely, leisurely spell down the river and into Fishers Island Sound, we waved at ocean kayakers, lone sailors tending to their rigging, couples reading books aboard their anchored yachts.
Mystic’s bascule bridge was raised at our approach, and as we traveled into open water we waved at folks eating ice cream on the bridge, and families fishing from the boardwalk. The wind kicked up and the masts of tethered sailboats bobbed along the shoreline cheerfully— even they, seeming to wave back.
A cruise on the Sabino is a special opportunity – one of the few National Historic Landmarks we can actually ride on, it’s the oldest, coal-fired steamboat in regular operation in the country. Its engine room is a marvel in world where many of the working mechanisms of life are concealed, and the engineer is on hand to answer any and all manner of questions. Sabino moves through the water at a steady, even clip, making its short voyages ideal for the very young and very old and everyone in between.
And then there’s the waving. A brief, bright space for recognition, to say one of the best things we can ever say to each other, which is "I see you.” And we wave because the sun shines, the water sparkles, and it’s good to be enjoying one more day on this endearing, blue-green globe.
A variety of cruises, from half-hour to 90 minutes, run Wednesday-Sunday aboard the Sabino through Oct. 14. For times and tickets, visit mysticseaport.org or call 860-572-0711.