Sometimes the time of year makes a difference whether we go offshore or not. Shorter and sometimes unpredictable weather windows weigh heavily in the decision in late fall, winter, and early spring. Sometimes it is just that we are in our 60's, enjoying cruising, and want to experience both offshore adventures and shorter hops, depending on many factors that come into play at the time.
As far as "nothing to hit" in the waterway, the are barges with limited maneuverability in tight spots, big trees floating in strong currents down inland rivers, dredging debris at the bottom of your pristine anchorage, and the unattentive boater in a 14 ft. runabout who pulls out of a channel directly in front of you, boom box blaring, not looking ahead or behind but into his beer
cooler, his kid on an inflatable
tow behind him, never noticing that a big boat is bearing down on him in a strong following current
Of course offshore there is that tanker whose computer changes course and heads directly for you at 20 knots with no one on the bridge. Miles and miles of open water
, and it's just us and that tanker.
Both options offer plenty of opportunities for adrenaline rushes and on the other hand, for beautiful days on the water - offshore it's just you and miles of blue water, with beautiful night skies and time alone on your watch. Inshore there are many hours of beautiful marshes and wildlife, and charming little towns where you can drop the hook and stay a while.
The argument goes on, but having logged enough miles up and down the ICW and offshore, I maintain that no one should have to apologize for making either choice. (Not that your comments were meant in that light).
It's like scuba diving
. You don't have to go to 150 feet to have a good dive. Usually the 30 foot reefs
offer just as much if not more enjoyment, and sometimes, plenty of excitement as well.
The "Inside/Outside" part of my question was merely an attempt to get to a distance figure from our home port, doing some armchair dreaming myself, and not certain of the gaps between some of the northern waterways. I think I've got the information now, and thanks to all who responded.